Close Menu

Could ‘raw beer’ revolutionise brewing?

A new way to brew beer, using unmalted barley rather than malted, could revolutionise the brewing industry to make it more eco-friendly.

Image: Instagram c/o @coolcousinbrewing

Cool Cousin Brewing has become the first commercial brewery in the US to make its beer entirely from unmalted barley in a bid to be environmentally-friendly, coining a new brewing process and category that has been termed as “raw beer”.

According to Forbes, the brewery, based in New York, is saving water and carbon dioxide (CO2) with each brew by removing malting from the production process and instead using raw (unmalted) barley and then creating wort by adding an exogenous enzyme in the mash.

Cool Cousin Brewing founder and CEO John Midgley said: “Malting is incredibly old school and inefficient. The brewing industry has made improvements to water and energy use, but malting hasn’t changed much over time.”

Using this process instead, Midgley claims he is able to save 700 millilitres of water and 32 grams of CO2 for every litre of beer that his brewery produces.

Midgley explained: “The enzymes are exactly the same as from malt” and revealed that the brewer steps the mash through four temperature stops to activate different enzymes as would occur in malting and traditional mashing to achieve the same results.

He added that Cool Cousin beer, which is loosely in the style of a German-style Kolsch, should be likened to an electric car – still a car, but made to be less resource intensive.

Cool Cousin’s first customer was Dan Barber’s restaurant Blue Hill at Stone Barns which boasts two Michelin stars.

Speaking about listing the beer, Hannah Williams, beverage director and Blue Hill at Stone Barns said: “We were excited about the prospect of a ‘raw’ beer, but also unsure of how that would translate to flavour. After tasting, we were surprised by how fresh, and truly grain-focused the style was.”

Williams added: “The aromas and flavours of the raw barley are reminiscent of all of the freshly-milled grains in our bakery and of our grain tea program. It felt like a natural fit.”

Cool Cousin beer is reportedly made from only locally-sourced barley from either New York or Pennsylvania, which, despite being across a state line, is geographically closer to the brewery where the beer is made. Additionally the hops are of German lineage, but grown in New York.

The beer is currently only available in New York State, but Midgley has hinted that he plans to expand across the US and enter the California market next, but to take this route he will aim to brew in the state from locally-sourced grains and hops so that all ingredients remain locally-sourced.

It looks like you're in Asia, would you like to be redirected to the Drinks Business Asia edition?

Yes, take me to the Asia edition No