Case Study: Huskless Barley with Modist Brewing

Teaming with BSG CraftBrewing, Modist Brewing has experimented to brew a beer made entirely from a highly experimental huskless barley.

Having the right type of brewing system was a key to the Minneapolis brewery to work on such an endeavor. Modist employs the use of a mash filter system instead of a lauter tun.

The mash was pretty straightforward for the brew team said head brewer Keigan Knee.

“[It was] A little thicker mash than standard two-row,” he said, but noting that it had a good conversion and mash pH with a toasty bread-like aroma during the mash and a nice color wort during runoff.

At 100 percent usage the malt had a nice toasted bread like aroma and flavor he added.

“Currently this malt has a higher protein/glucan content which contributes to a slightly slower lauter and slight chill haze, when compared to husked barley. Rahr Malting was the first maltster to successfully malt the grain and is still perfecting the malting process,” Knee said. “It also had a good yield, which can be even higher with some fine tuning on the malting side.

“It would be fun to use the toasted crust like character in a English-style pale or a fruit beer.”

Modist said it’s an attempt to understand the full scope of the huskless barley’s potential benefits to a beer’s flavor, mouthfeel and stability.

“We don’t depend on the husk of the grain to help separate the liquid from solid – making us a perfect partner for this experiment,” they said.

The variety of barley used, known as CDC Clear, was developed and bred without the hull that normally surrounds a kernel of barley. The hull of traditional barley is typically necessary in the brewing process to aide in the separation of liquid from solid in the lautering process. However, the hull can also impart unwanted flavors to the beer such as bitter tannins.

The beer, called Deviation 010 went on tap in late September as a taproom-only exclusive. A Lager, Deviation 010 is a smooth, full-flavored lager brewed with CDC Clear malt, lightly hopped with Denali, Huell Melon, and Bravo, and then fermented with our house lager strain. It’s lightly fruity, bready, drinkable, and clocks in at 5.5 percent ABV.

Knee said the Lager style was chose to showcase the malt character with a neutral yeast ester since Modist’s house Ale strain is very fruit forward.

“We wanted to maximize the malt flavor, so we kept the hops and yeast character to a minimum,” Knee said. “So far it’s been received very well and our crew and the Rahr Malting crew really enjoyed it.”


  1. the picture included of malt doesn’t appear to be “hulless” – is this really what malted hulless barley looks like? I expect it would like malted wheat which doesn’t have a husk.

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