Starch Conversion in Mashing: The Balance between Fermentable and Non-Fermentable Sugars

Craft Brewers Conference 2022
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Speakers: Glen Fox

This seminar covers the area of brewing that is not routinely discussed. Starch conversion is one of the primary aims in mashing. The delicate relationship between starch, starch degrading enzymes, and the fermentable sugar profile is often assumed based on the diastatic power (DP) and alpha-amylase values on the malt certificate of analysis (CoA). But variation in starch structure, protein content, and the endosperm starch/protein matrix impact the rate and temperature at which starch gelatinizes. These factors, along with the amount of specialty malt and mashing conditions, will influence the final fermentable sugar profile and, as a consequence, fermentation efficiency. Further, the remaining non-fermentable oligosaccharides remain through to the final beer. When dry hopping, these non-fermentables can suddenly become important, as these are now a substrate for the starch-degrading enzymes from some hops where more fermentable sugars are produced. Hence, hop creep. What possible steps can we take to get a better understanding of this complex system?

Learning Objectives:

  • Learn how variation in starch structure can impact gelatinization properties
  • Discuss ways starch and protein interaction can influence gelatinization properties
  • Explore how higher gelatinization temperatures can reduce the amount and portion of fermentable sugars
  • Get to know why lower fermentable sugars can mean a higher risk of hop creep when dry hopping
  • Understand how malt starch gelatinization can improve mashing and fermentation efficiency

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