Author Topic: Raw Wheat Berries  (Read 3651 times)

Offline skyler

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Raw Wheat Berries
« on: March 16, 2010, 11:37:48 AM »
So one of the guys at my LHBS sorta talked me into getting raw wheat berries instead of flaked wheat for my witbier. I just realized that raw wheat berries are not pre-gelatinized and a PITA to work with, but the grain bill is already mixed together in the bag, ready to be brewed soon. Having never used raw wheat berries, I realize, based on some internet research I have done, that I will probably need to do a protein rest, and I read that a thin mash with a 45 min rest at 120F - 126F before another 45 at 150F would probably get me where I need to go, but I figured I would come here to see what you all think.

My plan now is to do a 1.67qt/lb 45 min rest at 124 and a 2.5qt/lb 45 min rest at 150, then a 60-90 min boil, depending on my efficiency-determining gravity reading before I start the boil, so I end up with 5-6 gal of ~1.049 wort. Also, those water/grain ratios include rice hulls in the grist, so the "actual" numbers are even larger.

The recipe is:

5 lbs US 2-row
4.5 lbs Raw Wheat Berries
.5 lbs Flaked Oats
2 oz Acid Malt
2 lbs Rice Hulls

.5 oz Willamette 5.6 AA 60 min
.5 oz Mt. Hood 4.6 AA 60 min
.5 oz Tettnang 3.2 AA 10 min

Some Coriander, Cardamom, Fresh Sweet Orange Peel, and Fresh Bitter Orange Peel at 5 min

1 Tbsp of 5.2 in mash

Wyeast 3944 Belgian Witbier
« Last Edit: March 18, 2010, 11:44:34 AM by skyler »

Offline denny

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Re: Raw Wheat Berries
« Reply #1 on: March 16, 2010, 01:33:03 PM »
I think a 45 min. protein rest might be a little excessive.  And you may want to gelatinize the berries by cooking them before you add them to the mash.
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Offline KingBrianI

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Re: Raw Wheat Berries
« Reply #2 on: March 16, 2010, 01:44:32 PM »
I think a 45 min. protein rest might be a little excessive.  And you may want to gelatinize the berries by cooking them before you add them to the mash.

Sounds like the wheat berries are already mixed in with the rest of the grain bill.  Besides picking them out one by one, I'm not sure there is much he can do.

Offline skyler

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Re: Raw Wheat Berries
« Reply #3 on: March 16, 2010, 03:10:30 PM »
Yeah, they are already mixed in, so I can't cook them. I got the 45 min protein rest idea from here: http://www.realbeer.com/spencer/Belgian/white-brewing.html but some of the info on this page seems wrong (like advising that any yeast will work). This site actually recommends a 45-60 min protein rest, but do you think a 30 min rest would make more sense?

Offline denny

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Re: Raw Wheat Berries
« Reply #4 on: March 17, 2010, 08:32:19 AM »
Yeah, they are already mixed in, so I can't cook them. I got the 45 min protein rest idea from here: http://www.realbeer.com/spencer/Belgian/white-brewing.html but some of the info on this page seems wrong (like advising that any yeast will work). This site actually recommends a 45-60 min protein rest, but do you think a 30 min rest would make more sense?

I think a 15-20 min. rest would be plenty.
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

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Offline skyler

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Re: Raw Wheat Berries
« Reply #5 on: March 17, 2010, 03:20:06 PM »
I think a 15-20 min. rest would be plenty.

So should I do a 20 min rest at 124 followed by 60 min at 150?

Offline denny

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Re: Raw Wheat Berries
« Reply #6 on: March 18, 2010, 08:35:47 AM »
I think a 15-20 min. rest would be plenty.

So should I do a 20 min rest at 124 followed by 60 min at 150?

That's the way I'd do it.
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

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Online Kaiser

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Re: Raw Wheat Berries
« Reply #7 on: March 18, 2010, 10:02:48 AM »
The problem with raw wheat that is not in flour form is not so much the gelatinization of starch. This should happen at sacc rest temps. If not you can always hold a rest at 160F to convert them. The problem is that the cell walls and proteins have not sufficiently been broken down by the cytolysis and proteolysis that happens during malting. Boiling would not have done that for you but it would have made the starches more accessible.

The author of the article you mentioned has a point and I would actually hold the protein rest for 30-45 min. You have about 50% raw wheat in your grist and I doubt that that such a long protein rest will do harm. The opposite should be true since you also create sufficient FAN for fermentation. You may even start at 115 F with a thick mash, then infuse to 122F and later infuse to your sacc rest temp. Protein rests are more effective with thick mashes anyway.

I don’t think you are really worried about unconverted starches in this beer since this might be part of the character. However, I have not brewed a Wit yet nor have I used 50% unmated grain in the grist before.

Kai

Offline skyler

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Re: Raw Wheat Berries
« Reply #8 on: March 18, 2010, 11:43:51 AM »
Protein rests are more effective with thick mashes anyway.

That is great news, since getting a thin 124F mash up to 150F would require so much water that it wouldn't all fit in my 8gal kettle. So you think I should try a 30 min protein rest at 124F followed by 60 min at 150F?

Wow, just one year ago I was making extract beer with no starters or fermentation temp control. And I did that for years. Now I'm adjusting water and using protein rests. I can't wait until I move somewhere with an outdoor patio or backyard, so I can brew outside and decrease the mess factor. The learning curve for this hobby is very strange - so glad I started going to the NB forum in 2008.

Offline skyler

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Re: Raw Wheat Berries
« Reply #9 on: March 20, 2010, 11:51:11 AM »
Ok, I am brewing it up today with a 30 min rest. I am using a crapload of rice hulls, so that should help me some with sparging, anyway. I will post my experience.

Offline skyler

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Re: Raw Wheat Berries
« Reply #10 on: March 20, 2010, 04:45:59 PM »
Ended up being forced to do a longer protein rest ~40 min, because it took longer than 30 min to heat up enough water to raise the temp of the mash to 150F (well, I wanted to heat up more than I thought I would need, to be safe). Based on the preboil gravity reading, I got 73% efficiency, which is 9% less than I have been getting lately, but I was expecting a similar drop in efficiency, so I now expect my OG at pitching to be 1.048 - perfectly acceptable for me (I was shooting for 1.049-1.050). I noticed the color of the runnings to be significantly darker than I am used to with this kind of wort when I use flaked wheat - I suspect this beer will look more like St. Bernardus Wit than Hoegaarden, which does not make me particularly happy. In the future, I think I will just use flaked wheat, unless the flavor benefits outweigh the PITA of the protein rest and the darker color. We'll see.

Offline skyler

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Re: Raw Wheat Berries
« Reply #11 on: April 08, 2010, 11:29:50 AM »
Ok, since I just put the berries in as "flaked wheat," and the yield is far lower for the berries, I ended up with a 1.041 wort. But now it's kegged and carbonated, and it does actually have a certain something that other wits I've made were missing. I made another wit recently with a portion of torrified wheat and a portion of flaked wheat (currently in primary), and I am making another soon with only torrified wheat (and I've used only flaked wheat in the past). From what I can tell, there is a legitimate gain (despite the PITA) in using the berries - a bigger gain than I noticed with using a continental Pils malt instead of GW 2-row.

I had no problems at all with the sparge getting stuck - probably because I used 2 whole pounds of rice hulls. That made it difficult to guage the amount of water to use, though, since I think rice hulls absorb more water per pound than barley or wheat. The next time I try a witbier with the raw berries, I will use more of them to increase the yield. I still haven't found the beersmith numbers for the raw wheat berries, but I think it's around 1.025, based on my expected yield and my actual yield.

The spicing of this beer was a bit odd, too - I clearly overspiced it both on the "orange peel" and the "cardamom" fronts. But the finished beer only barely tastes too spicy. I suspect that using a WHOLE BUNCH of fresh citrus peel (seville sour orange and blood orange in this instance) is a lot less likely to screw up a beer than using too much of the dried peel.