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Gluten Free Home Brewing Blog

Diastatic Power & Enzymes in Gluten Free Malt

By GFHB  -  June 25th, 2018

Diastatic Power, sometimes abbreviated as DP, is a measurement of the enzymatic content of malted grain. When grains are malted by malsters, that is how they prefer to be called, enzymes are produced during germination. Those enzymes are vital during the mash process to convert the grain’s starches into fermentable sugar. Without enzymes, there would be no sugar for the yeast to consume during the fermentation process. Diastatic power is the measurement in degrees Lintner of the amount of enzymes available to convert starches into sugar.

Gluten free malts, unlike conventional malts, have comparatively lower amounts of DP. Although malt analysis has not been completed of every variety of gluten free malt, those that have had a malt analysis show that gluten free malts have a DP in the lower 20’s to upper 30’s, with most results in the 20’s. Conventional malt on the other hand have a DP of up to almost 200! Why is this important? Because a grain bill needs an average DP of 70 Litner or more for proper conversion during the mash process. Of course, the recommended amount of DP varies depending on which book or website you are reading, which is evident by the recommended range from 50 to 100 Litner. Obviously, you cannot go wrong with having too much DP!

So what is the gluten free home brewer to do? The short answer is you add additional enzymes to the mash to make up for the deficient in the DP of gluten free malts. It might seem like we are going to be pushing the enzymes that we sell on our website in this next section, but if you have been following GFHB for the last eight years, you will know that some of the enzymes we sell cannot be found anywhere else. That is because until recently, only breweries had access to the best available enzymes for mashing gluten free malts. We currently recommend using Termamyl or SEBAmyl BAL 100 in conjunction with SEBAmyl L.

SEBAmyl BAL 100 works by randomly breaking down starches into small and large dextrins by hydrolyzing the alpha-1,4-glucosidic bonds in starch. SEBAmyl L will then turn all the larger dextrins (3,4,5 chain sugars) into small sugars that the yeast can consume and create alcohol. A recommended pH of 5.6 – 6.5 is recommended for SEBAmyl BAL 100; and adjusting pH to <5 for SEBAmyl L when possible. It is also recommended to complete an iodine test to confirm complete conversion.

Our recommended dosage of enzymes is a work in progress, and there are several variables to take into consideration. The grain bill size and water to grain ratio of the mash both influence the amount of enzymes required for conversion of starch into fermentable sugar. While we have recommended ratio of 1 quart water to 1 pound grain for many years, it was only recently that we ascertained the absorption rate of gluten free malts. Those results may be found in our blog Assessment of Water Absorption Across Various Gluten-Free Grains. We still recommend a thicker mash as our experience has been thin mash conditions dilute the enzymes rendering them less effective. This is greatly illustrated in our BIAB blog BIABing with Anthony from Texas.

In short, we currently recommend 15-25 ml of Termamyl or SEBAmyl BAL 100 and 15-25 ml of SEBAmyl L in a typical 5 gallon recipe that uses +/- 15-18 LBS of malt. That converts to about 1-1.5 ml per pound of grain (except when brewing using the BIAB method which we recommend at least doubling that). We ourselves tend to error on using the upper range as to avoid poor conversion. While we do realize the use of enzymes adds additional cost to brewing gluten free beer, the few ml of enzymes is considerably more cost effective than a larger grain bill to achieve the same potential gravity. We have been told by members of the gluten free homebrew club Zero Tolerance of Portland Oregon they regularly enjoy conversion in the 80% using these enzymes.

As always, we will continue to share with you what we have learned about brewing gluten free beer. Please feel free to share your experiences with us and fellow GFHBers. We currently have several guest bloggers and recipe developers, and are always on the look out for someone willing to take the time out of their busy lives to share what they have learned.

SEBAmyl BAL 100 Product Data:

SEBAmyl BAL 100 is a bacterial alpha-amylase enzyme. SEBAmyl BAL 100 is an endo-amylase that randomly hydrolyzes alpha-1,4-glucosidic bonds in starch. The prolonged action of SEBAmyl BAL 100 reduces the viscosity of gelatinized starch and produces large amounts of dextrins.

SEBAmyl BAL 100 is used in beverage alcohol and starch industry to liquefy and dextrinize gelatinized starch in the production of low-dextrose equivalent (DE 5 – 20) starch products, especially to soluble dextrins, maltose and glucose. It is used for moderately high-temperature (70 – 80 0C) liquefaction of grain mashes. SEBAmyl BAL 100 also helps to rid of starch retrogradation.

The optimum dosage of SEBAmyl BAL 100 depends on: nature and dry solids (DS) % of the substrate to be liquefied; liquefaction temperature and pH; liquefaction time (typically 30 – 120 minutes); concentration of starch and Ca2+ ions in solution; Recommended dose: 300 – 900mL/metric ton starch DS or whole grain.

SEBAmyl BAL 100 should be stored in a cool, dry place. Storage in unopened containers, at or below 5°C, helps to maintain maximum activity if stored over long periods.

SEBAmyl L Product Data:

SEBAmyl L a fungal endo-alpha-amylase, hydrolyzes 1,4-alpha-glucosidic bonds in starch. The prolonged action of SEBAmyl L produces large amounts of maltose and glucose. This is the preferred enzyme for performing liquefaction/saccharification at low temperatures and low pHs.

In the alcohol industry, SEBAmyl L can be used along with SEBamyl GL to produce mashes containing high fermentable sugars such as maltose and glucose from liquefied starch. SEBAmyl L is commonly used to mimic the sugar profile created by malted barley beta-amylase action in a standard mash. SEBAmyl L will leave unfermentable dextrins in solution that will add body and character to the final beer or mash. This enzyme has been found useful in the making of gluten free beer from gluten free grain and malt.

The optimum dosage of SEBAmyl L depends on: Nature of the substrate to be saccharified; Final syrup DE, %maltose and maltose: glucose ratio required; Saccharification temperature, pH, time of contact; Liquefaction: recommended dose is 100 – 300 mL / ton of starch on DS basis; Saccharification: recommended dose is 250 – 500 mL/ton of starch on DS basis.

SEBAmyl L should be stored in a cool, dry place. Storage in unopened containers, at or below 5°C, helps to maintain maximum activity if stored over long periods.


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