Interested in growing my own beer garden

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Chris N

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Just make sure you know if it’s winter or spring wheat so you know when to plant it. Seeding rates are something you might start to research too. I live in a fairly arid place so seeding rates will be different for me than you. You can contact your state college agronomy research center for info. Just to give you a starting point, the normal seeding rate here for dry land farming with equipment designed for the purpose is to plant 45-60 pounds of wheat seed per acre.
Good idea, will for sure check into it and make sure which wheat they have available. Thank you very much!
 

bracconiere

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Lol, my dad said, "your ambitious, I'll give you that"

just remember, if you're going have fun getting in a fight...make sure to enjoy it the whole way through! even if the odds are against you! :mug:

i'm rooting for you! i'm always uncomfortably being the only one here that malts their own...if you start growing your own TOO! ;)

edit: you're doing something actually possible, alchemists of old wanted to turn lead to gold....you're trying to turn dirt into it! as far as i know 100% chance of success!
 
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Also be aware that whole, home grown hops are somewhat of a crap shoot because, unless you have a lab analyze them, you’re not going to know their alpha acid content which is useful for knowing how much bittering potential they have. If you know the variety, you can research their average stats to help get you close. The AA content can also vary greatly from year to year depending on the annual growing conditions.
Good idea, the hops typically used are Hersbrucker and when I googled them I found how much Alpha Acid is in them and found the substitutions which mentioned Mount Hood which I have seen available. Thank you very much!
 
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This would be a good start in my mind also. Might find like minded folk or smaller scale farmers that may have shareable services/ideas to save on equipment costs etc.
Best of luck, maybe start a blog of your adventure. I like reading stories like these.
Cheers, :mug:
Joel B.
Great ideas, Joel. I will look into it. I will do a blog, if I can manage/handle this project. As they say, "easier said, then done". Thank you very much!
 
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just remember, if you're going have fun getting in a fight...make sure to enjoy it the whole way through! even if the odds are against you! :mug:

i'm rooting for you! i'm always uncomfortably being the only one here that malts their own...if you start growing your own TOO! ;)

edit: you're doing something actually possible, alchemists of old wanted to turn lead to gold....you're trying to turn dirt into it! as far as i know 100% chance of success!
Thank you very much, bracconiere! It means a lot. I will for sure enjoy it the whole way, even if I start to regret it and think to myself this was the worst idea ever. At least then I can say, "yeah, it was rough but at least I tried it" and can say I have done it.
That's what I was thinking as well, they have been brewing beer for a long time. Even before all this technology. If they could do it, I am sure I could.
 

bracconiere

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even if I start to regret it and think to myself this was the worst idea ever.

don't regret it at all! wear the scars with pride! damn, i remember for other things i was f'n around with....after 7 years i finally made the breakthrough to grow mushrooms myself. and i got my ass kicked trying to isolate my own enymes with protien purification...but all that's still on a back burner for me. might become a revived project!

oh and damn, never have figured out how to use koji mold, not to say i didn't try a lot! another one for a revisit! :mug:

edit: being that you want to culture your own yeast to, the mushroom thing maybe practical, it involves learning sterile technique....

(and, if successful...a selfie in what i've heard was called the boneyard would be IMPRESSIVE! ;))
 
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If you are looking for grain seed, I’d reach out to the folks at Solstice Seed they have easy, hardy seed and continue Sylvia Davatz work on grain seed:


And

Valley Malt might be a good place to reach out to for seed as well

 

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If you are looking for grain seed, I’d reach out to the folks at Solstice Seed they have easy, hardy seed and continue Sylvia Davatz work on grain seed:


And

Valley Malt might be a good place to reach out to for seed as well

Unless they offer seeds in bulk packaging, the seeds from Solstice are ridiculously expensive for what you get. For their wheat, they offer 100 seeds/ packet for $4.00. At a standard seeding rate, that would only sow a single row that is just 5' long. Wheat is typically drilled in rows spaced 12" apart with approximately 18 seeds per foot of row. You'd need approximately 170 of those packets to plant enough wheat to produce 1 bushel (60 pounds) of raw grain.
 

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Not trying to be a Debbie Downer, just trying to provide semi-accurate and realistic figures. If the farmers got paid what they’re charging for seeds, they’d be getting about $36,000/ bushel.
 

shoreman

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Unless they offer seeds in bulk packaging, the seeds from Solstice are ridiculously expensive for what you get. For their wheat, they offer 100 seeds/ packet for $4.00. At a standard seeding rate, that would only sow a single row that is just 5' long. Wheat is typically drilled in rows spaced 12" apart with approximately 18 seeds per foot of row. You'd need approximately 170 of those packets to plant enough wheat to produce 1 bushel (60 pounds) of raw grain.
that’s why they said to contact them, they probably have bulk seed prices, the packets on their website are for small gardens. Plus they are connected to the Northern Grain Growers, so I mentioned to get in touch.

I didn’t really see anywhere in the original post about budget being a consideration, if he’s looking to do it on the cheap, I wouldn’t recommend that high quality of seed that is raised, threshed and saved by hand.

People doing traditional seed breeding outside of the university and extension basically take it on as a hobby (including myself) for the greater good. There’s no money in it.
 

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Not trying to be a Debbie Downer, just trying to provide semi-accurate and realistic figures. If the farmers got paid what they’re charging for seeds, they’d be getting about $36,000/ bushel.
You are comparing commercial cereal and grain farmers with subsidies & automation (tractors for planting, harvesting and threshers for cleaning) to hand tools. That’s a huge difference in labor inputs, that’s why they aren’t getting $36k a bushel.
 
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don't regret it at all! wear the scars with pride! damn, i remember for other things i was f'n around with....after 7 years i finally made the breakthrough to grow mushrooms myself. and i got my ass kicked trying to isolate my own enymes with protien purification...but all that's still on a back burner for me. might become a revived project!

oh and damn, never have figured out how to use koji mold, not to say i didn't try a lot! another one for a revisit! :mug:

edit: being that you want to culture your own yeast to, the mushroom thing maybe practical, it involves learning sterile technique....

(and, if successful...a selfie in what i've heard was called the boneyard would be IMPRESSIVE! ;))
I won't regret it, I'll be glad to try it. If I get the hang of it, might become handy one day ;)
I was reading the Brew book and found the section on how to culture your own yeast from bottles if it's bottle fermented. I am thrilled to try it. I have a whole case of franziskaner, would be cool if I can manage to culture it.
If I am successful, I will for sure do a selfie. Thank you very much, Bracconiere!
While I am still learning and I know not Beer related, here are my tobacco plants that I grew from seeds. Hoping to do a better job growing them next spring.
 

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Unless they offer seeds in bulk packaging, the seeds from Solstice are ridiculously expensive for what you get. For their wheat, they offer 100 seeds/ packet for $4.00. At a standard seeding rate, that would only sow a single row that is just 5' long. Wheat is typically drilled in rows spaced 12" apart with approximately 18 seeds per foot of row. You'd need approximately 170 of those packets to plant enough wheat to produce 1 bushel (60 pounds) of raw grain.
If they are all the same and I don't need a specific/special wheat to make wheat beer then I'd rather buy local at the elevator and save money.
 
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i'm thinking chris has some serious drive! even if he has to post his batch in the 1-gallon brewers UNITE thread, i'm looking forward to it! ;)
Thanks, bracconiere! That's a great idea, when I get around to doing it, I will plan to do 1 gallon to start with and see how it goes. First, I want to try an all grain kit, get the hang of that and then find the time to try growing them etc.
 
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that’s why they said to contact them, they probably have bulk seed prices, the packets on their website are for small gardens. Plus they are connected to the Northern Grain Growers, so I mentioned to get in touch.

I didn’t really see anywhere in the original post about budget being a consideration, if he’s looking to do it on the cheap, I wouldn’t recommend that high quality of seed that is raised, threshed and saved by hand.

People doing traditional seed breeding outside of the university and extension basically take it on as a hobby (including myself) for the greater good. There’s no money in it.
I would like to try this as affordable as I could. Thanks for the ideas though :)
 

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While there are hundreds of barley varieties which have been developed specifically for malting there are no wheat varities intended for malting. That makes sense when one considers that the amount of wheat used in beer is,essentially, a rounding error compared to how much barley is used.

The OP’s location is Illinois; the most common type of wheat available would likely be soft red winter wheat. That’s the most widely grown type in that region. Soft wheats are lower in protein than hard wheats, which would make them more suitable for brewing. The lower protein content would reduce the likelihood of developing protein haze (maltsters don’t want any grain, wheat or barley, higher than 11% protein for that reason).
 

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I was reading the Brew book and found the section on how to culture your own yeast from bottles if it's bottle fermented. I am thrilled to try it. I have a whole case of franziskaner, would be cool if I can manage to culture it.
If I am successful, I will for sure do a selfie.
Just be aware that not all breweries bottle with the same yeast they ferment with. Many breweries introduce a different yeast at bottling.
 

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Doing some fast and dirty calculations based on the yields where I live (dry land farming in northeast Colorado), here are some figures. To grow 1 bushel of raw wheat (60 pounds) you’ll need approximately 850+ square feet of fertile soil and about 120 days. For 1 bushel of raw barley (48 pounds) you’ll need close to 1000 square feet and about 90 days. Yields can vary greatly depending on geography and growing conditions. Maybe @grampamark could elaborate or correct my figures.
What do you do about bugs? My wife had the idea to plant a small patch of corn one year for fun. By small, I mean 10-15 plants. (And we live in PA near farm country where corn is everywhere.) Every ear was loaded with bugs, not one was edible.
 

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My wife is good at gardening and she grows things useful but not all for beer. We grow tomatoes, peppers, squash, green beans, lettuce, and spinach. We also have mint that now grows everywhere, (mojitos), oregano that comes back every year, basil, sage, thyme, and catnip for our cats. Some of the herbs we grow in big containers. She’s growing radishes for the first time and just planted garlic.
 
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While there are hundreds of barley varieties which have been developed specifically for malting there are no wheat varities intended for malting. That makes sense when one considers that the amount of wheat used in beer is,essentially, a rounding error compared to how much barley is used.

The OP’s location is Illinois; the most common type of wheat available would likely be soft red winter wheat. That’s the most widely grown type in that region. Soft wheats are lower in protein than hard wheats, which would make them more suitable for brewing. The lower protein content would reduce the likelihood of developing protein haze (maltsters don’t want any grain, wheat or barley, higher than 11% protein for that reason).
Sounds good, I have sent a response to the elevator so looking to see what they say on what kind of wheat and seeding rates.
I will plan to try the Robust barley that my seed store can get in. The wheat at the elevator is non-treated. Thank you!
 
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My wife is good at gardening and she grows things useful but not all for beer. We grow tomatoes, peppers, squash, green beans, lettuce, and spinach. We also have mint that now grows everywhere, (mojitos), oregano that comes back every year, basil, sage, thyme, and catnip for our cats. Some of the herbs we grow in big containers. She’s growing radishes for the first time and just planted garlic.
That's awesome! We have also been growing our own vegetables etc.
 
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The local elevator said about the seeding rate for wheat:
Our growers plant 2 bags (100 lbs. total) per acre.
 

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The local elevator said about the seeding rate for wheat:
Our growers plant 2 bags (100 lbs. total) per acre.
I would definitely listen to their advice. A quick google search tells me your annual rainfall is over twice what mine is here and our farmers plant approximately 60 pounds per acre on dryland fields.
 

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If you decide to grow any kind of grain think about how you will keep the multitude of animals out of your crop. Even in the city you'll have squirrels and birds to contend with.

I'd suggest that unless brewing dirt cheap is your primary goal to invest in buying seeds of great tasting wheat and barley rather than what you can buy in bulk at feed stores. What is available at feed stores generally will be meant for...feed. It's primarily varieties selected for high yield rather than the best flavor or the best brewing attributes. You can get great heirloom varieties from garden seed suppliers and seed exchanges. You'll pay more but you can set aside most of your first year small harvest to supply a larger second year and then you'll always have a free supply of seed for the following year. Over years the cost of seeds will become negligible and you'll have great tasting grain to work with.

I bought some wheat and barley to try growing on a very small scale myself. I'll probably grow them for next year to rotate away from the vegetables I usually grow (beans, squash, tomatoes, peppers) but even committing all of my home garden space I'll probably end up with enough for two or three five gallon batches at most. A lot of work for not a lot of beer but one of the things I've always wanted to try and probably only try once. I have several fruit plants/trees, hops and herbs I'll still have to tend to and harvest.
 

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I'd suggest that unless brewing dirt cheap is your primary goal to invest in buying seeds of great tasting wheat and barley rather than what you can buy in bulk at feed stores.
Please define “great tasting”. I‘m a grain farmer. I’ve been growing wheat and barley, among other things, for most of my adult life, and I’m 70 years old. They all taste about the same, to me.

Non farmers have a lot of preconceived notions about things agricultural which actual farmers find rather amusing. Growing brewing grains on a garden scale is an exercise which has a lot, in terms of time and effort, in common with picking fly poop out of pepper. The reward is only whatever sense of accomplishment the beer gardener feels at the end of the process. If that’s enough, then knock yourselves out. I don’t intend to discourage anyone from trying, but those who aspire to produce all of their own brewing ingredients need to be aware that they are embarking on a very long journey, only to arrive at a very small house. :cool:
 

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Please define “great tasting”. I‘m a grain farmer. I’ve been growing wheat and barley, among other things, for most of my adult life, and I’m 70 years old. They all taste about the same, to me.
I am not in a position to disagree about your experience but in my far smaller sample size I've definitely tasted different wheat and barley and tasted a difference, even if slight.

Non farmers have a lot of preconceived notions about things agricultural which actual farmers find rather amusing. Growing brewing grains on a garden scale is an exercise which has a lot, in terms of time and effort, in common with picking fly poop out of pepper. The reward is only whatever sense of accomplishment the beer gardener feels at the end of the process. If that’s enough, then knock yourselves out. I don’t intend to discourage anyone from trying, but those who aspire to produce all of their own brewing ingredients need to be aware that they are embarking on a very long journey, only to arrive at a very small house. :cool:
Absolutely agreed. I don't know what size land OP has in mind but for my extremely small experiment I could only see this as something I endure once to make very little beer just to see what it's like and say I did it. I have no illusions in my mind that I intend to do anything sustainable or save any kind of money, especially for the value of my time.
 
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Right now, I’m learning and getting ideas. First, I want to get an all grain kit, try that and if I get the hang of it, then try the next step of trying to grow my own ingredients. I will first start small of growing my own ingredients for enough to make a gallon like others have mentioned before. See what it’s like and go from there. If I feel I can make more then I will.
How much land and lbs of grain do you think I will need to make a gallon?
I will have to figure out how much land I have available. Though we do have a decent amount of land in the country. Though I am curious, if it’s so hard to do then how did the people long ago be able to do it? Why didn’t they give up?
 

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Just throwing this out there.

As others have said, barley is sown at a rate of 60 to 90 pounds per acre, which translates into about a half-pound to 3/4 pound per 10 x 10 foot plot. You can calculate how much you will need by pacing off the area and doing the math.
A 1 gallon batch you'll probably need around 2 to 3 pounds of malt depending on what you brew.
 

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My thoughts about growing a beer garden would involve planting some hardy grass variety than can handle a lot of foot traffic, pretty seasonal flowers in pots, and maybe some bigger bushes or trees, for shade, that you could also keep in pots, for convenience. You’d need a few tables, benches or chairs, and good patio umbrellas. The “beer” part of “beer garden” comes with a reliable supply of Pilsener, Weisse, or any style of your choice, preferably well chilled. Food is optional but snacks would be great!
 

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My thoughts about growing a beer garden would involve planting some hardy grass variety than can handle a lot of foot traffic, pretty seasonal flowers in pots, and maybe some bigger bushes or trees, for shade, that you could also keep in pots, for convenience. You’d need a few tables, benches or chairs, and good patio umbrellas. The “beer” part of “beer garden” comes with a reliable supply of Pilsener, Weisse, or any style of your choice, preferably well chilled. Food is optional but snacks would be great!
A Biergarten!!!
 
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Just throwing this out there.

As others have said, barley is sown at a rate of 60 to 90 pounds per acre, which translates into about a half-pound to 3/4 pound per 10 x 10 foot plot. You can calculate how much you will need by pacing off the area and doing the math.
A 1 gallon batch you'll probably need around 2 to 3 pounds of malt depending on what you brew.
Thank you very much, Dave! I will check into this.
 

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