C*Dex, a white crystalline product made through an enzymatic hydrolysis of maize starch and subsequent refining and crystallisation/drying process, is a dextrose monohydrate used as a priming sugar for the brewing of speciality bottled beers.
An existing product already present in a range of food and beverage applications, the firm carried out a batch of studies on C*Dex over the past two years at its application centre in Vilvoorde, near Brussels, to investigate its formulation in premium beers.
"We have defined the right yeast, the right fermentation, and the optimising conditions for C*Dex use in speciality bottled beers," Mark Waspijn, marketing director at Cerestar Food & Pharma Specialties Europe told FoodNavigator.
A recent report from drinks industry analysts Canadean shows that while total beer consumption in Europe rose by less than 3 per cent last year, both the premium and super-premium segments grew more than 10 per cent, despite an overall downturn in consumer spending.
The report shows that across Europe as a whole, more than half of beer volumes are now accounted for by mainstream brands, while one third is taken up by premium and super-premium products and one sixth by discount beers.
"The ingredient is for a sophisticated top quality beer, that has undergone secondary or third fermentation," said Waspijn.
When dextrose is added to beer after the primary fermentation, it provides a substrate for a secondary fermentation, helping to produce a beer with a 'unique flavour profile or sweetness characteristic.'
Bottle conditioning involves a short period of conditioning the beer in bulk tanks to improve the stability and flavour before bottling take place. At this stage C*Dex can be added to the process 'helping to develop the character and flavour to the end product'.
During the fermentation stage, wort, as a result of the metabolic activity of the yeast, is converted into ethanol, carbon dioxide and a range of other fermentation by-products with the aim of finally producing beer. Fermentation dynamics can be influenced by the carbohydrate composition of the wort in relation to the selected yeast strains.
The use of dextrose and other priming sugars in brewing is common practice in many countries, a tool that allows the modification of the original wort carbohydrate composition.
Cerestar, now part of US agri-giant Cargill, will target small and medium-sized brewers with this crystallised product, according to Waspijn the 'big guys' - such as Interbrew and Heineken - opt for liquid equivalents.
A key selling tool for C*Dex compared to competitor's products, says the marketing director, is the fact that it is backed by Cerestar. "We have a huge experience in this sector, and when a customer wants to develop a new product, we can give them our extensive know-how."
Sold at a price 5 to 10 per cent lower than that of sugar, price is also a consideration for brewers, although according to Waspijn "price is not the only driver, you should really look to the quality."