Danisco targets arid climes with new sorghum brewing enzymes

By Ben Bouckley

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Beer Brewing Danisco

Danisco targets arid climes with new sorghum brewing enzymes
Danisco says its new brewing enzyme range are ideally sorted for use in arid climates such as Africa where sorghum is grown, as an alternative to ‘expensive malt’.

The company’s Alphalase Sorghum brewing enzymes enable partial or complete substitution of malt with sorghum (the world’s fifth-most grown cereal), the Danish company said.

“The low natural enzyme content of sorghum is boosted significantly by our innovative enzymes, facilitating production of clear lager beer with a pre-defined gravity.”

Advantages of the enzymes included the removal of the need to pre-cook cereal to release starch, Danisco added, with the range “the easy way to high-yield, high-clarity sorghum beer”​.

The Alphalase range enabled fast starch liquefaction – even at a low water-to-grist ratio – the company said, thus reducing energy use and water consumption.

Shorter processing times

Fast starch liquefaction meant that brewers could look forward to consistent processing times, thus optimising their production capacity, Danisco said.

Asked how much faster starch liquefaction was compared with malt, Ulf Brøchner Sørensen, global product manager, brewing and distilling enzymes at Danisco, told BeverageDaily.com:

This really depends on the sorghum variety and process at the brewery. The starch gelatinisation temperature for sorghum is higher than for barley malt, typically 69-75°C compared to 60-62°C. The mashing time is typically around 75 minutes.”

Due to low irrigation needs, Danisco said sorghum was well-suited to cultivation in arid climates and an ideal raw material for local brewing. Discussing target markets for the products, Sørensen said:

“We target markets where sorghum is grown. Sorghum is drought-tolerant and is an ideal, locally grown raw material for beer production in arid climates, such as Africa. Low irrigation needs and ready availability minimise the environmental burden. Further, sorghum is not malted (like barley).”

Cost savings vs. malt?

Sorghum-based brewing both supported local agricultural production, and reduced the financial and environmental burden of malt transportation, the company said.

Precise figures or percentages regarding cost savings (versus malt beer) were more for individual breweries to answer, Sørensen said. But he added: “It depends on local conditions, but as an example: In Uganda a sorghum beer is marketed at a price around only 60% of a traditional beer.”

Danisco said that “high yield, high clarity” sorghum beer would result from Alphalase enzyme use, and asked about finished product taste profiles, Sørensen said:

“We have no direct sensory analysis of a sorghum beer compared to a traditional lager (but I guess the breweries might have these). However, by now, many of the producers of sorghum clear beer have products with a taste ‘as good as any traditional lager’."

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