Author Topic: Brewing with Unmalted Wheat  (Read 6830 times)

Offline gogreen437

  • Cellarman
  • **
  • Posts: 45
    • View Profile
Brewing with Unmalted Wheat
« on: June 13, 2012, 09:39:06 AM »
I have only ever used malted wheat to date, but would like to give unmalted wheat a spin.  I've been reading Brewing with Wheat and it seems like without fail European brewers who use unmalted wheat as a portion of their grist do at the minimum a protein rest.  But when I came to a breakdown of Allagash's White  they use a portion of unmalted wheat (unspecified amount) but do a single infusion mash around 154 F (give or take a degree, I don't exactly remember).  From listening to Jamil Show podcasts in the past with Ron Jeffries, I know that Jolly Pumpkin also uses unmalted grains with single infusion mashes, but usually in small amounts/percentages. 

So I am wondering who has tried both ways, protein rest and single infusion, with unmalted wheat and what the experiences are?  Is it ok in small amounts to not do a protein rest?  In large amounts?  No amount at all?  Any and all comments welcome. 
« Last Edit: June 13, 2012, 11:20:55 AM by gogreen437 »

Offline nateo

  • Brewmaster General
  • *******
  • Posts: 2162
  • Aachen, DE
    • View Profile
Re: Brewing with Unmalted Wheat
« Reply #1 on: June 13, 2012, 10:11:39 AM »
There are really two, related issues when using unmalted wheat, relating to wort composition and mash kinetics. The first is affected by protein, the other is affected by beta-glucan. Wheat starch is used as a glue, because beta-glucans are really sticky. So a large amount of beta-glucans may cause a slow or stuck mash.

The first issue, having too much protein, may result in haze or stability issues in the finished beer.

I think acceptable levels of beta-glucans and protein will depend on your particular brewing setup. Almost everyone could get away with maybe 10-15% unmalted wheat and a single-infusion under otherwise "normal" circumstances. When using large amounts (40%+) then the two issues I mentioned may become a big deal.
« Last Edit: June 13, 2012, 10:13:10 AM by nateo »
In der Kürze liegt die Würze.

Offline gogreen437

  • Cellarman
  • **
  • Posts: 45
    • View Profile
Re: Brewing with Unmalted Wheat
« Reply #2 on: June 13, 2012, 10:54:20 AM »
There are really two, related issues when using unmalted wheat, relating to wort composition and mash kinetics. The first is affected by protein, the other is affected by beta-glucan. Wheat starch is used as a glue, because beta-glucans are really sticky. So a large amount of beta-glucans may cause a slow or stuck mash.

The first issue, having too much protein, may result in haze or stability issues in the finished beer.

I think acceptable levels of beta-glucans and protein will depend on your particular brewing setup. Almost everyone could get away with maybe 10-15% unmalted wheat and a single-infusion under otherwise "normal" circumstances. When using large amounts (40%+) then the two issues I mentioned may become a big deal.

I suppose I really wouldn't be interested in going over 10-15% unmalted wheat anyway.  Any higher percentage of wheat I could use malted. 

But, devil's advocate, I don't usually have any trouble with stuck sparges and if I were concerned with it I could always throw in some rice hulls.  So, as to the second point of haze and stability.  Let's say I was doing a Belgian White and intended to drink this batch quickly and often.  If I wanted to mess around with a higher amount of unmalted wheat with a single infusion, this would be the style to give it a whirl?
« Last Edit: June 13, 2012, 11:21:23 AM by gogreen437 »

Offline nateo

  • Brewmaster General
  • *******
  • Posts: 2162
  • Aachen, DE
    • View Profile
Re: Brewing with Unmalted Wheat
« Reply #3 on: June 13, 2012, 10:57:32 AM »
Picture oatmeal. How easy is it to extract liquid from cooked oatmeal? I really wouldn't recommend using a high amount of unmalted wheat without a glucan rest, with or without rice hulls.
In der Kürze liegt die Würze.

Offline gogreen437

  • Cellarman
  • **
  • Posts: 45
    • View Profile
Re: Brewing with Unmalted Wheat
« Reply #4 on: June 13, 2012, 10:59:15 AM »
Picture oatmeal. How easy is it to extract liquid from cooked oatmeal? I really wouldn't recommend using a high amount of unmalted wheat without a glucan rest, with or without rice hulls.

Good mental picture.  Thanks for the advice!

Offline colinhayes

  • Cellarman
  • **
  • Posts: 60
    • View Profile
Re: Brewing with Unmalted Wheat
« Reply #5 on: June 21, 2012, 10:03:08 PM »
I can't speak to trying different ways, but I went the full adjunct mash route when doing my wit two weeks ago with 50% raw soft white wheat berries from a grocery.  I had no issues with sparging, but didn't get great efficiency (65%), probably due to the crap grind I got.  Apparently corona mills are much better at grinding the stuff.  I'm happy with the beer so far.  Pre-fermentation flavor was great, mouthfeel was awesome, color is spot-on, and it's really holding that lovely wheat haze.

Your wheat will gelatinize at mash temps, so the single infusion is possible, but I'd at least go through a protein rest if you're looking at >30% raw wheat.

Offline MDixon

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1011
    • View Profile
    • Mike's Homebrewing Page
Re: Brewing with Unmalted Wheat
« Reply #6 on: June 22, 2012, 06:53:41 AM »
Your wheat will gelatinize at mash temps, so the single infusion is possible

This is not universally so. Many texts and online resources say that, but when you peel the onion a little further you find most labs do it with wheat flour and it depends upon the type of wheat as to the gelatinization temps. The best reference I can currently locate suggests 59C-69C with the majority of the wheats listed being 66C or higher. That is a range of 140F (what I see stated over and over) to 157F. I remember some old references I had found over 10 years ago (if anyone has my old RCB post please let me know since I cannot find it) which actually took that top temp to 162F. Now while they are mash temps, they aren't generally in the range where most of us mash.

Someone earlier said Allaghash uses 154F and that might explain why their temp is that high to ensure they get both gelatinization and saccharification.
It's not a popularity contest, it's beer!

Offline colinhayes

  • Cellarman
  • **
  • Posts: 60
    • View Profile
Re: Brewing with Unmalted Wheat
« Reply #7 on: June 22, 2012, 07:34:28 AM »
Well, I can at least say that my adjunct mash got real goopy during the rest at 150°F.  This was with soft white wheat from Whole Foods semi-ground, fyi.

I think Allagash's temp could also have do with getting good mouthfeel on the beer... Mosher's book calls for a 154° saccarification for exactly this reason.

Offline nateo

  • Brewmaster General
  • *******
  • Posts: 2162
  • Aachen, DE
    • View Profile
Re: Brewing with Unmalted Wheat
« Reply #8 on: June 22, 2012, 08:24:22 AM »
Isn't gelatinization a curve? It's not an on/off thing. I think it's pretty safe to say that you'll get more gelatinization more quickly at higher temps. Some wheat may gelatinize at 140* but I've not seen any data on how quickly it will gelatinize at that temp.

I typically mash my wheat beers around 162* for a single infusion, fwiw, or step mash at 145-150*, then 160-165*. 
In der Kürze liegt die Würze.

Offline MDixon

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1011
    • View Profile
    • Mike's Homebrewing Page
Re: Brewing with Unmalted Wheat
« Reply #9 on: June 22, 2012, 08:36:51 AM »
I seem to recall the lab test (again if anyone finds my old RCB posts on it, lemme know) were 15 or 20 min with wheat flour. I don't know if that is the time it takes or just a rule for the lab rats.

Wowee, 162F, I must have had my head in the sand recently. I don't recall temps that high for infusion. Most of the time 153-154F is what I recall for wheat as the final temp before mashout, but I am old school ;)

Note: It also appears I have failed to add Brewing With Wheat to my book collection since I cannot locate it. I need to remedy that!
It's not a popularity contest, it's beer!

Offline nateo

  • Brewmaster General
  • *******
  • Posts: 2162
  • Aachen, DE
    • View Profile
Re: Brewing with Unmalted Wheat
« Reply #10 on: June 22, 2012, 09:11:37 AM »
Brewing with Wheat is fantastic. It has Boulevard's mash schedule for Zon and Unfiltered wheat. They're only slightly different, so I'll just post Unfiltered's:
104* for 6.5min
122* for 25min
145* for 12min
163* for 15min
169* knockout
In der Kürze liegt die Würze.

Offline onthekeg

  • Assistant Brewer
  • ***
  • Posts: 125
    • View Profile
Re: Brewing with Unmalted Wheat
« Reply #11 on: June 25, 2012, 07:50:02 AM »
I brew with unmalted wheat quite a bit.  I also did back to back witbiers about 5 years ago.  The first was a single infusion at 154.
The second I cereal mashed the wheat, then infused the mash with the wheat and stabilized at 154.  90 minute mashes for both.

I got 1.046 OG on batch one
1.050 OG on batch two.

Both tasted similar to me, and for the ease of brewing I don't do the cereal mash for my unmalted wheat beers anymore.