Husks away!

Our stories

Husks away!

How ‘naked’ malted barley grains are helping to cut our carbon footprint.

A small change to the way we prepare one of our brewing ingredients could be set to make a useful contribution to the efficiency and sustainability of our breweries across the world.

This innovative technique is called ‘dry de-husking’ or DDH for short. It allows us to remove part of the outer husk from malted barley grains before we begin the first stage of the brewing process, which is known as mashing and involves soaking the barley in hot water to extract its sugars.

DDH has two major benefits: first, it means less energy is used in mashing, since less hot water is required to penetrate the husk-less grains. Second, the discarded husks can be collected and used as biofuel for the brewery’s boiler, meaning less reliance on fossil fuels.

We’ve developed DDH in partnership with patent-holder Dillenburger & Hertel GmbH, a German firm that is a renowned innovator in brewing technology. Following a successful pilot and installation at our Mwanza Brewery in Tanzania we are now applying the technology at more of our breweries across the globe.

Thomas Brewer, AB In-Bev Engineering Manager, explained: “By using DDH in Mwanza Brewery we have made a significant improvement in energy efficiency and emissions, with no impact on our traditional brewing techniques or the quality and taste of the beers that we brew there.

“Dry de-husking helps brewing move a step closer to being a truly circular process which generates no waste: barley is harvested, malted and milled, we harness the energy of the husks and can even make use of the ash that is left behind, as this can be used as fertilizer for the fields in which the barley is grown.”