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Learning As We Grow

At Rogue Farms, we’re always up for trying something new and revolutionary. If someone around here has a good idea, we’ll go for it, even if we don’t know exactly how it will turn out.

A good example of the Rogue way of doing things is our Wigrich Corn. We planted four acres this summer with plans to floor malt and micro malt it at our Farmstead Malt House in Tygh Valley.

Well you know what they say about making plans…

Our four acres of Wigrich Corn on harvest day.

Our four acres of Wigrich Corn on harvest day.

Thanks to the collaboration of Mother Nature, growing our corn was the easy part. Within a few months the stalks had grown seven feet tall and the ears were ready for picking sooner than we’d expected.

Picking corn

Picking our corn by hand. For our first harvest we picked 5600 ears weighing a total 1884 pounds. With 48,116 pounds still on the stalks, we’re just getting started.

We loaded the rest of the picked corn into the truck and drove the crop over the Oregon Cascades to our Farmstead Malt House in Tygh Valley.

We loaded the ears into the truck and drove the crop over the Oregon Cascades to our Farmstead Malt House in Tygh Valley.

Here’s the tricky part. You don’t malt corn, you malt kernels. The next step was removing the husks from the ears (threshing) and then removing the kernels from the cob (shelling). These are time consuming chores so we bought some equipment to do the work for us.

Thresher

This is a thresher. It removes husks from the ears of corn. But if you look at the floor you’ll see an ear so badly mangled it looks like it was chewed on by a hyperactive puppy.

The results were disappointing, but not surprising. At 70% moisture, we suspected our corn was too soft to thresh and shell this way. So we did what any revolutionary would do when faced with a situation that appears to be insurmountable. We improvised.

Our maltsters in Tygh Valley will experiment with kilning the ears in the husks. When moisture levels drop below 30%, we’ll try threshing and shelling again. Will it work? We’ll find out soon enough.

We’re in unchartered territory here. There are no textbooks, experts or guides to tell us how to floor malt and micro-malt corn. We’re learning as we go and if we make some mistakes, that’s okay. We’ll learn from those mistakes and eventually get it right. When we do, our Rogue Farms Corn Floor Malt and Micro-Malt will be unlike anything on store shelves. Who knows what Rogue Brewmaster John Maier will be inspired to create with it?

The Revolution is strong and growing!

Please visit Rogue Farms this fall and see how we grow beer, spirits, ciders and sodas.

roguefarms grow the revolution

 

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