Something I Bet You Didn’t Know Was Going On!

According to’s Larry Nelson, breweries may soon be making beer entirely from unmalted grains!

In his recently published “Our Understanding of Beer” comment piece on the popular industry site, Nelson reports that the Danish firm Novozymes has developed and is beginning to market an enzyme that makes it possible to ferment “highly credible” beer from unmalted barley. Called Ondea Pro, it will evidently be marketed on its “green” credentials, with an apparent savings of 8 grams of co2 emissions per 330 mL serving.

Which is all fine and good for making the palest of beers, but what about when you want a little colour in the cheeks of that lager or ale? Oh yes, that’s what caramel is for, isn’t it?

5 Replies to “Something I Bet You Didn’t Know Was Going On!”

    1. Haven’t seen anything in English until now, although maybe it’s been well covered on the professional side of things.

  1. Having tasted the muck made from malt that global brewers think is acceptable to sell as beer, I don’t have any faith in their estimation of what is “highly credible”.

  2. Steve, good notes and I’ve always wondered why a beer made mostly from un-malted grains has not been launched by a big company looking for a different angle but also to save costs. Raw grains would offer I believe a significant cost saving over use of traditional barley malt. Certainly distillers e.g., for Scots grain whisky, Irish pure pot still, bourbon, etc. have long seen the advantages. Enzyme can be added artificially or via a small amount of barley malt. Barley malt has the peculiarity of being able to convert the starches of a much larger amount of unmalted grains. I have read that in the early days when this was tried for brewing, a beer made from mostly raw grains had a tendency to acidify faster than a conventional beer. (This was not a disadvantage for distillers because the beer wasn’t kept long before distillation). However today, I assume there are ways to stabilize beers made from raw grains, including perhaps pasteurization. However, I am not familiar with the bio-chemical aspects, which must be complex.

    As to taste, I don’t see why a beer made from a base of unmalted grains should not be quite appetizing. Some wheat beers use un-malted grains in the mash-bill…

    Perhaps the best use of such beers would be as summer refreshers (flavoured or otherwise) but it is hard to say until the evidence is out.


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