Brewing Brut IPA with the IFF Enzyme Toolbox

Brut IPA has taken reduced dextrin beers from light to luxurious, from diet to delicious. This newcomer looks set to become a classic. Dry, hoppy, effervescent and so easy to enjoy.

There’s a new beer in town. Pale gold, effervescent, and oh so dry. Brut IPA has marched straight onto the craft brewing scene and is demanding your attention. This surprising IPA incarnation is the brain child of master brewer Kim Sturdavant from Social Kitchen and Brewing in San Francisco. Sturdavant experimented with using a glucoamylase – an enzyme usually used when brewing light pilsner and lager beer styles – on a standard IPA. The result was a lighter, drier beer - the Hop Champagne Extra Brut IPA was born. Since its invention in late 2017, Brut IPA beers - Brut for the dryness reminiscent of fine champagne - have surged in popularity across the craft brewing world.

A highly attenuated, low sugar beer isn’t a new thing of course. In fact, light or “diet” beers have been around for over 50 years. In the 1960’s the world’s first light beer “Gablinger’s diet beer” was created for the Rheingold Brewery by Joseph Owades. Owades worked to produce a low-calorie beer for weight conscious customers. To reduce calories, he used enzymes to breakdown more of the residual starch found in beer. Basically, long, unfermentable dextrin chains were chopped into smaller units which could be easily fermented into alcohol and carbon dioxide. Diet beer was here. Gablinger’s diet beer itself wasn’t a success (possibly due to an unappealing marketing campaign featuring a sumo wrestler) however the seeds had been planted and other diet and light lager beers continue to sell today.

Now the Brut IPA has taken reduced dextrin beers from light to luxurious, from diet to delicious. This newcomer looks set to become a classic. Dry, hoppy, effervescent. It’s so easy to enjoy. There is only one question. Just how do you brew it?

The Brut IPA is drier and lower in calories than prototype IPAs with the same alcohol level. If you want to brew the ultimate Brut IPA, you’ll need to first select just the right yeast strain and choose the perfect mixture of grist with or without adjuncts. After that there are 3 important points to keep in mind.

  1. To get a drier beer, you’ll need a higher proportion of glucose or maltose in the wort. To create this, you’re going to need help from some handy enzymes known as exogenous alpha-amylases & glucoamylases. These enzymes efficiently liquify the starch in the grist, making it easier to break down into the fermentable sugars you need. Different raw materials contain widely varying natural levels of alpha-amylases, and with some grain combinations you’ll need to add extra. Our AMYLEX® and DIAZYME® ranges of enzymes can help you here. To produce the ultimate dry beer, you need to use a longer saccharification regime, allowing for maximum conversion of starch into simple sugars. Adding exogenous glucoamylases at this stage allows you to truly get the most out of your grist. The more you add, the faster the process.
  2. Another important factor is the target for Real Degree of Fermentation (RDF). Also known as attenuation, this refers to the level of sugar in the wort which has been fermented into alcohol. The higher the level of RDF, the drier the beer. Even when using 100% malted barley, you will need extra enzymatic help to increase the RDF. The natural enzyme in malted barley is deactivated when mashing at high temperatures. Because of this, regular beers typically have a maximum fermentability of less than 70% RDF. A lower RDF means the final beer will contain more starch as the longer dextrin chains won’t be broken down. This gives regular IPAs more body and mouthfeel, as well as a potentially sweeter taste. If you want to brew a truly dry beer, we recommend you aim for at least 79% RDF.
  3. The IFF DIAZYME® range of enzymes make it easy for you to convert more starch into glucose and/or maltose setting you on the path to a deliciously Brut IPA.

Brewing the Ultimate Brut IPA

An alternative way to produce a light beer is by adding the glucoamylase enzyme during fermentation. If you go down this path it’s important not to get these beers mixed with regular beers as this enzyme is still active. To avoid damaging normal non-dry beers, the enzyme will need to be inactivated using flash pasteurisation. Talk to us to understand which method of light beer brewing is right for you.

Do you aspire to brew the ultimate Brut IPA? Or perhaps you want to experiment with other interesting drier beer styles. Why not Brut Wheat? Brut Saison? Brut Porter? Your imagination is the only limit. Whichever way you choose to brew your light beer, our application specialists are here to help. Our team of brewing experts can advise on how to use and dose our enzymes. Talk to us and get started on a Brut IPA of your own.

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