Author Topic: Unmalted wheat, cereal mash or no?  (Read 1229 times)

Offline smokeymcb

  • Cellarman
  • **
  • Posts: 39
  • The Cooker of the Foods
    • View Profile
Unmalted wheat, cereal mash or no?
« on: August 18, 2015, 05:08:18 PM »
Hi all,

I'm planning on adding some raw wheat in small amount to my next  brew.  Hopefully to help with foam production and stability(?).  I've been reading around most of the day and can't seem to find a clear answer on whether the raw wheat needs to be cereal mashed or if I can just chuck it into a single infusion mash?

Some places say that as long as I'm over the gel temp for the wheat starch in my mash, its ok to single infuse.   While others say that flavour and extract suffer greatly without a cereal mash.  As I'm only using it in hopes of head retention, I'm not  too worried about poor flavour or bad efficiency on the small amount I will use. 

So, what say you?

As a bonus question, regarding the cereal mash itself, does one "need" to add any barley malt at all?  Couldn't you just (over)cook the starch and then do all the converting in the regular mash?  Is the malted barley and short conversion step in a cereal mash just there to keep the cereal mash from getting too sticky?

Thanks for any advice or experiences in advance...
Anyone got a lighter??

Rob C.

Offline morticaixavier

  • I must live here
  • **********
  • Posts: 7782
  • Underhill VT
    • View Profile
    • The Best Artist in the WORLD!!!!!
Re: Unmalted wheat, cereal mash or no?
« Reply #1 on: August 18, 2015, 05:24:07 PM »
Generally when I'm adding wheat for head retention I use flaked wheat which is pre-gelatinized and doesn't need a cereal mash or any kind of additional cooking.

However if you are planning on using actual raw wheat berries I would recommend either a cereal mash or fully cooking ahead of time. While you might hit the gel temp for wheat starch in the mash it'll be just barely and it would take a long time to get good conversion.

One of the folks here on the forum boils his wheat the night before for a good long time to gelatinize the starches.

The barley malt in the cereal mash is there to help liquify some of the starches so it doesn't turn into a big sticky mess while you're cooking it.
"Creativity is the residue of wasted time"
-A Einstein

"errors are [...] the portals of discovery"
- J Joyce

Offline smokeymcb

  • Cellarman
  • **
  • Posts: 39
  • The Cooker of the Foods
    • View Profile
Re: Unmalted wheat, cereal mash or no?
« Reply #2 on: August 18, 2015, 07:32:30 PM »
Thanks for the info.

Anyone got a lighter??

Rob C.

Offline kramerog

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1809
    • View Profile
    • My LinkedIn page
Re: Unmalted wheat, cereal mash or no?
« Reply #3 on: August 18, 2015, 10:06:39 PM »
Some grains contain proteins that prevent and slow down gelatinization at gelatinization temperatures.  Since you are interested in the protein, I think you should boil to get the proteins to dissolve.

Offline narvin

  • Brewmaster General
  • *******
  • Posts: 2255
  • Baltimore
    • View Profile
Please do not reply if your[sic] an evil alien!
Thanks

Offline jeffy

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 3388
  • Tampa, Fl
    • View Profile
Re: Unmalted wheat, cereal mash or no?
« Reply #5 on: August 19, 2015, 12:58:28 AM »
Here's another, more recent thread on the same subject:
https://www.homebrewersassociation.org/forum/index.php?topic=23899.0
Jeff Gladish, Tampa (989.3, 175.1 Apparent Rennarian)
Homebrewing since 1990
AHA member since 1991, now a lifetime member
BJCP judge since 1995

Offline reverseapachemaster

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 3135
    • View Profile
    • Brain Sparging on Brewing
Re: Unmalted wheat, cereal mash or no?
« Reply #6 on: August 19, 2015, 02:09:24 PM »
If you are using a small amount of wheat then it might not be worth your time to deal with gelatinizing the starches and just add it into your normal mash. I use wheat fairly often and just accept a small loss to efficiency. However, if you are using a significant amount of wheat then it's probably worth your time or money to deal with the issue.

Whole grains have a higher gelatinization temperature than starch as a whole. Whole wheat gelatinizes at temperatures closer to a boil while wheat starch easily gelatinizes around mash temperatures. This is why wheat is known for giving terrible efficiency. Adding to the problem the problem is that wheat is smaller and harder than malted barley so our mills are not normally set to effectively crush it so you get poor surface area from milling the wheat. A tighter milling will increase surface area and help efficiency but you still won't get great efficiency without gelatinization.

These are issues related to starch conversion. If you are just adding a small amount of wheat for flavor and foam-stabilizing proteins then it may not be worth your time to deal with this issue. You do not need gelatinization to enjoy either of these benefits of wheat.
Heck yeah I blog about homebrewing: Brain Sparging on Brewing

Offline narvin

  • Brewmaster General
  • *******
  • Posts: 2255
  • Baltimore
    • View Profile
Re: Unmalted wheat, cereal mash or no?
« Reply #7 on: August 19, 2015, 02:25:26 PM »
Whole grains have a higher gelatinization temperature than starch as a whole. Whole wheat gelatinizes at temperatures closer to a boil while wheat starch easily gelatinizes around mash temperatures. This is why wheat is known for giving terrible efficiency. Adding to the problem the problem is that wheat is smaller and harder than malted barley so our mills are not normally set to effectively crush it so you get poor surface area from milling the wheat.

+1

A fine crush will take care of the issues mentioned above, because the wheat starches themselves do gelatinize at mash temps.  Also, soft white wheat has fewer proteins and more carbohydrates, so I'd suggest this variety unless you want to do a protein rest.

I had an old corona mill, which is actually designed to be a flour mill, and I could crush wheat berries to almost a flour with minimal effort.  And by minimal, I mean "I'm sweating my ass off and feel like I'm going to have a heart attack" after 4 pounds.  Now I have the kitchenaid flour mill attachment, and can do about 4 pounds in 10 minutes. 
Please do not reply if your[sic] an evil alien!
Thanks

Offline reverseapachemaster

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 3135
    • View Profile
    • Brain Sparging on Brewing
Re: Unmalted wheat, cereal mash or no?
« Reply #8 on: August 20, 2015, 05:19:40 PM »
I had an old corona mill, which is actually designed to be a flour mill, and I could crush wheat berries to almost a flour with minimal effort.  And by minimal, I mean "I'm sweating my ass off and feel like I'm going to have a heart attack" after 4 pounds.  Now I have the kitchenaid flour mill attachment, and can do about 4 pounds in 10 minutes.

Remove the handle assembly, insert a bolt in its place and drive it with a drill.

From what I understand the newer KitchenAids have plastic gears inside. I declined to get the mill attachment myself for fear that the hard wheat berries would put too much strain on the plastic gears and considerably shorten the life of the unit. Not so much a problem with white wheat but I tend to use a lot of red wheat which is like milling gravel.
Heck yeah I blog about homebrewing: Brain Sparging on Brewing

Offline smokeymcb

  • Cellarman
  • **
  • Posts: 39
  • The Cooker of the Foods
    • View Profile
Re: Unmalted wheat, cereal mash or no?
« Reply #9 on: August 21, 2015, 12:44:39 AM »
Great info going on here guys and thanks for the links!

All I'm after with the wheat is the foam proteins, no gravity points or flavours really.  So maybe I'll just mash it as opposed to pre-cooking.  As for the wheat, all I know is that it was listed as "raw brewers wheat".  I bought 5kg in the last local group buy on a whim lol, thought I might brew a wheat beer with some but who knows...

One other thing, whats a good percentage of wheat to add to a beer to help with foam stability but not to add to the flavour substantially?  I was going to go with around 5% (I think it was) and hope for the best but you guys probably know better?

Thanks again!
Anyone got a lighter??

Rob C.