Author Topic: 1st wheat brew  (Read 5501 times)

Offline rbowers

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1st wheat brew
« on: June 13, 2012, 06:13:57 PM »
Going to brew up a raspberry wheat for the first time tomorrow- really my first effort at a beer with a good amount of wheat (50% grist).  I have heard these mashes can prove tricky so I was hoping to elicit any advice others may have. 
I plan on using a good amount of rice hulls. 
I've heard wheat beers can foam up pretty good in the carboy- any use for silicone anti-foam agents and if so how do you use these?
Any suggestions on mashing?  I have initial plans for a single infusion mash at 150F x 60 min.  Any role for protein rests or other steps?
Sparge as normal or additional cautions?

I'm all ears.
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Offline tygo

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Re: 1st wheat brew
« Reply #1 on: June 13, 2012, 06:19:12 PM »
I just brewed up my first all-grain wheat this past weekend and used 40% wheat in the grist.  I ground the wheat malt separately and conditioned the barley malt portion with water.  No rice hulls and zero problems but they couldn't hurt as insurance.  Mash and sparge were handled as I normally would.  I did a single infusion mash at 153F. 

One thing to point out is that the wheat malt doesn't absorb nearly as much water so factor that in.

No experience to tell you whether a protein rest would be a better course.  After this batch I'll have a better idea.

I got a pretty nice blowoff on this one but there was 5.5 gallons in a 6 gallon better bottle so that was fairly inevitable. 

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Offline gmac

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Re: 1st wheat brew
« Reply #2 on: June 13, 2012, 07:49:42 PM »
I've made several wheat beers but I'm by no means an expert.  I use 50/50 blend of 2-row and wheat with a couple good sized hands full of rice hulls.  I grind everything together and mix in the rice hulls as I mash in.  I haven't had any stuck mashes but I have found that there is a substantially larger amount of particulate matter on the top of the mash when you sparge. I want to say protein but I really don't know for sure what it is. I've had to scrape that off a bit once to help it drain but it was only on the top of the grain bed.

As for fermentation, I've not experienced any issues with primary but for one where I added fruit juice after primary was complete, I had a lot of foaming over when the yeast kicked in on the sugars in the secondary.  I'd watch that since you say you're doing a raspberry wheat.  Not sure when you're gonna add your berries but if its in the secondary, I'd have some good headspace or a blowoff planned.

Otherwise, I haven't found any real differences between all barley and barley/wheat blends.  I'm gonna do a 10 gal batch on Friday.  5 gals will get raspberries in the secondary, 5 gals will go straight into my belly (well, 20 oz at a time...)
Good luck. 

Edit:  Sorry, I mash at about 150 for a lighter body and do not do a protein rest. 

Offline majorvices

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Re: 1st wheat brew
« Reply #3 on: June 14, 2012, 04:50:39 AM »
I brew a wheat beer regularly with 60% wheat and never use rice hulls and never have any problems (knock on wood, right?). In fact, it's been over 10 years since I messed with rice hulls. That doesn't mean you shouldn't but I feel confident that you won't have any problems with you mash using them.

I also only do a single infusion at this point, though on smaller batches I like to do a step mash starting with a ferulic acid mash and maybe even a couple decoctions. But single infusion works well.

Aside from the potentially gummy mash and the potential that the wheat kernels themselves may be slightly smaller than your two row thus needing a different mill gap on your crush I don't think you will notice much difference from any other brew.

What yeast are you using? Wheat iteself doesn't seem to give up larger krauesen, but it could be strain dependent.
« Last Edit: June 14, 2012, 04:52:16 AM by majorvices »
Keith Y.
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Offline nateo

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Re: 1st wheat brew
« Reply #4 on: June 14, 2012, 05:17:06 AM »
Whether or not you need a protein rest depends on your malt. I've seen some very well-modified, low protein wheat malt in the same range as "typical" NA pale malts. I personally own some very undermodified, high protein wheat malt. My efficiency when using that malt is easily 10-15% lower if I don't do any low-temp (protein) rests. Running that malt through my mill at my "standard" barley setting wouldn't even crush the kernels.

I don't use rice hulls, but I'm really, really anal when conditioning and crushing the barley to get intact husks. If you suspect your crush isn't perfect, it's not, and you need rice hulls. As much as I love drinking wheat beers, I hate brewing them. I think when this sack of wheat malt kicks it, and I can buy a more suitable malt, my tune may change.
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Offline majorvices

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Re: 1st wheat brew
« Reply #5 on: June 14, 2012, 05:38:13 AM »
Whether or not you need a protein rest depends on your malt. I've seen some very well-modified, low protein wheat malt in the same range as "typical" NA pale malts. I personally own some very undermodified, high protein wheat malt. My efficiency when using that malt is easily 10-15% lower if I don't do any low-temp (protein) rests. Running that malt through my mill at my "standard" barley setting wouldn't even crush the kernels.


Good point, and wheat does have a higher percentage of protein but the main reason for doing a p-rest would be to break down the beta-glucans to make a less gummy mash. I use Best Malz wheat malt now exclusively. It tends to crush better at my mill setting and gives me about the same efficiency as two row without a step mash. What wheat malt do you use? Sounds like it is one to recommend to stay away from.
Keith Y.
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Offline nateo

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Re: 1st wheat brew
« Reply #6 on: June 14, 2012, 06:19:55 AM »
It's from the Colorado Malting Company. Unless you live in Colorado it's not likely you'll be able to find it. The flavor is great, but it's a PITA to work with. They're a new, small maltster and I think they have a ways to go to getting their malt quality up there with the big boys. They sell a lot of malt to the breweries in CO, so I think it'll be a very long time before their distribution gets outside CO, maybe never. But, they're malting a lot of alternative grains too, so those may not get eaten up by New Belgium et al, and may get a wider release. They have a pilot program for malting millet right now that has a lot of millet farmers, and I guess some GF brewers, really excited.
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Offline nateo

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Re: 1st wheat brew
« Reply #7 on: June 14, 2012, 06:23:54 AM »
As Keith pointed out, degree of modification has a big impact on ease of milling. The stuff I have is only marginally softer than raw wheat berries. A well-modified malt is "friable," that is it readily breaks into smaller bits. My floor-malted BoPils and my Simpsons GP will crumble when I roll it between my fingers. This is a good indication of how easily it mills. My CMC wheat malt is hard to chew, which makes it a pain to mill. I have to run it through 3 times on successively tighter gaps to get a decent crush.
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Offline onthekeg

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Re: 1st wheat brew
« Reply #8 on: June 25, 2012, 08:23:03 AM »
Thats why I keep my old corona mill around.  I grind up wheat for witbiers and corn for my CAP.

Offline Pi

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Re: 1st wheat brew
« Reply #9 on: July 17, 2012, 06:50:43 AM »
I did 10 gallons last weekend. Did a double decoction but probably overkill; a single would've sufficed. Docoction has a couple advantages (IMO). It gives the yeast a good supply of amino acids, and it breaks up the doughy glutinous stuff that contributes to a stuck mash and lenghy lautering. Wheat has about twice the amount of high-molecular weight proteins than barley and the low amounts of low-molecular weight proteins in wheat translates to lower free amino nitrogen in the wort. since  german malts tend to be less modified as NA, an acid/protein rest is essential.
So now that my primary is just about done I was thinking about cold crashing for a couple weeks. Any thoughts?
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Offline jmcamerlengo

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Re: 1st wheat brew
« Reply #10 on: July 17, 2012, 08:21:16 AM »
A Protein rest can aid in lautering. If you want to do one I recommend keeping it around 131 for 10 minutes. Thats all you need really, if you need any at all. I do one personally because i have a direct fired mash and its easy for me to do now. I didnt do one previously when using a cooler.

Krausen as Major said can be strain dependent. Usually the German Wheat/Hefe strains are true top croppers and cause a lot of foaming. An american wheat fermented with 001/1056 or possibly the Kolsch strains or American Wheat strains shouldnt have that issue.

Rice hulls can be a good insurance but as mentioned arent necessary, and can be malt dependent as well. I personally dont use them because Ive found I dont need them. Open your valves for vorlauf and lautering very slowly to prevent compaction and I reckon youll be fine.

FWIW I use Weyermann Wheat in all of my Wheat beers, German or not. I like the flavor and it mills well in my Barley Crusher.

I have also recently discovered that if you have the headspace in your primary, adding fruit or fruit puree directly to the primary once the bulk of fermentation has finished is perfectly fine! No need to secondary. I added 3 lbs of peach puree after about 4 days directly to the primary on my last wheat beer, and dry hopped in the primary as well and it turned out great! I used a 6 gallon Better Bottle for a 5 gallon batch. The peaches did not create much krausen on their own, although I had a blowoff setup as a precatuion
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