How Much Amylase Enzyme to Use

How Much Amylase Enzyme to Use

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If your mash contains several adjuncts, there are not enough natural enzymes in the brew. However, you can add an amylase enzyme to boost enzymes in the brew. This article will explore the world of brewing and determine how much amylase enzyme to use.

How Much Amylase Enzyme to Use?

The best amount of amylase enzyme to use in your homebrew is one teaspoon for a 5-gallon batch. This amount is just enough to clear the beer. Amylase enzymes are proteins that play an essential role in catalyzing the process in which the starch in the mash gets converted into sugars.

Mashing in a Stainless Kettle

Typically, brewers use amylase for breaking down the malt into sugars and maltose. This way, you get more alcohol since the yeast has plenty of food for eating.

What Is the Amylase Enzyme?

Amylase refers to a hydrolytic enzyme that converts starch to sugars and dextrins. It contains enzymes for degrading starch, such as:

  • Alpha-amylase
  • Beta-amylase
  • Amyloglucosidase or glucoamylase
  • Pullulanase
  • Maltogenic amylase

Amylase is naturally available in both animals and plants. Besides, it can be produced through commercial fermentation. The two most common types of amylase enzymes are alpha and beta.

Alpha-Amylase Enzyme

Alpha-amylase breaks down insoluble, large, and complex starch molecules into small and soluble molecules. It converts starch to soluble sugars between the temperature range of 145 and 158 degrees Fahrenheit.

It is stable in hot and watery mashes, and it requires calcium as a cofactor. In this case, calcium acts as a helping molecule to assist the alpha-amylase enzyme in carrying out its role as a catalyst.

Beta Amylase Enzyme

Beta amylase enzyme degrades starch to create fermentable sugars in large amounts. It further breaks down the soluble sugars systematically to produce maltose. Unlike alpha-amylase, beta-amylase is active between 131 and 149 degrees Fahrenheit. Eventually, the process later declines with the temperature increasing after reaching its peak.

However, the rate at which this process declines depends on the amount of amylase enzyme used. Beta amylase operates faster while denatured as the mash temperature approaches 149 degrees Fahrenheit.

Practically, manipulating the beta-amylase activity can be used to control the wort fermentability. Suppose you allow the mash to be still at a temperature favoring the beta amylase’s action. In that case, sugars will be extracted from the malt to produce maltose in more significant proportions. This will improve the wort’s fermentability.

Image of mashing in a stainless kettle

When Should I Add Amylase Enzymes to the Wort?

The mash temperature is of great importance to the effectiveness of the amylase enzyme. For instance, low mash temperatures will result in a more fermented wort with fewer yields. On the other hand, high mash temperature results in less fermentability and increased yield efficiency.

Some brewers prefer adding amylase in less than thirty minutes after adding the strike water. Increasing the temperature after adding the amylase is wrong since amylase works well between 65 and 68 degrees celsius. Adding more temperature than this will destroy the enzyme.

Both amylase enzymes work outside their optimum temperatures; thus, they can convert all the starches to fermentable if given enough time. If the mash is a bit cooler, more fermentable sugars are available, thus resulting in a high alcohol content brew. On the other hand, a hotter mash temperature will result in more unfermentable sugars reaching the fermentation process.

Why Must I Add Amylase Enzymes to My Beer?

Amylase enzymes are essential in enhancing the fermentation and brewing process at large. They not only improve the fermentation process speed as well as the overall taste of the brew. Despite altering the whole chemical process, they remain unchanged even towards the end.

The various amylase enzymes act on different substrates though they vary in frequency. The functionality of these enzymes is affected by factors such as temperature, moisture, pH, and oxygen. An increment in the temperature affects the reaction rate, which varies depending on the nature of the enzyme.

Moreover, calcium is added to the amylase enzyme to enhance the stabilization process of the alpha-amylase enzyme. It is added at an average temperature to avoid messing up with the mashing temperature.

Are There Cautions to Take When Using Amylase Enzymes?

The optimum performance of the amylase enzymes largely depends on some guidelines. The first one is temperature. Both amylase enzymes function at specific temperatures at different ranges. These temperatures overlap during the brewing process, while other times, they do not. Thus, it is always important to measure the mash temperature in each step.

The next one is the mash pH. The enzymes have different pH optimal ranges in which they operate; just like in temperature, you need to have working pH meters for monitoring the mash pH during the process.

Photo of beer and ingredients

Is There an Alternative for Amylase Enzymes?

Sometimes, you may lack a readily available source of amylase enzymes when brewing. In this case, raw honey can come in handy as it contains natural amylases. Besides, you can also use the pawpaw fruit to replace the amylase enzyme.

What Is the Main Difference Between Alpha and Beta-Amylase Enzymes?

Both alpha and beta-amylase enzymes break starch into smaller molecules. However, alpha-amylase requires calcium to be active and produce maltose, glucose, and maltotriose. On the other hand, Beta amylase does not need any calcium to be active. Besides, it breaks amylose or soluble starch to produce maltose only.

Can Amylase Work Better at High Temperatures?

Amylase quickly breaks down starch to soluble sugars at optimum temperatures. Low temperatures reduce the kinetic energy of the mash, thus forcing the amylase to break down the starch at a slower rate. High temperatures increase this kinetic energy, thus the amylase will slowly break no or little starch because of denaturation.

Conclusion

We have discussed the amylase enzyme and how much to use. A teaspoon of the amylase enzyme is enough for clearing a 5-gallon batch. The information will assist any typical home brewer in manipulating the enzyme activity, thus controlling the wort fermentability.