Maris Otter is a 2-row, "winter" variety of barley commonly used in the production of malt for the brewing industry. The variety was bred by Dr G D H Bell and his team of plant breeders at the UK's Plant Breeding Institute, part of Cambridge University; the "Maris" part of the name comes from Maris Lane near the institute's home in Trumpington. It was introduced in 1966 and quickly became a dominant variety due to its low nitrogen and superior malting characteristics.
It has been supplanted by newer varieties with better agronomics, but it is still in high demand for premium products. It is one of the few barley malts marketed today by variety. It is very popular both in homebrewing circles and among traditional real ale breweries, many of whom note their exclusive use of Maris Otter in their promotional literature. It carries a price premium to most other varieties.
Maris Otter is a cross of Proctor and Pioneer.