“We'll all be rooned"
- Ah shit, bugger global warming, Howard needs to take action on this
looming national crisis RIGHT NOW and commence a immediate cloud
seeding program over Australia's wheat belt.
Drought tipped to reduce beer quality
Drought tipped to reduce beer qualityThe World Today - Monday, 30
October , 2006
Reporter: Iskhandar Razak
ELEANOR HALL: The drought is now set to affect even the quality of
A key ingredient of beer, malt, is likely to be of an inferior quality
if it's made from this season's grain crop.
And Iskhandar Razak reports this could not only affect the taste, but
the cost of beer as well.
(sound of glasses clinking and burping)
SARAH: Awww! I love beer. I love it. Because when you are hung over
beer makes everything better. When you have worked all week and it's
Friday night, beer makes everything better.
ISKHANDAR RAZAK: Sarah and her friends sit outside an Adelaide pub
sometime between the end of Saturday and the start of Sunday, talking
about their favourite drinks. Suzanna loves beer of all kinds.
SUZANNA: When you're not drunk and that first beer that you get, you
can tell, like, if it's pale, or if it's stout, or if it's dark ale,
or if it's been watered down, and it is just horrible, and you feel so
gypped. It's terrible.
ISKHANDAR RAZAK: All beer comes from malted grain. Without malt beer
can't be made, and unfortunately for beer drinkers who love it as much
as these two, there's a malt crisis.
ABB Grain is a company that farms, stores, ships and process all types
of grains, including grains to make malt.
It also owns Australia's largest malt company, which supplies brewers
across the nation and in Asia.
The company's domestic barley manager, Lyndon Asser, says because of
the poor season it's having trouble finding enough quality grain to
LYNDON ASSER: Normally that retention is measured to measure the size
and the evenness of the grain. The larger grain is more efficient to
produce malt. The resultant extract from the malting process is
However, our thoughts this year are that with the very poor seasonal
conditions a lot of grain won't meet the retention specification, so
we've decided to remove that retention.
ISKHANDAR RAZAK: So will this mean that the grain that gets used for
malting is going to be of less quality than a normal year?
LYNDON ASSER: That's correct, yes, that's correct.
ISKHANDAR RAZAK: Will malt products rise in price, or are you charging
more for your service?
LYNDON ASSER: Well, certainly the raw product price, everybody's seen
the raw products price of malting barley and with malting barley no
retentions will be rising. So, yes, it would certainly be a fair
assumption that those higher prices will pass through the chain.
ISKHANDAR RAZAK: And what about the end product, will that be of a
less quality as well?
LYNDON ASSER: I'm a bit unqualified to probably talk about that, but
we don't think so.
ISKHANDAR RAZAK: Beer expert Ian Watson is one of only two Australian
beer sommeliers, which a person hired to match the right beers with
foods by restaurants. He says good malt makes good beer.
IAN WATSON: Without malt it'd be water. The malting process helps the
brewer to unlock all that starch that's inside the grain and help them
to be able to turn starch into sugar, so that they can then ferment it
and turn it into beer and not just sort of a sweet, starchy liquid.
With brewing beer there are many little tricks that a brewer has up
their sleeve, and so they're going to adapt pretty quickly to it. But,
yeah, you do want the best quality grain, and if it's going to be a
grain with a higher husk ratio, there is going to be a quality
ISKHANDAR RAZAK: Will the average punter be able to taste a difference?
IAN WATSON: It depends on what the quality difference is that's coming
through, and it depends on how much or if at all the brewer feels that
they have to adapt to that change.
ISKHANDAR RAZAK: Back in Adelaide news of possible changes to the cost
and taste of beer aren't going down well, but when the women discuss
it further, they realise the taste isn't really the reason they drink.
SUZANNA: Like I said before, if you get a watered down pale ale, or if
you get a straight pale ale, you do notice the difference, very
ISKHANDAR RAZAK: But it wouldn't stop you drinking it?
SUZANNA: It wouldn't stop me drinking it, no. I'd be disappointed in
the amount that I'd spent on it, but I'd still drink it.
ELEANOR HALL: Some determined beer drinkers in Adelaide ending
Iskhandar Razak's report.
You see things; and you say, "Why?" But I dream things that never were;
and I say, "Why not?" - George Bernard Shaw