Yeast proteolytic activity during high and low gravity wort fermentations and its effect on head retention

D. J. Cooper, G. G. Stewart, J. H. Bryce

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    59 Citations (Scopus)


    The aim was to discover the effect of high gravity brewing on yeast protease activity during fermentation, on the loss of hydrophobic polypeptides from wort during fermentation, and on the foam stability of stored beer. The hydrophobic polypeptide content of low (10° Plato) gravity worts showed a steady decline throughout fermentation, but for the 20° Plato wort there was a rapid decline over the first 8 days of fermentation, followed by little change over the remaining period. The decrease in hydrophobic polypeptides was greater in the high gravity fermentation. Proteinase A increased during fermentations with the highest levels being present at the end of fermentations. High gravity fermentations exhibited levels of yeast protease that from the 3rd to 11th day of fermentation were at least twice the values of the low gravity fermentations. The high gravity brewed beer contained significantly higher levels of proteinase A activity than the low gravity brewed beer. The inclusion of FERMCAP™, an antifoam, in high gravity wort did not affect either the hydrophobic polypeptide levels or foam stability of the resultant beer. This suggests that proteinase A, rather than fermenter foaming, must be the major contributor to the lack of foam stability of high gravity brewed beer. Head retention measurements conducted on the high and low gravity brewed bottled beers, over a five month period, demonstrated a steady decline in foam stability for both beers. The declines in head retention did not occur in high and low gravity beers that had been pasteurised.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)197-201
    Number of pages5
    JournalJournal of the Institute of Brewing
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 2000


    • Foam stability
    • High gravity brewing
    • Hydrophobic polypeptides
    • Proteinase A
    • Yeast


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