mashing wheat

What went wrong? Was this supposed to happen? Should I throw it out? What do I do now?

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mashing wheat

Postby brewmeisterintng » Sat Feb 11, 2006 8:38 pm

My brother brewed a batch of wheat beer two weeks ago and got a low OG. I brewed the same recipe today with the same results. We both shop at the same HBS hence the same wheat. It's a simple recipe:
3.5lbs Maris Otter
5.5lbs German Wheat
.5lbs Rice Hulls
1st mash at 153 degrees for 90 minutes
2nd mash at 158 degrees for 45 minutes
My mash tun has never been off before therefore either wheat mashes differently, Beer Tools is wrong or I got some poor quality wheat.
Beer Tools OG: 47 Brother's OG: 32 My OG: 33
Any help in solving this one would be greatly appreciated.
-James-
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Postby BillyBock » Sat Feb 11, 2006 10:33 pm

I doubt it's BeerTools, and I doubt it's the wheat. I would look first at your water source. What's your experience with your water source and it's effect on mahses? Do you know what your water chemistry is?
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Water and Wheat?

Postby brewmeisterintng » Sat Feb 11, 2006 11:54 pm

I don't have a chemical breakdown of my water but I double charcoal filter my water and have never had a problem in the past with conversion.
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Postby BillyBock » Sun Feb 12, 2006 5:45 am

I was reading up on wheat this morning and remembered that wheat responds better to multiple-step mashes. It'll convert in a single infusion, but with reduced efficiency.

Where I was going with the water question--Have you made pale beers with this water before, ie. pale or pilsner malt only? Pale mashes tend to need help with pH adjustment as opposed to mashes with specialty malts--unless your water source is low in alkaline buffering power. There's a product called 'pH52' made by Five-Star products (the same people that make Star-San) that will lock your mash in at pH 5.2 for max conversion efficiency.

Another place to look is the crush--if grains aren't cracked open enough to expose the starches, efficiency will suffer. Did the shop mill the grain for you? Wheat mills differently than barley--may need a slightly tighter setting. And it has no husk, but I see you added rice hulls to compensate.

Take a look at lautering technique--did you change procedure somehow? Did you runoff faster than normal?

Good luck,

Bill
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I will try again

Postby brewmeisterintng » Sun Feb 12, 2006 11:27 am

Yes, I have made pale batches before with no problem so I don't think that my water is an issue. I have even mashed pils malt and got a great conversion. My second attempt will include:
(1) Cracking the wheat separately
(2) Step infusion mashing
Thanks for the help.
-James-
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Milling Wheat with your Barley?

Postby Homer Simpson » Tue Apr 04, 2006 6:19 pm

James,

You should always crush your grains separately. Wheat malt is smaller than Barley and so the mill needs adjusting in order for it to crush the wheat malt well. It is also harder than barley malt so you likely didn't get a consistant enough crush to release the starches. If your mill doesn't have an adjustment perhaps try to buy the wheat already milled.

Second, wheat also has a lot more protein (Typically 14 - 18%) so you your step mash should include a protein rest at 120 degrees then up to 148-152 and then up to 158.

If you want to read more on wheat beers you can go to some of the online resourses like www.brewingtechniques.com. There is a great article about brewing wheat beers by Richard Bergen. Also try Brewery.org.

You could also try a decoction mashing for your wheat beer. It is a harder process but the results are a better conversion and an additional slight Caramelization can occur during the boil, giving a fuller flavour to the beer.

I hope this helps.

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Thanks for the advice

Postby brewmeisterintng » Fri Apr 07, 2006 7:13 am

They say that hind sight is 20/20 and you learn from your mistakes. I have learned a lot. Thanks for the responses and I will follow the guidance in search of that perfect wheat brew. Right now I have 5 gallons of wimpy wheat to consume.

James
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Low yield on wheat brew

Postby timlenahan » Tue Apr 11, 2006 1:13 am

It appears you are using unmalted wheat which is greater than 50% of the Grist. You probably don't have enough enzyme activity to modify the wheat starch and create extract from it. I would either change the ratio of malt to wheat to more like 50/50. The grind for the wheat should be separate from the malted barley and the grind also should be tight to remove the extract from the wheat kernel. Your problem could be combination of too much wheat and poor milling :?:

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