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How brewing enzymes improve beer production

Beer poring from bootle

The modern brewer really cares about his brewing enzymes – for very good reasons that have to do with production flow, economy, and consistency in taste, appearance, alcoholic content and so forth. In this article, we explore the reasons why enzymes can make a world of difference in modern-day brewing.

International brewers do not rely on luck. They produce beer in pretty much the same way as it has always been done, although on a truly industrial scale. But large-scale beer production is dependent on a number of factors outside their influence. Harvests may fail; the quality of the malted barley may vary, and still the end product must always be the same. Therefore, brewers are looking at their production processes in order to minimize the element of uncertainty and maximize the output of beer. Some of the answers to that challenge lie in the addition of specialized enzymes.

More control needed

In small-scale brewing, the enzymes endemic to the malt are sufficient to provide the chemical reactions needed. This is why anyone with a pot, some barley and yeast and the will to succeed can make beer at home – something which people have been doing for millennia all over the world.

But once the brewers begin to make large amounts of beer, the process gets much too fraught with uncertainties if only endemic enzymes were used. The enzyme content of malted barley can vary quite a lot with season, growing place, grain variety, the quality of the harvest, even the weather when brewing can impact how enzymes perform the job. The result can be beer with odd flavors, beer with too low or too high alcoholic content; production batches with too low a yield or even production batches that have to be discarded. And if you’ve just made 100,000 gallons of beer, this could really ruin your day.

DuPont has developed and tested a number of enzymes for brewing that aid brewers in cutting down production time and cost while still delivering the quality product that consumers have come to expect. Such enzymes are precisely engineered to perform highly specific tasks as good as or even better than naturally occurring enzymes.

Better filtration and mash separation

One such enzyme is the brand new LAMINEX® MaxFlow 4G brewing enzyme. It is designed specifically to make beer filtration easier and to make mash separation more efficient.

The figures below show results from a series of pilot scale tests using 30 % barley in combination with malt. LAMINEX® MaxFlow 4G has been applied to the production and for comparison a market standard enzyme has also been applied.

The first graph shows the difference in pressure build-up during mash separation. The less pressure build-up, the easier the beer will flow through the production process, giving a much more consistent and also higher yield.

LAMINEX® MaxFlow graph

Figure 1: Pressure built-up over time comparing LAMINEX® MaxFlow with market reference.

The second graph shows how the application of LAMINEX® MaxFlow 4G results in a higher flow rate when compared to beer produced with a standard brewing enzyme designed for the same task.


LAMINEX® MaxFlow 4G graph

Figure 2: High consistent throughput with LAMINEX® MaxFlow 4G

The benefits of applying a separation enzyme such as LAMINEX® MaxFlow 4G are many, but chief among them are a much more consistent production flow with fewer stops for filter cleaning operations. Also, when applying enzymes, there is a potential risk of off-flavor developing in the beer, because finding the right dosage can be difficult. But tests have shown that LAMINEX® MaxFlow eliminates this risk because it is so highly specific towards water soluble arabinoxylans.

A sustainable solution

Today, concerns over energy consumption and CO2 emissions require producers to stretch their imagination and come up with ways of cutting back on energy expenditure in production processes.

A typical brewery producing 2.5 million HL per year will be able to cut its CO2 footprint down by 1.8 % when applying LAMINEX® MaxFlow 4G in its production flow.  Added to this is the benefit of keeping production flowing at a much more profitable rate by avoiding production stops.

DuPont enzymes for brewing

DuPont doesn’t just provide brewing enzymes. We are always available for assistance and technical support for brewers, and brewers can always approach us with a new formula and ask us for a qualified opinion on how best to optimize the production flow.

After all, keeping the beer flowing is what it’s all about.

Beer splashing in glass