Basic enzymatic processes have been used in brewing since prehistoric times. Malting, mashing, and fermentation/maturation are enzymatic processes. The main raw material, malt, contains extract components such as starch and proteins as well as enzymes such as amylases and proteases.
In the 1960s, when enzymes became commercially available, it was natural for both brewers and enzyme producers to begin developing ways to replace the expensive malt with unmalted raw materials and exogenous enzymes.
At that point it was already common to use 25-35% unmalted cereals in conjunction with the malt. But the idea grew to substitute an even higher proportion of the malt with unmalted raw materials using exogenous enzymes.
This work led to a range of applications for enzymes in brewing that brought economic and technical benefits such as:
- Better control of the brewing process
- Faster production, resulting in increased capacity
- Potential for new and different beer types
- Use of cheaper and unconventional raw materials