I was looking at a packet of "pilsner enzyme" (an amylase). I know what it does (chops up starch/maltodextrins to simpler sugars, I think...) but I wondered why it is called "Pilsner enzyme"? Why would one want to add Pilsner enzyme to Pilsner type beers (or any other beer)? And how did the production of pilsner enzyme come about in the brewing industry? Refined Amylase in packets is a relatively modern invention, so how and why was it brought into use?
"Pilsner enzyme" is different from other brewing or distilling enzyme. It's not derived from malt and is a exogenous enzyme. It can do the same job as malt enzymes but at lower temps and different pH. Allowing it to be added to the wort at fermentation to break down sugars the yeast can't use so they can use them resulting in a dryer beer.
There is no need for this product in brewing unless the mash has gone wrong and denatured your target enzymes.
It may be useful when using LME / DME since these products are usually made from wort designed to have a set amount of residual unfermentables.
This isn't something "new". Many ancient processes would use saliva during a "cool" mash to break down sugars. The process would have the village women sitting around a large pot mixing and spitting in it for several hours.
Amylase powder: This is simply amylase enzyme.
It's mostly used in mashes that need more diastatic power.
Most brewers will use 6-row in the mash to boost diastatic power instead of adding enzyme powder.
I suppose that outside of the US, Pilsner and/or lager malt is the one with the most diastatic power. Here in Europe, 6-row is not malted for the brewing industry, it is only used for cattle food.
Edit: just to make it more clear, I suppose that it is called Pilsner enzyme, because it is used as a replacement for Pilsner malt, in cases one needs or wants to mash without malt.