MBC Working Party


Objectives (Evaluation of Varieties)

  1. To assess the technical recommendations of the MMG in a more commercial context in order to make firm brewing and distilling recommendations to the Malting Barley Committee.
  2. To track and assist the macroscale malting, distilling and brewing testing of commercial bulks as part of the IBD Approval system, interpret the results in a commercial context and make recommendations to the MBC.
  3. To make recommendations to the Malting Barley Committee for revision of the distilling and brewing part of the IBD Approved List.


The MBC Working Party is  made up of any interested parties involved in macroscale trials who will be invited to have representation including SWRI, BRi, SRUC and NIAB (if contracted to AHDB).

See the current composition of committees here. Membership is primarily appointed by MAGB, SWA and BBPA with the chairmanship rotating as directed by the Malting Barley Committee. The Committee draws support from AHDB, SWRI, SRUC, BRi and NIAB.  MAGB provide the Secretariat.

General Description of Work

The WP meets twice a year (May and Oct/Nov). The sample agendas given below are typical of the matters addressed by the Working Party.

At the May meeting the WP receives a report from the Chairman of the MMG providing meaned data by variety and parameter in respect of the NL1, NL2, RL1 years and any additional grain distilling means, together with the recommended colour-code rating. The recommendations are checked for consistency and account is taken of commercial considerations. In particular the WP considers whether the control or controls chosen by the MMG set an appropriate commercial threshold for further decisions; the WP may reset the threshold to reflect commercial usage and revise the colour-coding.

The results from RL1 are looked at in conjunction with the previous NL2 and NL1 years in order to decide whether candidate varieties should be recommended for IBD Provisional Approval (this is based on micromalting analysis).    

The WP receives reports from the macroscale malting, brewing and distilling trials, assesses for performance, compliance and completeness before making a recommendation on progress within the IBD Approval system.  The WP interprets the contents of the reports to reflect current commercial usage.  Also dealt with are plans for macroscale trials from the forthcoming harvest.  

The Secretariat maintains the IBD Approved List and the ‘Stairway to Heaven’.  These are reviewed by the WP.

Below are typical Agendas from the May and October/November meetings:



The next meeting of the MBC Working Party to be held at xxx at 10.30 am on xxx May


1.  Welcome
2.  Apologies for Absence
3.  Committee’s Membership (current list attached)
4.  Minutes of the last Meeting (attached)
5.  Matters Arising (not covered in the Agenda)
6.  Reports

a)  SRUC Crop Report
b)  NIAB Report
c)  MAGB Collated Purchases from last Harvest

7.  Report of the MMG

a) Main points/issues raised at MMG meeting
b) Review of micromalting data

i.   RL varieties
ii.  NL2 varieties
iii. NL1 varieties

c) Identification of Brewing and Distilling Varieties
d) Recommendations for Provisional Approval I
e) Confirm arrangements for micromalting work from current harvest
f) MMG Grain Distilling Trials

8.  Scottish Macroscale Trials from last Harvest

Candidates: ………, ……………, ……………

a) Review commercial scale malting and distilling trials
b) Recommendations for Provisional II or Full Approval

9.  English Macroscale Trials from last Harvest

Candidates: ………, ……………, ……………

a) Review commercial scale malting and brewing trials
b) Recommendations for Provisional II or Full Approval

10. Availability of commercial trial varieties from current Harvest
11. WP proposals for IBD Approved List for next Harvest

a) Candidates for Provisional Approval I
b) Candidates for Provisional Approval II or Full Approval
c) Candidates for removal from the List

12. Any Other Business
13. Date and Venue for Next Meeting




The next meeting of the MBC Working Party to be held at xxx, at 10.30 am on xxx October


1.  Welcome
2.  Apologies for Absence
3.  Membership (attached)
4.  Declarations of Interest
5.  Minutes of Previous Meeting
6.  Harvest Reports

a) NIAB Harvest  Report
b) SRUC Harvest  Report
c) Collation of Barley Purchases

7.  Report from Crops Board Meeting
8.  Micromalting Group Reports
9.  Micromalting Data Handling for current Harvest
10. Review of Varieties for two years after Full Approval
11. IBD Approved List for next Harvest
12. Candidates for Micromalting Trials from next Harvest
13. Choice of Trial Plot Sites
14. Progress of Macroscale Trials from current Harvest
15. Potential Macroscale Trials next Harvest
16. Advice to Crops Board Meeting attendees
17. Date and Venue of Next Meetings
18. Any Other Business

The report from Crop Board meetings (AHDB’s BOCC) provides an opportunity for AHDB to inform the WP about decisions arising from the AHDB RL Project Board Barley Committee. The micromalting and choice of trial sites items deal with plans for the forthcoming work of the Micromalting Group. There is an opportunity to assess any further macroscale results and revise the IBD Approved List. The WP checks that plans for macroscale trials are progressing and identify where further encouragement is needed. Under advice to Crop Board meeting attendees, there is a discussion on those varieties that AHDB’s Barley Committee will consider for the new Recommended List so that Barley Committee attendees get the benefit of comment from across the malting, brewing and distilling industries. At this stage the Working Party considers not only the technical merits of candidate varieties but also whether they appear to have both the agronomic and quality characters to be competitive and significant in the market place and therefore worth supporting through macroscale trials.