COVID-19 Update: Bale Breaker Brewing Company’s taproom is temporarily closed to the public, but we are running weekly 12-5pm Saturday Drive-Thrus. Visit our blog for this week’s menu.
By Jacqueline Beard, Quality / Sensory Manager
You might not spend much time thinking about enzymes, but you would literally die without them. Or, in the case of craft beer, you’d be drunk all day without them.
What makes the reactions in your cells happen fast enough to keep you alive? And what helps alcohol and its toxic byproduct acetaldehyde break down into harmless byproducts?
That’s right, folks: enzymes. Enzymes are elaborately folded (mostly) protein molecules that facilitate, or catalyze, biological reactions.
Unlike winemakers and cidermakers, who have the easy job of squeezing their sugary juice into a fermentation vessel and throwing in yeast (I know, it’s not quite that simple; we just like to throw shade), brewers have to make our own sugar for the yeast to eat from the starches in barley and other cereal grain seeds.
We (or our maltsters, actually) do that by using the seed’s own machinery for feeding the growing seedling. During the malting process, the growing seedling makes enzymes; then, we grind up the grain and add it to water at the perfect temperature for the enzymes to work efficiently. And voila! We get sugary malt water (or wort), which the yeast ferment to make alcohol.
This is just one example of the applications of enzymes in brewing, and us nerds over at Bale Breaker have been spending a lot of time this winter honing our use of enzymes. Here are some examples of trials we’ve been up to:
Hope you enjoyed that trip down Nerd Lane. Until next time, brewery nerds-in-training!
Want to nerd out more about beer and hone your tasting skills? Join Quality / Production Manager Brian Logan at our next in-person Hoppy YumYum 101 tasting about barrel-aged beers on March 4. Get tickets here.
Posted February 28, 2020