Project: Beer Garden – Barley

Beer needs grain. So we need to grow it if we’re going to achieve our fully self-sufficient beer garden. But how much do we need to grow? More importantly, how much will we need to brew to meet our drinking needs?

I think before we can start any calculations we need to be work our consumption. As the Dark Farm Beer Garden project is for personal use (plus a few friends) and not a commercial brewery then our output can be reduced. Hopefully!

The darts factor
So: there are 52 weeks in a year and let’s say an average of four people will be drinking on 2 nights each week. And we’ll drink 3 pints each (enough for a reasonable night of darts). The total consumption would then be 52 weeks x (4 people x 2 nights x 3 pints) = 1,248 pints.  Let’s round this up to 1,250.

Allowing for spillage
OK, let’s go for 1,250 pints as the required output for our Beer Garden project. Rounding a pint up to 600mls to allow for spillage then that works out at ‭750‬L of beer. I usually brew in 25L batches so that would be 30 mash ups per year. We’re going to be busy! I might look at expanding our mashup volume, but this may be a factor to consider whilst working out our power requirements.

How much grain would we need? I guess this depends on the brew. I usually enjoy APA, IPA and the occasional stout. Let’s use a mean average of 4KG per 25L mash. That’s a total of 120KG.

Bushels of barley for our beer (try saying that after a few!)
According to Google you should get an average yield of 40-60 bushels of barley per acre. Let’s say 50 bushels. A bushel of barley, by the way, is around 22KG so that’s 1,100KG per acre – also known as 4500m2. Therefore, we need 120/1100  x 4500 = 490m2 of barley to be planted. A lot.

As it would be impractical to grow this inside our geodesic Beer Garden we could expand and grow the barley both inside and out. But a little birdy has just reminded me that we can grow two crops a year – spring and winter – therefore, the actual amount of  land required would be 245m2.

Now we’re getting somewhere!
It’s still too large for the Beer Garden but workable. With a combination of growing both indoors and out we should be able to achieve enough for our targets, or even to expand and allow for a little extra.

If you not sure what we are talking about please refer to our brief here  to see an outline of our Beer Garden project. And stay posted for more updates as we head towards spring and things start to really get exciting!

Talking of grains, have you seen our all grain homebrewing kits?


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