pouring beer from tank at brewing facility - preventing excessive foamBrewing & Distilling

Higher Protein Levels in Malt Creates Issues for Brewers

The severe drought last year in the United States resulted in reduced crop yield and lower quality of barley to be made into malt for brewers. Small kernel size and higher protein levels in the malt are noticeable differences from a bumper crop year. While maltsters can address most of the issues created by the less-than-ideal barley in the malthouse, they unfortunately cannot address all the issues caused from a bad crop year.

One of the most noticeable differences brewers encounter from higher malt protein levels is a higher level of foam, both in the brew kettle and in the fermenter. The former can be extremely hazardous if a boil over occurs and the wort comes out of manway during the boil. Boil overs are not only extremely dangerous, but they can also be deadly if a brewer sustains third-degree burns over a significant part of their body. The latter can wreak havoc in yield due to excessive foaming during fermentation. In this case, the excessive foam tends to create a large mess that can negatively impact the owner’s bottom line due to lost product going down the drain.

How can Birko, a Diversey company, assist with this? When the malt has higher than normal protein levels, it can take more antifoam than normal to control the problem. “Did your antifoams change? They don’t seem to be working as well?,” is a common question. We can assure you that our antifoam has not changed (and Birko still offers two of the best antifoams on the market today), but this concern is actually due to higher protein levels in the malt.

Antifoams to Address High Protein Levels

Birko Antifoam 100 – A 100% active silicone-based antifoam that can be used as low as one fluid ounce per 20 barrels of wort in the kettle or beer in the fermenter. This antifoam is ideal for brews that will be centrifuged or filtered with diatomaceous earth (DE) or Perlite to remove the antifoam prior to packaging.

Patco 376 – A 100% active vegetable oil-based antifoam that is used for unfiltered beers including Hazy or Juicy New England Style IPAs. This antifoam can be used both in the brew kettle and fermenter and only needs one half to one fluid ounce per barrel. It can also improve yield in the fermenter by as much at 10 to 20 percent and can greatly reduce or eliminate boil overs in the kettle.

Birko, a Diversey Company, has a full line of brewery cleaning, sanitizing, and process aids, along with the technical support to go along with them. Contact us to make your life easier and help you make great beer, batch after batch!