Making Low-Carb Beer: A Guide to Understanding the Role of Enzymes in Low-Calorie Beer Brewing

Sunday, February 5, 2023
We get it.

Your gut may be slowly expanding like the universe.

And while it may perhaps be because of homebrew overconsumption, deep down you know it's the sneaky trips to McDonalds at lunch time...

Either way, you can make low carb beer at home with your favourite beer kits.

Making low-carb beer at home using beer kits requires adding an enzyme called glucose-alpha-amylase (also known as amyloglucosidase) during the brewing process to break down complex sugars into simpler, fermentable sugars that can be converted into alcohol. This results in a lower carbohydrate content in the final beer product.

low carb beers

The science of enzymes that cause low calorie beers: 

Enzymes are proteins that serve as catalysts in chemical reactions. They speed up the reaction without being consumed or altered in the process. In the case of brewing beer, the enzyme glucose-alpha-amylase breaks down complex sugars into simple sugars that can be fermented by yeast to produce alcohol and carbon dioxide.

To use this enzyme in your home brewing process, you can add it directly to the wort (the mixture of water, malt, and hops that will become beer) after boiling and before yeast addition. The amount of enzyme needed and the optimal brewing temperature will depend on the specific enzyme and the beer recipe, so it is important to follow the manufacturer's instructions for the enzyme you are using.

By using an enzyme to reduce the carbohydrate content in your beer, you can produce a low-carb beer that still has the flavor and alcohol content of a traditional beer, but with fewer carbohydrates'

Here are a few brands that produce enzymes specifically designed for low-carb beer brewing:
  • Fermentis is a leading supplier of yeast and enzymes for the brewing industry. They offer a range of enzymes, including a product called "Brewers Clarex," which is specifically designed to reduce the residual carbohydrates in beer.
  • Novozymes is a leading producer of industrial enzymes, including a product called "BeoviniCon," which is designed to reduce the carbohydrate content of beer.
  • DSM is a global leader in the production of enzymes, including a product called "BrewMax Lallemand is a global provider of yeast and bacteria for the food and beverage industry. They offer a range of enzymes, including a product called "Alpha Amylase," which is specifically designed for the brewing of low-carb beers.
These are just a few of the brands that produce enzymes specifically designed for low-carb beer brewing, but there are many others available as well. When choosing an enzyme, it is important to consider factors such as the desired results, the type of beer being brewed, and the quality of the ingredients being used.

Homebrewers can make low-carb versions of many different beer styles, but some styles are more suited to this process than others. Some styles that are particularly well-suited to being made as low-carb include:
  • Light lagers: These beers typically have a light, crisp flavor and low alcohol content, making them an ideal choice for low-carb brewing.
  • Pilsners: These beers are light and refreshing, with a balanced hop bitterness and a dry finish that makes them well-suited to low-carb brewing.
  • Pale ales: Pale ales have a moderate alcohol content and a hoppy, bitter flavor that is well-suited to low-carb brewing.
  • India Pale Ales (IPAs): IPAs are known for their strong hop flavor and high alcohol content, but can be made into low-carb beers by adjusting the recipe and using an enzyme to break down complex sugars
It's important to note that making low-carb beers may result in changes to the flavor, mouthfeel, and overall character of the beer compared to traditional recipes, so it may take some experimentation to find the best low-carb recipe for your desired style.

Brewers compensate for the changes in beer profile and taste when making low-carb beers by adjusting other aspects of the brewing process or recipe. 

Some common ways to compensate include:

  • Using different malt types: Different types of malt can contribute to the beer's flavor, color, and body. By using different types of malt, a brewer can adjust the profile of the beer to suit their desired taste.
  • Increasing hop bitterness: To balance the lack of residual sweetness from the lower carb content, brewers can increase the amount of hops in the recipe, which will increase the bitterness and overall hop flavor of the beer.
  • Adjusting yeast strains: Different yeast strains can produce different flavors and aromas in the beer. By adjusting the yeast strain, a brewer can alter the flavor profile of the beer to compensate for the changes in the malt and hops.


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