Alpha and Beta Amylase Kits for Brewing: Year One
Additional experiments have shown that by knowing the enzymatic profiles of mashing, it could be possible to reduce the time of this step by up to 20 minutes.
During October of last year, on my third day of employment at GlycoSpot, I had my first “business trip.” We went to take samples from the mashing of a Christmas Ale, at the Pilot Brewery of the Department of Food Science from the University of Copenhagen (KU Food). By that time, the scientists at GlycoSpot had already developed alpha and beta-amylase kits for barley malt, but they were not adapted for mashing wort. The first trials showed some potential, although further study was needed to optimize their use.
Pilot brew at KU-Food
Under the framework of a CPH-Food funded project ; which set up a collaboration between GlycoSpot, KU-Food, and Bryghuset Møn; a lot of work was done to adapt our method for brewers. A key actor was B.Eng. Maiken Yde, who, after some research done the following months, could see a turning point: the enzymatic profiles were consistent with what could be found in recent literature [2,3]. Whereas the alpha-amylase profile could be described by an inverse U-shape line, beta-amylase is characterized by an initial plateau followed by a consistent decrease over time. The figures below show the results of analyzing alpha and beta-amylase, the latter in diastatic power units (WK), since it is directly correlated to that enzyme. These shapes can be explained by how fast the enzymes are extracted from the malt into the wort, as well as denatured as the temperature rises.
Enzymatic profiles during mashing of a mixed malt recipe
Additional experiments have shown that by knowing the enzymatic profiles of mashing, it could be possible to reduce the time of this step by up to 20 minutes. Based on these results, our journey will continue, testing our method with different test partners from the brewing industry.
As of today, brewers have no means of monitoring the enzymatic activity of the raw materials or wort during mashing. In GlycoSpot kits, they will find a useful tool to know more about their malts and processes, to brew their beers even better. And this is applicable to all 30,000 breweries worldwide!
by Raimon Parés Viader, PhD