SEBamyl GL – The greatest thing about malted barley is the fact that it comes in a nice package that is ready to go, just add water and heat, then fermentable sugar results an hour or so later. It is almost like a microwave dinner, someone else does the work of the malting the barley, while the buyer just sits back and relaxes until the timer goes off and the mash is converted from starch to sugar. This is all well and good, but the malted barley does not convert all of the starch to sugar in a set period of time, this can lead to loss of gravity points unless one is a stickler for iodine tests. A net loss situation which is not even taking into account whether the sugar is small enough to be fermented by the yeast or if it is too large to be consumed. A specialized amylase called glucoamylase, or amyloglucosidase is an enzyme that will actually start at the end of a chain of sugars and work its way inwards, breaking off glucose sugars one at a time. This kind of “pacman” esqe style allows for all the sugar in the mash to become fermentable to the yeast, and therefore increase alcohol yields. Being used in distillers mashes, this enzyme can create a fully fermentable wort that can work with strong yeast to ferment out below 1.000. If that leads some to caution, the glucoamylase can actually be added while the mash is warming up and can be denatured in a boil, say for instance with beer. Either way this enzyme can help realize higher alcohol yields from the exact same amount of grain, simply by being added and allowing for sufficient time for the breakdown process.
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