Enzymes have proved to be useful for the brewing industry in many areas of beer production. They can be added to the beer after its fermentation to induce faster maturation. Enzymes also work as filtration improvers, reducing the presence of viscous polysaccharides such as xylans and glucans. Enzymes are often used to remove carbohydrates in the production of light beer and to induce chill proofing.
Beer brewing involves the production of alcohol by allowing yeast to act on plant materials such as barley, maize, sorghum, hops and rice. Yeast converts simple sugars into alcohol and carbon dioxide. However, the sugars found in the plant materials are most often complex polysaccharides that yeast is unable to convert. The traditional method for breaking down these complex polysaccharides is called malting. This is the process whereby barley, for example, is allowed to partially germinate, producing enzymes that break down the complex polysaccharides into simple sugars that the yeast can utilize. However, the process of malting can be expensive and often difficult to control. By adding enzymes to unmalted barley the complex polysaccharides can be broken down to simple sugars and reduce or eliminate the costly and complicated process of malting.
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