27 January 2023

Historic malting barley Alexis: First batches available

Reviving historic barley variety | The Heidelberg-based family business Palatia Malz GmbH, in a joint effort with Saatzucht Josef Breun GmbH & Co. KG, has revived the traditional German malting barley variety Alexis. The malt produced exclusively by Palatia from this time-honored barley variety will now be marketed under the brand name “Best A-XL”, the A standing for “Alexis” and the XL (“extra large”) for the exceptional foam stability of a beer brewed with it.

In Germany, the Alexis variety was approved as a malting barley in 1986 and was considered a #1 standard malting barley in Europe for many years, with outstanding foam properties. This convinced Bestmalz CEO Dr. Axel Göhler. to have the variety grown again by a select group of farmers.

As a result, in 2021 Saatzucht Breun grew modern malting barley varieties in direct comparison with the historic Alexis under the same conditions as part of state variety trials in Lower Saxony. The trials turned out well in favor of the historic variety, so that the Bestmalz team decided to malt Alexis barley in the fall of 2021 at the Kreimbach-Kaulbach malthouse near Kaiserslautern on a highly innovative test facility. With the support of the Weihenstephan Technical University, very extensive barley and malting tests were carried out. Finally, test brews (malt from modern barley compared with malt from Alexis barley) were produced at a test facility in Munich and the beer was subjected to a number of trials. Their exceedingly good results were the basis for cultivation contracts and increases in seed production.

A second Alexis 2021 test growing area was located in the immediate vicinity of the Wallertheim malthouse near Mainz. “This made it possible to test other climatic conditions and to closely observe and follow the development,” explains Dr. Göhler. “Rhine-Hesse also proved to be a good growing region for the historic variety – despite the hot temperatures and dryness of the 2021 summer –, and will be further expanded in the following years.”

In October 2022, the first batches of malt were produced and delivered to customers.

Best A-XL imparts a malty flavor to the beer, ensures a full body as well as a golden yellow color. An increased content of free amino nitrogen (FAN) suitably supplies yeast during fermentation. It shows up to 30 percent more foam stability in the beer glass in tests compared to conventional standard malts due to its well-balanced proteolytic and cytolytic properties. Malt from Alexis barley can be used up to 100 % in the grain bill.

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