Glucans and arabinoxylans absorb water, making the wort viscous and slowing filtration. They also stop enzymes from breaking down starch. That leads to lower yields and haze in the final beer. Filtration enzymes hydrolyze glucans and arabinoxylans to polysaccharides. The result is faster, more efficient separation and filtration.
The cell walls of barley and other cereal grains contain mixed-linked 1,3-1,4 β-glucans and arabinoxylans. These have a high molecular weight, which impacts the efficiency of separation and filtration.
The amounts and ratios of these molecules differ from grain to grain. Barley, oats and sorghum have more β-glucan molecules than xylan molecules. The ratio is more than two to one. Wheat and rye have the opposite ratio, with more than twice as much xylan as β-glucan.
β-glucans and arabinoxylans are very hygroscopic; they absorb water. That makes the wort very viscous and dramatically reduces mash filtration speed. When they absorb water, β-glucans and arabinoxylans also become greasy. That makes them stick to other grain components and to filter aids and membranes. They can also stick to starch molecules, making starch less available for enzymatic degradation. That can lead to lower brewhouse yields and haze in the final beer.
Filtration enzymes hydrolyze mixed-linked 1,3-1,4 β-glucans and arabinoxylans to polysaccharides. Unlike malt enzymes, thermostable filtration enzymes can withstand high temperatures. That means they stay active during the entire mashing. The result is faster, more efficient wort separation and beer filtration.
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