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Old 05-19-2010, 07:28 PM   #1
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Default poor conversion with wheat malt?

Just finished brewing an American Wheat. I did a partial mash (using a small 3-gallon mash tun; not the bag method) with 2 lbs of pale malt and 2 lbs of wheat malt at 152F for 60 minutes. I normally get 70-75% efficiency, but if I am doing my math correctly, I think I only hit 57% with this mash. I did everything as I normally do, but this is the first time I've used this particular grist bill.

Does wheat malt need to be mashed longer or give poorer conversion?

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Old 05-19-2010, 08:04 PM   #2
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It may have been the sparge (batch or fly?), wheat malt doesn't have a husk so you might have had some channeling.

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Old 05-19-2010, 08:26 PM   #3
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batch - I figured 50% barley would have enough husk material especially with thorough mixing between batches. Perhaps I should have added some rice hulls, eh?


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Old 05-20-2010, 01:35 PM   #4
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batch - I figured 50% barley would have enough husk material especially with thorough mixing between batches. Perhaps I should have added some rice hulls, eh?
It depends on your system, but if you had a smooth runoff it probably wasn't to blame. Some places don't do a great job crushing wheat, the grains are a bit smaller so the mill should be tightened a bit before crushing. How did the crush look?
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Old 05-20-2010, 02:57 PM   #5
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It depends on your system, but if you had a smooth runoff it probably wasn't to blame. Some places don't do a great job crushing wheat, the grains are a bit smaller so the mill should be tightened a bit before crushing. How did the crush look?
I thought it looked fine, but I only looked at it cursorily - I had all the grain crushed together. I noticed too that my wort was pretty cloudy, even after chilling and adding to the fermenter. Is this "normal" when using this much wheat or is this an indication of unconverted starches? If it is starch, how will this impact my final product?
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Old 05-20-2010, 03:17 PM   #6
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It was probably just protein, I assume you did a single infusion mash? If it is starch the biggest risk is infection (wild microbes love starch), that said plenty of people add flour to their wits to give them a haze. You can pull a sample and add iodine to check for starch if you want.

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Old 05-20-2010, 09:11 PM   #7
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It was probably just protein, I assume you did a single infusion mash? If it is starch the biggest risk is infection (wild microbes love starch), that said plenty of people add flour to their wits to give them a haze. You can pull a sample and add iodine to check for starch if you want.
Picked up some iodine tincture on my way home today. No starch present in the fermenting beer. So I got full conversion, but not a lot of extraction. Lesson learned. I was shooting for a SG of ~1.050 and hopped accordingly, so I hope at an OG of 1.043 it won't be too hoppy!
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Old 05-21-2010, 05:15 PM   #8
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You know I had this same problem on a wheat bock I was trying to do (all grain) and ended up with the about the same efficiency.

I also ground all the grains together and tested for conversion. I'm wondering if the crush is the answer. I'll grind seperatly next time.

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Old 05-21-2010, 05:56 PM   #9
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You know I had this same problem on a wheat bock I was trying to do (all grain) and ended up with the about the same efficiency.

I also ground all the grains together and tested for conversion. I'm wondering if the crush is the answer. I'll grind seperatly next time.
That's actually my thought now too. Next time I try something like this I'm going to have my LHBS crush the wheat twice, separately from the barley.
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