Nick Carr on January 10, 2020 0 Comments Golden Promise could be called Scotland’s Maris Otter doppelganger… but only if you wanted to start an argument and possibly a fist-fight. Brewer’s have strong feelings about both these grains; some adamant that the older Golden Promise is superior, others yelling Maris Otter all the way. The comparison, though somewhat unfair, is easy to fall into; however, they both contribute to overall malt complexity, creating smooth and full-bodied beer, with notes of bready sweetness. Maris may have a stronger biscuit and toast flavor while Golden Promise compensates with a cleaner, yet sweeter caramel profile. But little argument can be made about each holding a precarious, yet tenaciously fought for position in today’s craft beer world. History: Golden Promise came on the scene in 1967, being specifically recommended for the wet and windy environment of Scotland. In 1956 Miln Marsters Breeding Company applied gamma irradiation to seeds from the British cultivar Maythorpe. The aim was to create a semi-dwarf, stiff-strawed variety, better able to stand up to erratic weather. Fourteen thousand lines were first created. These were slowly whittled down through an observation and selection process that took place between 1958 and 1962. After two more years of official trials performed on their final selection, line 759/4 was given the name Golden Promise. It was one of the first barley strains to originate through the use of this type of mutation breeding. The new variety matured early in the season and showed promising yields, including a smaller loss potential due to variable weather. Other traits, such as a uniform grain size and very little grain splitting (which can result in uneven germination) made Golden Promise an excellent choice for malting. Golden Promise had another first when it was the initial barley variety protected under the 1964 Plant Varieties and Seeds Act. This act gave plant breeders proprietary rights to the varieties they invented or discovered and allowed them to claim royalties on those varieties. Distillers seemed especially taken by the new malt. By 1977 nearly 70% of farmland dedicated to spring barley crops in Scotland was being planted with Golden Promise. It remained on the Scottish Agricultural Colleges recommended lists until 1990 and continued to be a dominant variety throughout that time period. Eventually, newer varieties surpassed the traits that made Golden Promise so popular. It was largely replaced by the German-bred variety Triumph and later by the variety Prisma. However, the mutated gene responsible for Golden Promise’s success is still researched and lives on in other varieties. There are still those brewers and distillers alike who lobby for farmers to continue to grow Golden Promise. One major defender of the variety is Macallan Distillery. Origin: Grown in Scotland Malt Type: Base Malt Average Percentage Used: Up to 100% of the grain bill Diastatic Power: Diastatic power will range between 50 and 75oL (Lintner); well above the recommended minimum of 35oL to allow self conversion. Simpsons malting shows their Golden Promise as having 71 oL. *Note: because Golden Promise is a UK product the diastatic power is listed on some charts and by some sellers as 120oL. This is incorrect and is referring to the European measurement of Windisch-Kolbach (oWK). You can convert between the two by using Lintner = (WK + 16) / 3.5. Thus, if you have 160oWK Lintner = (160 +16) / 3.5, which comes out to 50oL. Lovibond: The color of Golden Promise usually sites between 2.2 and 3.0oL (Lovibond). Color it contributes to the beer: Light golden Flavor: Sweet and robust malt flavors with noticeable caramel notes. When compared to Maris Otter it is often described as having a sweeter, but also cleaner profile. Storage/Use Within: Store Golden Promise malt in a pest-free and dry environment, at a temperature below 90oF and, preferably, between 50oF and 70oF. It should be stored in air-tight bags or containers that are bug and rodent proof. Non-milled Golden Promise will keep for 6 months to a year. Crushed grain should be used within 2 or 3 months. Availability (Malt): For now, Golden Promise is still readily available to both the commercial craft brewer and the homebrewer. It is easy to find online and many local homebrew supply shops carry it. There are only two Maltsters making it: GOLDEN PROMISE MALTSTERS Simpsons: Finest Pale Ale Golden Promise (spec sheet) Thomas Fawcett & Sons: Golden Promise Pale Ale (spec sheet PDF) Options to buy on Amazon Availability (Extract): There is no Golden Promise malt extract on the market at this time. You could try a mix of Maris Otter extract and English pale extract or two-row extract. That should get you something along the lines of Golden Promise. Possible Substitutions for Golden Promise: None of these are exact substitutes but can contribute to a profile, at least in some ways, similar to Golden Promise. Maris Otter Halcyon Optic Brewing With Golden Promise: Golden Promise is a well-modified malt, easily converted in a single infusion mash. It can be used to make up 100% of the grain bill for certain styles. In other cases, a percentage of Golden Promise is added to a grain bill to bring a richer and more complex malt character to a beer. For extract brewer’s looking at doing mini-mashing, Golden Promise has enough diastatic power to convert itself and any specialty grains. Used this way it can also contribute to overall malt flavors, bringing a mellow sweetness. Beer Styles Golden Promise is often used in: Session IPAs American/English IPAs Stouts Lagers English Bitters Scottish Ales Irish Red Ale Commercial Examples Using Only Golden Promise: Mosaic Promise from Founders Brewing Company (USA) The Muse & The Golden Promise from Cannery Brewing Company (Canada) Golden Nugget from Toppling Goliath Brewing Company (USA) Thunderlips from Columbus Brewing Company (USA) Todd The Axe Man from Surly Brewing Company (USA) Commercial Examples Using Golden Promise and Other Malts: Heart of Lothian from Drop-In Brewing (USA)- Also uses floor-malted crystal and chocolate malts Sunnyland from Kulshan Brewing Company (USA)- Also uses Pale 2-row and American Pale 3 Flowers IPA from Main Brewing Company (USA)- Also uses American 2-row, Caramalt, Acidulated, rye malt, and rye flakes Golden ERA from Pirate Life Brewing Company (Australia)- Also uses Munich, Crystal Today, Golden Promise is seeing a small resurgence in popularity among craft brewers. It is available in small quantities, usually as a floor malt, to those – including homebrewers – who want just the right malt for their Scottish Light (-/60), Wee Heavy, or a slightly different malt backbone for their next IPA.