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Pros and cons of using organic base malt

I’m wondering if so long as 1) you don’t mind the higher cost, and 2) no special base malt is needed for which there is no organic equivalent, are there any reasons not to use organic base malts for all-grain brewing?

Also, does anybody know anything about specific impacts to health from drinking beer made with non-organic malts, assuming from pesticides and/or herbicides and other chemicals - that you would not get if using organic malt?

I buy base malt by the sack, and am seriously thinking about at least trying organic.

My LHBS is all organic (7 Bridges Co-op). I have not had any issues with the grain from them other than there are a few varieties that are not available organically. For hops it is even more of a restriction. As far as negative effects of non-organic malts I am not too sure. I guess if they are genetically modified to produce their own pesticides you will have pesticides in your beer.

I find that most fruits and veggies grown organically taste better compared to chemically-produced products, so I imagine that organic barley might likely have a superior flavor.

I’m sure they have more nutrition content as well. When you grow using chemical fertilizers it is like eating junk food, it will make you grow and gain weight, but you wont be healthy. Rich organic soil will make grow the plants with better nutrition.

I know that this is true of fruits and vegetables, and organic milk is also better for you supposedly (and just about anything grown organically). I guess it’s a question with an obvious answer, meaning that organic is just healthier for you. Thanks guys.

The con is price. Organic foods are more expensive to produce and have a much higher markup at retail. I’m not sure that there are any pros other than the good feeling you’ll have for adhering to personal principles. :slight_smile:

I’ve never heard anyone single out an organically produced beer as being categorically superior to the vast majority of beer that is not organic. Only one placed in the 2010 Beer World Cup. In most cases, the “organicness” probably doesn’t enter into the discussion when determining a beer’s quality.

No pros
cons more expensive

Look at the usda “organic” website

http://www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/nop

then look at the top of the page.

See the problem?

I’d agree that ‘organic’ is often used as a marketing term but the USDA does actually enforce some standards for it to be used on labeling (how well they enforce could be debated). I too am thinking about giving a sack of organic base malt a try next time, will use it to brew a beer that I’ve done a few times to see if I can tell any difference. Much like others experiences I often prefer organic vegetables so I figure it is worth a try.

Ask for a sample of the organic malt and a comparable conventional malt at the LHBS and perform a triangle test, see if you can pick out the organic based on which one tastes the best.

Yes “some standards made up by a marketing team” but the standards are not much better than other food. Do you prefer “organic veggies” or are they just fresh vegtables.
I agree if you get some really fresh stuff you may be able to tell a difference (good or bad will dpened on your taste). But getting it to be free of pesticides and stuff like that your just kidding yourself.

you would have to do a completly blind taste test to figure out if it is worth it to you

You’re drinking an alcoholic beverage with empty calories and worrying about trace pesticides or fertilizers?

As you can tell, I don’t buy into the whole organic bit. But cheers to you if it makes you feel better. Life is short, worrying is harder on you than anything.

[quote=“tom sawyer”]You’re drinking an alcoholic beverage with empty calories and worrying about trace pesticides or fertilizers?[/quote]We know what repeated exposure to alcohol and empty calories does to us, but I think we’re less clear on what happens when we repeatedly ingest inorganic substances meant to kill and maim living things. Avoiding stuff that changes DNA seems like it might be a good idea, but I’m not (yet) worried about it enough to buy organic grain.

Wether you get better flavor or not doesnt matter to me. Its proven that foods with peticides and growth hormones can cause negativie things in our bodies. The question is, do you care to put the time and money and effert into being sure your food has nothing like that in there. If you do then go for the organic brewing grains, and have a garden that you dont have to use pesticides on. Its fun too. Oooh! you could start growing barley lol

A lot of it is organic (as in, carbon-based). And I hear what you’re saying, its just that we have pretty efficient DNA repair mechanisms and our livers filter a lot of stuff as well. Plus there are many natural carcinogens, sunlight included. So I guess I don’t worry about it. I have concluded that when its your time that it and theres not that much to be done to prevent that.

I don’t smoke anymore though, so I do have my own regimen and I wouldn’t begrudge anyone of their right to do what they thought would give them good health.

As far as organic produce tasting better, I think that might be the freshness aspect or the varietals grown.

Its proven at high levels, not at the levels we see in our food supply. You can’t study that, and the epidemiology has to be manipulated to “subtract” out the multiple confounding factors, some of which they haven’t even thought of and therefore can’t correct for.

I just heard that the number one source of dioxin (the most toxic substance known) in the US, comes from people burning trash in their burn barrels. Hard to avoid air.

You don’t think there isn’t anything bad on “organic” stuff?

I agree that a healthy dose of research, along with health protective measures when possible, leads to less worry. Certainly, some foods which are known to pass along higher doses of chemicals under standard commercial growing practices, are better candidates for being purchased in the organic section, like strawberries and apples.

I’m hopeful that more of the organic products continue to become more affordable relative to their counterparts, for those who want to buy them but can’t afford it.

so the usda is letting us eat stuff that will maim and kill us? and there is nothing bad on the so called organic food…

One thing about organic produce is reduced shelf life, and that has a nice benefit of requiring it be sold quicker/locally. I’m all about that. I have my own garden and fruit trees too.

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