In the last years quality issues like flavour control, beer stability and general cost savings in the industry go hand in hand with efficient solutions of environmental problems. Future aspects focus on a wider application of enzymes to brew with high amounts of inexpensive raw materials like barley. Alternative beer processes for production of wort and beer with higher productivity and reduced amounts of waste and by-products are under development.
Beer and wine are both alcoholic beverages which have been part of our social life for thousands of years. Both beverages are produced by yeast fermentation of sugars. Wine is based on grapes, and beer is traditionally based on barley. The matured grapes already contain the sugars needed for the fermentation, while barley contain starch that has to be broken down to fermentable sugars before the yeast can make alcohol. Therefore, traditional brewing contains and extra step compared with wine-making, namely malting in which enzymes needed for the degradation of starch into fermentable sugars are produced.
Malt is germinated barley or other cereals like wheat and sorghum: First the grains are "steeped" bringing the water content from about 12% to 45%, then they are allowed to germinate for 4-6 days and finally the germination is stopped by heating (kilning) reaching a final moisture content of about 4%. Some enzymes are already present in the barley, e.g. β-amylases, but the majority of enzymes are produced during the germination, e.g. α-amylases and proteases, and in the final malt all the enzymes needed for the conversion of "grains" into a fermentable liquid