Natural Sweeteners - The Extraction Process

The Extraction Process

Briess produces grain- and starch-based natural sweeteners in a fully automated, audited food-grade extraction plant commissioned in 2002. It consists of a brewhouse, evaporator and dryer. The brewing system allows for the production of brewers grade malt extract, which is high in free amino acids. The Briess Irish Road Extract Plant produces:

  • Briess Malted Milk Powder
  • Maltoferm® Food Grade Pure Malt Extracts
  • CBW® Brewers Grade Pure Malt Extracts
  • BriesSweet™ Grain- and Starch-based Syrups
  • Malt Coextracts
  • Blends

The first step in the production of malt extracts and grain syrups is milling or grinding the malt or grain. The second step is mashing, which involves mixing water with the ground malt or grain, and raising the temperature to dissolve sugars, starches and enzymes. The enzymes become active and convert soluble starches to sugars. Mashing takes about three hours. The third step is separation, where the mash is transferred to the lautertun where "spent" grains are separated from the sweet liquid. The fourth step is boiling. The sweet liquid, which is called "wort", is transferred to the brew kettle where it is boiled. The fifth step is clarification, which involves transferring the wort to a large tank called a whirlpool that acts like a cyclone to settle out any solid material. The sixth step is storage, which occurs after the wort has been cooled and then transferred to a storage tank. Batches are fed into storage every four hours, and each batch has a solids content of about 14% (about the same as soda). The seventh step is evaporation. The storage tanks continuously feed into the evaporator, which concentrates the wort to 80% solids (about the consistency of honey). The evaporator works under vacuum, which allows the wort to boil at lower temperatures, 160-100 degree Fahrenheit, which saves both time and energy. Lower temperatures also allow concentration to occur without damaging the color or flavor of the concentrated wort. The final steps are packaging or drying then packaging. Finished malt extract or syrup flows out of the evaporator and into finished product storage tanks. From these tanks, the product will be transferred into bulk trucks, packaged for shipping or sent to the dryer to be transformed into a free flowing powder and then packaged into 50-lb bags.

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Milled grains or "grist" is held in tanks above mash kettles

The mash of hot water and the grist is agitated

Lautertun and boiler