Dispatches from DrinkTec

New enzyme enables 100 per cent barley beer

By Guy Montague-Jones in Munich

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Carbon dioxide Beer

Novozymes is claiming an industry first with its new brewing enzyme capable of working without malt and with barley as the only raw material.

Enzymes are currently marketed as a useful tool to help brewers reduce costs and carbon emissions alike. They do so by increasing raw material choices, so brewers can reduce the amount of malt they use and replace it with barley.

Where Ondea Pro differs from existing enzyme options is that it can be used to create a 100 per cent barley beer, without any malt.

Novozymes spokesperson Debbie Spillane told FoodNavigator.com at Drinktec in Munich that enzymes normally help reduce malt content, but were previously unable to eliminate it. To create a quality beer, brewers would need to use at least 40 per cent malt.

But Denmark-based Novozymes now claims to have developed an enzyme that can create a beer using barley alone which gives a comparable performance to beers made just from well modified malts.

Flexibility and cost

Launched at Drinktec this week, Ondeo Pro is marketed as a tool to offer brewers even more freedom and flexibility than existing options. Allowing brewers to switch completely from malt to barley also helps cut costs by reducing the amount of raw material needed.

“In our newest offering, Ondea Pro, we see a 7 per cent saving in the amount of barley required to produce a hectolitre of beer from 100 per cent barley versus 100 per cent malt,”​ said Patrick Patterson, Novozymes’ marketing director for beverages.

Sustainability benefits

Reducing malt content to zero also has significant environmental benefits because it cuts out the carbon footprint left behind by malt production. Novozymes claims Ondea Pro reduces carbon dioxide emissions by up to 3kg per hectolitre.

“In brewing, the Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) documents savings of 160-170 kg of CO2 reductions per ton of malt replaced with 100 per cent barley,”​ added Patterson. This translates to an 8 per cent reduction in emissions from the time of barley planting to the production of the finished beer.

On top of the drop in emissions created by cutting malt production out of the brewing equation, Ondea Pro can help brewers reduce their CO2 footprint further by stopping imports of malt. In its place they can source local barley and therefore support local farming communities.

It was the environmental credentials of Ondea Pro that attracted Danish brewer Harboe, which has become the first company to use the enzyme. Harboe launched its Clim8 beer alongside the enzyme at the Drinktec trade show in Munich this week.

Taste test

Both companies claim that the resulting barley beer passes the taste test. Novozyme said professional taste panels in Weihenstephan and Leuvan rated barley beer as a regular pilsner and noted no discernable faults or off-flavour. Consumers surveyed in Denmark and Germany tasted the beer alongside malt beer and expressed a strong interest and openness, according Novozymes.

“With our consumer studies showing an equal taste preference for a 100 per cent barley beer as a standard commercial lager in blind tasting, Ondea Pro truly overcomes one of the industries greatest challenges,”​ concluded Patterson.

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