Ganbei: helping China get the most out of our barley protein

Tuesday 12 November, 2019

Chinese brewers love Australian barley for beer.

However, they’d prefer higher barley protein levels.

But lots of barley protein is wasted as “spent malt”.

So we thought: why not try and harness it? In other words, we’re asking the question: is it possible for brewers to use existing barley protein more efficiently?

Barley protein is important in brewing. Too much protein can mean there isn’t enough starch available for optimum beer fermentation. Not enough protein affects beer flavour and foam characteristics, and can also affect the level of free-alpha-amino nitrogen (FAN), which feeds hungry yeast.


AEGIC’s research, led by Dr Qisen Zhang, is using the latest biochemical tools to identify, down to the level of individual genes, the important enzymes that affects malt protein utilisation and beer qualities.

The ultimate aim of this research is to develop – and demonstrate to Chinese brewers – new techniques for malting and mashing to get the most out of existing barley protein, while maintaining beer quality.

The research involves collaboration with Murdoch University. Chinese malt and beer producers have provided enthusiastic input to the project and are set to join as collaborators. The project could have impact in other markets beyond China in the future.

China is by far Australia’s largest barley market.