Author Topic: Efficiency of raw wheat  (Read 975 times)

Offline jeffy

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Efficiency of raw wheat
« on: March 27, 2014, 05:01:17 AM »
I plan to make a witbier this weekend.  In the past when I've used raw wheat in the mash my efficiency suffers almost to the point that the wheat doesn't add any gravity points at all, so I have used gelatinized or flaked wheat instead.  This results in a witbier that doesn't stay cloudy, dropping bright in the keg fairly quickly.
So my question is how do I get the raw wheat to convert better?  I am thinking of doing a cereal mash with some of the barley malt and bringing that to a boil, then adding it back to the main mash, but that's a big cereal mash when half the recipe is wheat.
What do you guys do to convert raw wheat?
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Online Jimmy K

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Re: Efficiency of raw wheat
« Reply #1 on: March 27, 2014, 05:53:43 AM »
A member of my club asked Randy Mosher about raw wheat on Ask the Experts. The response is here.
https://www.homebrewersassociation.org/forum/index.php?topic=15109.msg191656#msg191656

Wheat gelatinizes at mash temps, but I think it takes a while and if it's coarsely ground some may not gelatinize until the end of the mash. That could be part of the problem.
« Last Edit: March 27, 2014, 05:55:24 AM by mtnrockhopper »
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Offline troybinso

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Re: Efficiency of raw wheat
« Reply #2 on: March 27, 2014, 06:29:15 AM »
A cereal mash is pretty easy to do and should help you extract more sugar from the wheat.

Offline mabrungard

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Re: Efficiency of raw wheat
« Reply #3 on: March 27, 2014, 07:41:09 AM »
I've made a number of Wits that use wheat malt as a major portion. To get the cloudiness, I use Renner's recommendation to add a roux of flour and water to the boil kettle. I was only using a teeny handful of flour. That was effective in contributing the proteins desired for cloudiness.

By the way, I've long noticed that efficiency with wheat malt mashes are also lower than expected. I'm thinking that the ppg that ProMash cites in their database is just too high. It shows 38 to 40 ppg for wheat malts and only 34 ppg for flaked wheat. I'm thinking I need to edit that database.
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Offline reverseapachemaster

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Re: Efficiency of raw wheat
« Reply #4 on: March 27, 2014, 08:29:54 AM »
The tricky thing about trying to improve conversion is that the better you convert the wheat the less haze you will get but the less conversion you get the lower the gravity but the cloudier your beer will be. There is undoubtedly a happy medium that you could find by cereal mashing most of the unmalted wheat but still adding some directly to the mash to score some haze. You would have to play around with volumes to strike the perfect mix of attributes.

Some other alternatives for you:

1. If you are a glutton for punishment you could try a turbid mash. It's historically appropriate but a long, messy and involved mash schedule.

2. Mix flaked wheat and portion of unmalted wheat in the mash.

3. Add oats/increase amount of oats. Oats will add proteins that will help give you some haze.

4. Use flaked wheat and as Martin suggests, add wheat flour in the boil.

Personally, I would do a combination of the last two.
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Offline denny

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Re: Efficiency of raw wheat
« Reply #5 on: March 27, 2014, 09:16:55 AM »
I plan to make a witbier this weekend.  In the past when I've used raw wheat in the mash my efficiency suffers almost to the point that the wheat doesn't add any gravity points at all, so I have used gelatinized or flaked wheat instead.  This results in a witbier that doesn't stay cloudy, dropping bright in the keg fairly quickly.
So my question is how do I get the raw wheat to convert better?  I am thinking of doing a cereal mash with some of the barley malt and bringing that to a boil, then adding it back to the main mash, but that's a big cereal mash when half the recipe is wheat.
What do you guys do to convert raw wheat?

I feel silly asking you this, but are you sure the wheat is fully crushed?  That seems to be the most common issue with low efficiency and wheat.
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Offline gmac

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Re: Efficiency of raw wheat
« Reply #6 on: March 27, 2014, 09:28:34 AM »
I always cereal mash my wheat. Just cook it the night before and put it in the fridge, then add when you mash. I use mdixons wit recipe and its awesome

I batch sparge but for wit I use my burner to mash through the stages and then transfer to my cooler to sparge. Works fine.
« Last Edit: March 27, 2014, 03:25:16 PM by gmac »

Offline denny

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Re: Efficiency of raw wheat
« Reply #7 on: March 27, 2014, 09:30:10 AM »
I always cereal mash my wheat. Just cook it the night before and put it in the fridge, then add when you mash. I use mdixons wit recipe and its awesome

I batch sparse but for wit I use my burner to mash through the stages and then transfer to my cooler to sparse. Works fine.

I second Mike's wit recipe.  I'm not much of a wit fan, but when I brew one that's the recipe I use.  Even better with a bit of chamomile in it.
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Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Efficiency of raw wheat
« Reply #8 on: March 27, 2014, 09:33:16 AM »
I always cereal mash my wheat. Just cook it the night before and put it in the fridge, then add when you mash. I use mdixons wit recipe and its awesome

I batch sparse but for wit I use my burner to mash through the stages and then transfer to my cooler to sparse. Works fine.

I second Mike's wit recipe.  I'm not much of a wit fan, but when I brew one that's the recipe I use.  Even better with a bit of chamomile in it.

is it in the wiki?
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Offline jeffy

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Re: Efficiency of raw wheat
« Reply #9 on: March 27, 2014, 09:43:52 AM »
Thanks for all the suggestions, guys.
Here's a link to Mike's recipe http://carboyclub.com/recipes/wit3.htm
I think I will end up doing a cross between a turbid mash and a cereal decoction.  Going to have to do some reading.
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Offline mabrungard

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Re: Efficiency of raw wheat
« Reply #10 on: March 27, 2014, 01:18:30 PM »
Since we are talking about raw wheat, is there a flavor difference between white wheat and red wheat? I've never used those raw grains.
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Offline gmac

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Re: Efficiency of raw wheat
« Reply #11 on: March 27, 2014, 03:22:23 PM »
I can't speak to flavour but I do know about wheat and in general, red is higher in proteins.  White would be your cake and pastry flour, red your bread flour (not to say you can't make bread out of white but you get the idea). 

I use Bob's Red Mill Bulgar which is nothing more than red wheat that has been pre-boiled, dried and cracked but I use it like regular wheat and just boil it again.  I don't know if the boiling would pre-gelatinize the starches or not. 

As for chamomile in wits, use a light touch. I did my first wit with chamomile and it was too much (an ounce per 5 gals).  It's nicer in subtle amounts.

Offline goschman

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Re: Efficiency of raw wheat
« Reply #12 on: March 27, 2014, 03:32:17 PM »
Sorry to go off topic. I am doing an american wheat tomorrow and a wit for my next batch. I use about 10% flaked wheat and 40% white wheat normally. For the wit I will replaced the flaked wheat with oats. I hear suggestions to use a higher percentage of flaked grains to increase desired haze in a wit. My beers seem to drop crystal clear in the keg regardless of how much flaked grain I use. My kolsch took some time but eventually got there.

I am interested in the method of using some flour. Any other ideas?

The only think I can think of is rocking the keg a bit before pulling a beer...
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Offline gmac

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Re: Efficiency of raw wheat
« Reply #13 on: March 27, 2014, 03:43:51 PM »
Throw some flour in the boil for cloudy wit.  Personally I wouldn't use oats because I find they give a slick, oily texture more than a cloudiness but maybe that's just me. 

Depending on your Kolsch yeast, (I'm betting you used Wyeast), all you can do is wait.  It is a powdery yeast that drops slowly.  I've used gelatin and it did nothing.

Offline goschman

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Re: Efficiency of raw wheat
« Reply #14 on: March 27, 2014, 04:08:05 PM »
I used wlp029 for the kolsch with gelatin...took about 4 weeks to get really clear.

Noted on the oats. I use them quite a bit and don't notice the mouthfeel that is usually associated with them. I think I am just trying to change it up from my normal wheat grain bill even though the yeast will change everything...
On Tap:                       
American Wheat / XPA#1:Jarrylo-Zythos / Altbier / Golsch / American Strong Ale
              
Fermenting: GoschaLagerBier (GLB)
Up Next: Walter Wit, Golsch?