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The malt and hop crisis

Technologies to maximise processability and cost efficiency
brewers cope with the current demanding raw
By Declan L Goode and Eoin Lalor
Kerry Bio-Science
material supply chain – and enhance cost
efficiencies in the process.

Improving brew-house efficiencies

T he years 2006 and 2007 will best be

remembered by brewers across the globe
as the catastrophic years of variable malt
Exogenous wort enzymes
Variable quality malt, elevated malt prices and
quality and hop supply problems – supply difficulties have forced some breweries
unfortunately the outlook for 2008 and beyond to make drastic changes to established
looks no better. The overall global cereal recipes and processes. A reduction in either
supply is currently characterised as poor the proportion or quality of malt in a recipe
yielding with low year-to-year stock-leads. means a considerable decrease in necessary
Basically, we are bordering on a situation of endogenous enzymatic activities and an
higher demand than supply, consumption is increase in the difficult-to-degrade barley cell
exceeding production. This has resulted in a wall structural components such as β-glucan,
high demand for virtually every agricultural pentosans, arabinoxylans, small starch
crop across the globe. granules and protein. Likewise, increasing the
As a result, barley and malt prices have proportion of adjunct in the mash brings
rocketed through the roof. Likewise, Mother additional challenges. The adjunct choice,
Nature has not been so kind, poor weather which can include barley, maize, rice, sorghum
conditions in 2007 have meant crops of a and wheat, will again depend on price,
difficult nature to process and malt. High availability and brewery geographical location.
protein levels, high beta-glucan levels and The reader is thus referred to a previous
often malt of a quality that can at best be Variable quality malt, elevated malt prices and publication by the author, in which details of
described as variable have increased supply difficulties have forced some breweries to the process difficulties associated with each
difficulties in the brew-house. Brewers are make drastic changes to established recipes and adjunct, together with process solutions are
forced to change processes, and increase processes. explained in more detail(1).
adjunct proportions in recipe formulations. Commercial enzymes (Table 1 overleaf) can
This is not just a localised European problem, doubled, tripled and even quadrupled in some alleviate problems associated with variable
but rather a global crisis! cases and breweries are struggling to get quality malt and increased adjunct usage and
Unfortunately, it is not limited to malt supply, supplies. when applied correctly can increase brew-
the outlook for hop supply is even bleaker. A Bottom-line – what does this mean for the house yields, thereby optimising the starch and
combination of factors has created this brewing industry? It means we are under even protein sources brought by the malt or adjunct.
problem. Mismanagement in previous years, more pressure to improve our process and Increased brew-house yield, increased mash
where hop prices were allowed to fall because cost efficiencies in our downstream processes. filterability, reduced fermentation times,
of oversupply in the market place, eventually How can this be achieved? By recognising increased alcohol yields and improved colloidal
forced growers out of the market and therefore the limitations of our processes! The brewing stability of the beer can be achieved. Correct
reduced hop acreage considerably. In 2007, specialists at Kerry Bio-Science have been application of the enzymes will reduce
climatic factors across the globe accentuated working closely with brewers globally to processing difficulties imparted by the poor
the problem further. The level of supply has address this problem. The following article quality malt/adjunct and therefore increase
dropped below the level of demand. What is summarises technologies, process aids and process predictability, in a very cost effective
the result? - prices for alpha acids have ingredients (Figure 1) that are designed to help manner.

Figure 1.

The BREWER & DISTILLER INTERNATIONAL • Volume 4 • Issue 3 • March 2008 •

Wort Fining Agents with positively charged wort proteins, lipids excess foam. The foam produced can have
Likewise, the high nitrogen grains can result in and glucans. As explained from the principle of the effect of reduced overall fermentation
turbid worts, which could cause colloidal Stokes law, the resulting tightly bound capacity, increased fouling of vessels and CO2
problems downstream. Application of electrically neutral aggregates sediment rapidly recovery equipment and at worst overflow of
Whirlfloc a wort-fining agent can in part and form more compact trub in the whirlpool. foam from the vessel resulting in product
alleviate these problems. Whirlfloc is a purified This process is represented schematically in losses. These problems can be alleviated by
form of high molecular weight κ-carrageenan Figure 2 opposite. the use of a foam control agent FermCap
extracted from red marine algae which is a food-grade material consisting of a
(Rhodophycae) and manufactured exclusively Improving Fermentation Efficiencies unique emulsion of an extremely effective
for use as a high performing wort-fining agent. surface-active agent, which prevents foam
When applied 5-10 min before casting, it Foam Control formation by reducing surface tension –
accelerates the formation of dense and The changes in the early vigorous stages of thereby reducing vessel headspace to <10%.
compact trub, saves time, boosts whirlpool primary fermentation can be visually It has been specifically designed for
wort recovery and results in considerably characterised as foam developing on top of application in the brewing process. It is
brighter worts. How does this happen? – The the fermenting wort. Traditionally brewers classified as a processing aid because it is
carrageenan polymers are large negatively have left 20-30% headspace on top of the removed from the beer under normal brewing
charged molecules. These form complexes fermentation vessel to accommodate this process conditions. It is adsorbed onto the

Table 1. Brew-house enzymes for increased process-ability.

Problem Symptom Process Aid / Enzyme Description Key Benefits

Deactivation or Starch positive wort and Bioferm is a fungal endo-amylase. It can be used in Improves wort fermentability
insufficient concentration slow fermentation the mash (or in fermentation) to reduce starch to low Production of maltose in
of malt amylase molecular weight dextrins and maltose. high adjunct brewing
Eliminates starch hazes
Improves beer filtration

Deactivation or insufficient Slow or incomplete Amylo is a fungal amyloglucosidase. It sequentially Increases wort glucose levels
concentration of fermentation hydrolyses both exo α-1,4 and α-1,6 glycosidic Low carbohydrate beer
malt enzymes linkages and therefore is used to degradestarch production
polymers and maltose to glucose. The addition of Improved Alcohol yield
Amylo in the brew-house, to the cold wort or beer
(in the fermenter) converts dextrin to glucose and
results in high alcohol / ‘low carb.’ beer.

Poor starch hydrolysis/ High mash or cereal Hitempase is an endo-acting liquefaction bacterial Improves starch liquefaction
cooker viscosities and α-amylase which randomly hydrolyses the α-1,4 and subsequent yields in
starch positive wort glycosidic linkages in amylose and amylopectin cereal cooker
resulting in the production of dextrins. It is Control of starch positive worts
characterised by its stability at extremely high in kettle
temperatures (~105°C).

Non-starch Poor mash or beer Bioglucanase is an endo-betaglucanase preparation Reduces mash and wort viscosity
polysaccharides filtration and β-glucan and has a pure lichenase activity and hydrolyses Eliminates β-glucan gums and
released during mashing haze 1,4 glycosidic linkages next to a 1,3 linkage, in mixed hazes
are insufficiently linked β-glucans. Improves filtration
hydrolysed. Biocellulase contains cellulase, hemicellulase and Increases extract yield
betaglucanase activities. The activities present in Compensates for malt quality and
Biocellulase are effective in the degradation of the season to season variations
complex carbohydrates found in plant cell walls. Improves beer shelf life

Presence of a significant Insufficient nitrogen Bioprotease is a proteolytic enzyme. Optimises FAAN (Free Alpha
percentage of unmalted available for yeast Amino Nitrogen) levels in high
barley or use of other growth and slow adjunct brewing
adjuncts fermentation Improves mash lautering/
filtration and extract yield
Improves filterability of the wort

Poor extract yield or Presence of starch and Promalt is an enzyme cocktail providing amylase, A single addition of amylase,
ineffective wort β-glucan residues in the glucanase, cellulase and protease activities. glucanase, cellulase and
filtration in high final product protease
adjunct brewing Improves extract yield and
Gives consistent brewhouse
Improves wort stability/clarity

The BREWER & DISTILLER INTERNATIONAL • Volume 4 • Issue 3 • March 2008 •

Figure 2. Figure 3.

surface of the yeast, vessel walls and filter Yeastex products address these problems by increasing their rate of sedimentation. The
media. supplying combinations of essential amino action of the finings in the sedimentation of
While the primary reason for incorporating acids, peptides, vitamins and co-factors. yeast is shown schematically in Figure 4.
FermCap into the process may be to increase Specific formulations are available for optimal Some of the benefits that the brewer might
fermentation capacity, there are also very end application in high adjunct brews and will expect to see as a result of using such finings
important additional benefits incurred as a be formulated depending on the final wort are related to beer filtration, quality (haze etc)
result of controlling foam formation during composition. and the associated cost benefits such as
fermentation as its use improves hop alpha increased filter run lengths and decreased
acid utilisation. In today’s brewing climate Diacetyl Control costs of filter aid materials.
where hop supplies are challenging and hop Diacetyl levels during fermentation can be
prices have gone through the roof, this controlled by the application of an Improving Final Beer Quality
represents a very interesting benefit for the acetolactate decarboxylase (ALDC). Kerry’s
brewer. Hop utilisation increases between 4- Biomatex products act to convert the diacetyl Protein Stabilisation
11% have been achieved. Likewise, a natural precursor acetolactate directly to acetoin Chill haze formation in beer as a result of
initial concern by brewers is that a foam (Figure 3). Acetoin has a much higher flavour protein precipitation or a combination of
control agent could have a negative effect on threshold than diacetyl. The benefits of this for protein and polyphenols may be controlled by
final beer foam stability. In fact it is the the brewer are a reduction in the time the addition of Profix to the beer prior to
opposite. Foam control during fermentation dependent high temperature stand usually pasteurisation. Profix is a proteolytic enzyme
increases the foam stability of the final beer. employed to reduce diacetyl in the normal (papain) extracted from the fruit of the papaya
Why? – Because foam positive (hydrophobic) fashion. Again, it is an enzymatic method of tree. Its application can be used to prevent
proteins that would otherwise have been increasing fermentation capacity, while also colloidal instability problems imparted by
denatured during fermentation remain in the giving the brewer an alternative way of protein and therefore extend the shelflife of
fermenting wort – and pass through to the final controlling final beer diacetyl levels. beer. It works by hydrolysing protein that
beer. Likewise the hop acids are retained in would otherwise have formed complexes with
the beer in a similar manner and thus Accelerating Yeast Removal polyphenolic materials resulting in chill haze
contribute positively to both foam stability and Once fermentation has ceased it is important and eventually permanent haze.
increased hop utilisation. The summary of to remove as much yeast as possible prior to
benefits of applying a foam control agent filtration as this will significantly reduce the Oxidative Stabilisation
during brewing are outlined in Table 2. solids loading on the filter and therefore Oxidation during packaging causes
prolong filter run times. Yeast sedimentation deterioration of beer quality, haze and flavour
Yeast Nutrition and subsequent removal can be significantly stability. Oxygen both dissolved in the beer
When brewing with high levels of adjuncts, the improved by addition of Biofine to the and also in the package headspace is
supply of adequate levels of vitamins, fermenter. Biofine is a purified form of collagen incorporated into compounds in the beer,
essential salts, amino acids and peptides for isolated from the swim bladder of tropical fish. especially polyphenols, carbonyl compounds
optimal fermentation efficiency can be limiting. This isinglass molecule is a triple helix of and isohumulones during storage. Oxidative
This can result in slow or incomplete amino acids, with an overall net positive staling of beer occurs by a free radical
fermentation and flavour deficiencies in the charge at beer pH. It forms large aggregates process. During storage, even trace amounts
final product. The Kerry Bio-Science range of with the negatively charged yeast cells thereby of metals such as iron or copper will catalyse
the conversion of molecular oxygen to what
Table 2. Major benefits of foam control during brewing operations are known as ‘reactive oxygen species’ (ROS).
One such ROS is the hydroxl free radical that
rapidly oxidizes components of the beer to
Benefit Details
free radicals. Beer-derived free radicals react
Increased fermentation capacity Typically 7–15% further to perpetuate a chain reaction that
Increased utilisation of hop acids Range 4–11% results in carbonyl end products such as
Improved foam stability 5-10% increase in Nibem (30mm) in pilot and production aldehydes and ketones. It is these carbonyl
trials compounds that give rise to the ‘cardboard-
Increased CO2 recovery The desired CO2 purity is reached earlier in the like’ flavour of stale beer. Antioxidants such as
fermentations using FermCap Biox in beer help them resist free radical
Reduced cleaning costs Due to absent or reduced yeast foam head ring in oxidation, by acting to scavenge oxygen
fermenter. directly in the beer and also in the package
headspace. Although oxidation is inevitable

The BREWER & DISTILLER INTERNATIONAL • Volume 4 • Issue 3 • March 2008 •

What of the future?

It can be argued that the brewing process is a
natural biological one and its efficiency relies
mainly on the quality of its raw materials.
Ways of directly improving the raw material
issues can only be controlled outside of the
brewery environment and start literally at
grassroots, growing the cereal and hop crops.
Outside of this, within the brewery
environment the only way of controlling the
efficiency of the process and the quality of the
final product is by development of new
Figure 4. Role of Biofine in yeast sedimentation. equipment technologies and the application of
processing aids and ingredients. In essence,
over time, it can be minimised by optimising the PGA polymer consists a hydrophobic head optimal application of processing aids can
brewery operations, storage conditions and and hydrophilic tail. The hydrophobic head give the brewer the freedom to retain and
also by the incorporation of Biox to provide resides in the exterior surfaces bubble wall improve their processes, irrespective of
maximum antioxidant content in the packaged whereas the hydrophilic tail orients itself into starting raw material qualities. ■
beer. the aqueous phase. This surface-active
orientation of the molecule along with other ● Reference:
Foam Quality ‘foam positive material, (protein, hops and 1. Goode D L and Arendt E K (2006), Developments
The quality, amount and stability of foam on oligosaccharides) not only promotes foam in the supply of adjunct materials for brewing, in
Bamforth C W, Brewing – new technologies,
beer when dispensed from either small pack production but stabilises the foam against
Woodhead Publishing Limited, Cambridge,
or large pack is a very important characteristic collapse by foam negative materials. England, 30-67.
of the product. In normal dispense Biofoam W is particularly suited to treat
environments there are numerous external beers of low protein such as high adjunct
factors as well as some internal factors (such brews where it utilises the synergistic effect of
as malt and hop derived lipids), which may foam positive proteins and foam stabilising
adversely affect beer foam stability. Kerry Bio- PGA to stabilise beer foam. A recent addition
Science has a number of products which to the range - Biofoam CL is a combination of
tackle the issues of foam quality in beer. cereal protein and yeast derived proteins; this
Biofoam K is a form of propylene glycol has both a foam generation effect and a foam
alginate (PGA) derived from brown marine stabilisation effect when applied to beer.
algae (Phaeophycaeae) developed and Uniquely it is a label friendly beer ingredient
manufactured exclusively for use as a beer since it is of cereal and yeast protein origin all Authors Declan Goode (left) and Eoin
foam stabiliser. Due to its chemical structure of which are native to beer. Lalor at Brau 2007.


● David Barrie Priestley (1941–2008)

David Priestley joined Allied Breweries in 1965 The Allied training scheme certainly gave a
from Bangor University as part of the graduate thorough grounding in brewing!
training scheme, firstly at the Tetley plant in In 1984 he was appointed Director of the
Leeds and then at Tetley Walker in Warrington. Wrexham Brewery. Here David was able to put
During his time at Warrington he was sent to into practice, his management beliefs which he
Heriot Watt to study for his Postgraduate had developed over the years. He felt that, if you
Diploma in Malting and Brewing. looked after your team, they would look after
After a spell at Burton in the Allied Head Office, you. He increased the extent of training available
in 1973 he moved to Romford as Packaging and involved them in social activities both after
Manager, overseeing the redevelopment of the work and in the community.
bottling lines and the installation of a new can Further re-organisation meant a move back to
line as well as maintaining and improving the Burton, although he continued to live in
bottling output. He became Head Brewer at a Wrexham. He became responsible for trying to
time when Allied were re- regionalising its cask extend Allied’s influence in Eastern Europe and
beers, so he had to produce Romford, Benskins, Russia. He saw some interesting ways of
Friary and Meux brands in a plant designed to operating breweries. In one, the concrete
brew Ind Coope Bitter and lagers. fermenters had pitted floors retaining infected
Once at a dinner in the Grosvenor Hotel, David and mouldy beer. Here the problem was not the
was enjoying a pre-dinner drink with a number of potential source of infection, but that the plant
other Head Brewers from around the country. He management did not see it as a potential
suddenly realised that, although they had all problem!
started with Allied Breweries, he was the only This interesting role came to an end when
one of the ten who was still employed by them. Allied subsumed their brewing interests into

The BREWER & DISTILLER INTERNATIONAL • Volume 4 • Issue 3 • March 2008 •