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Old 05-19-2010, 11:17 AM   #1
MattHollingsworth
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Default The price of grain in Croatia

So, I have been heading up to Slovenija to buy grain from a brewer up there. Tasty grain too, pale malt from Castle Malting in Belgium.

But I'm finally going to buy some local grain on Friday, grown in Slavonija, the eastern, flat, grain growing region of Croatia. I'm friends with some homebrewers here and some of them make very tasty beer, so I figured it was time to try the local grain. So, just called them to verify their location and the cost and it's 250 kunas for a 110 pound bag of Pils malt. This equates, at the moment (the dollar's fluctuating a lot lately) to just under $42 for 110 pounds of grain, or 38 cents/pound. That's amazing! I don't remember ever paying that low of a price even a dozen years ago in the States.

It sorta makes up for all the nonsense I have to go through with customs on some of my mail order stuff I've been doing for hops and other stuff....

I'll be trying out that grain in about 11 days on a Belgian Strong Dark Ale using the Chimay yeast, some proper liquid Belgian Candi Sugar directly from Belgium, and various other stuff. I'll be able to rack it to secondary (yeah, using a secondary on this one, though I don't usually) just before we head to the sea for a month away from home. So, my patience won't be tried while it's in secondary as I won't even be here.

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Old 05-19-2010, 11:24 AM   #2
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So it this el cheapo grain already malted? Sounds to good to be true. But awesome anyway.

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Old 05-19-2010, 11:30 AM   #3
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So it this el cheapo grain already malted? Sounds to good to be true. But awesome anyway.
Yup, malted. They have other malts too, but the main bummer is it's a minimum of 50 kg bags, so you buy 110 pounds even if it's crystal. The other homebrewers here buy bags together. I'll have to get in on that once I run out of specialty grains or will get more up in Slovenija.

I've tasted some very nice beers made with this malt too, so I know before buying it that it's good.


Even that Castle Malting grain I get up in Slovenija is cheap though, and I *know* that grain's amazing after using it on 20 batches. That's about $61 for 110 pounds, (1 euro/1 kg) or around 55 cents/pound. But that's because I buy directly from a brewer, so he's buying in bulk and will just throw me a bag now and then. This stuff in Croatia is cheap, I think, because you buy it directly from the maltster. There's no middle man. No homebrew shops here. You just go directly to the maltster and buy it.
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Old 05-19-2010, 11:51 AM   #4
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This malt is from these guys, a Belgian company:

http://www.boortmalt.com/boort.europe.htm

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Old 05-21-2010, 07:47 PM   #5
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We went there today to buy the malt. Talked to them a bit and they told us they supply the malt for all of the breweries in Croatia. They use 80% local barley and 20% imported barley. They gave me a spec sheet for some of their malt, and while they said it wasn't exactly the same as the malt I bought, they said it was 90% the same. They customize malt for the customer and the sheet they gave me was for Karlovačko Pivo, which is owned by Heineken. So, the malt I bought was their Pils malt as it is when not customized.

Anyway, given that, it looks like so:

Moisture content: 4.3%
Extract: 81.7%
Protein: 10.6%
Kolbach: 40.8%
Color: 3.7 EBC
Friability: 85%
FAN: 148 g/L

Don't see anything like diastatic power listed here. From what I can see, it looks to be two types of barley, one variety called Jersey-Jari and one called Scarlett. Don't know anything about either, but looks like Scarlett is a German variety.

Anyway, I've had a lot of beer made with their malt considering they supply all of the breweries here, and it's tasty in some of those beers (Velebitsko Pivo, for one).

Pics of the malting facility are below. They don't do the size justice though. This place was huge.







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Old 05-21-2010, 08:05 PM   #6
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Awesome pics - I think you are pretty lucky to be able to get grain at this price. I pay $45 for a 50 lb bag.

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Old 05-21-2010, 09:07 PM   #7
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Thanks. I'll take what luck I can get though. I regularly get screwed by customs on mail order of other stuff.

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Old 05-21-2010, 09:26 PM   #8
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At first I thought this would one of those 'price of eggs in China' references, almost didn't click. Glad I did, neat pics. Thanks for sharing and count me and all state side brewers as jealous!

Schlante,
Phillip

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Old 05-21-2010, 09:29 PM   #9
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my swmbo and I have just started kicking around the idea of taking a 2 week vacation to Croatia. This is completely off topic but do you have any "must see" places we should look into?

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Old 05-21-2010, 10:01 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by MVKTR2 View Post
At first I thought this would one of those 'price of eggs in China' references, almost didn't click. Glad I did, neat pics. Thanks for sharing and count me and all state side brewers as jealous!

Schlante,
Phillip
Glad to share!

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my swmbo and I have just started kicking around the idea of taking a 2 week vacation to Croatia. This is completely off topic but do you have any "must see" places we should look into?
Depends on what you want. The islands offer a nice slow pace and many feature beautiful stone ancient towns. I haven't been to any of the islands except Hvar, which is great. Korčula is supposed to be amazing, but I haven't been there yet. Dubrovnik is probably the most famous town on the coast. Ancient walled city, really cool looking. Vis and Lastovo are two islands that are further out from the mainland and more isolated, but I haven't been. From what I hear, though, no cars there and fairly isolated, so good if you want some peace. Split, on the coast, has an ancient roman walled center area. Zagreb, where I live, has some nice areas but it's not a must see, I'd say. Most of the "must see" stuff is on the coast.

And if you DO go, don't go from around July 15th to August 20th. Crazy packed then. People come from all over Europe and all over Croatia. We generally go mid June to mid July and it's great then. Less people but the water's warm enough to swim. I hear September's also great.

You can Google and do a Google images search on all those places listed above. Dubrovnik has a real history. It was a city state like Venice. And supposedly Marco Polo was from Korčula.
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