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Old 03-08-2010, 04:00 PM   #1
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Default Question on brewing with raw rye

I get a lot of free grain, and picked up about 5 lbs of rye. This is raw, unmalted, uncrushed rye grains. I would like to do a partial mash Rye/Wheat with them. Would there be enough enzymes in other malts to convert the raw rye into a usable form, or am I out of luck here.
If it helps, the setup I use for partial mashing can hold about 4 lbs of grain in 1.75 gal of water, it is the same setup that is featured in the BYO magazine on countertop partial mashing.

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Old 03-08-2010, 05:22 PM   #2
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Like any raw grain you’ll need to gelatinize the starches before mashing. This involves grinding the rye and then boiling it in plenty of water. After that you can mash it with an enzymatic (malted) grain, the base grain you select will determine how much rye you can covert. No more rye than 2:1 in favor of the malted grain is probably the safest way to go, although a pale American malt (especially 6-row) can handle even more.

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Old 03-08-2010, 09:16 PM   #3
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I have been looking around the net, and I found rye gelitinizes starting at 122F to 140F and finishes at 158F to 170F. If I was going to mash at 152-155F for 60 minutes, would that not be enough to gelatinize the rye, or does it really need to be boiled? What if I left the first mash in for 90 minutes for extra time for the enzymes to do their thing. Also, I have 6 row pale malt, which has more enzymatic power (I think I got this right ), would this be better than using 2 row pale?

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Old 03-09-2010, 12:28 PM   #4
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The issue is those numbers are for pure starch, not cracked grains. If you've ever used flour to thicken a stew or sauce you've seen this in action since the full thickening doesn't happen until it reaches a boil (pure corn starch on the other hand thickens fine well below the boil).

The 6-row is a good choice for the extra enzumes, and the extra husk material will make dealing with the sticky rye easier as well. That said before the starch is gelatinized the enzymes won't do a thing.

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Old 03-09-2010, 05:49 PM   #5
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I got the information from here: http://www.winning-homebrew.com/cereal-mash.html.
The part that interests me is: If you want to do it the hard way, and for some the "fun" way, begin with whole rice or corn grits instead of flaked rice or flaked maize. A mash to gelatinize the grains usually isn't required for unmalted barley, wheat, or rye since the gelatization temperatures for these grains is within the same temperature range as the saccharification range of malted barley.
It seems this is from John Palmers book.

I am not going to argue with you here, as I have listened and enjoyed your topics on several podcasts, and don't doubt that you know what you are talking about, but for me, to just grind the grains as fine as possible and let them mash without the extra effort would be much easier.
On the other hand, to do that and get no benefit from doing it would be a big waste of time.

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Old 03-09-2010, 06:12 PM   #6
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Note in step 3 they suggest boiling the cereal portion of the mash before adding it back to the main mash (where the bulk of the malted/enzymatic grains are), this is in addition to holding them in the suggested gelatinization temperature range.

You could certainly test it if you want to spend the time, just hold the cracked rye and water ~158 for 15 minutes and if it gets thick and creamy the starch has been gelatinized, if not boil it and see the difference.

You certainly won't hurt anything by skipping the gelatinization, you just won't get the same efficeincy you would have since starches are much harder to sparge than sugars (part of the reason that Lambics are sparged so hot) not much will make it to the wort.

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Old 03-09-2010, 06:22 PM   #7
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That is what is confusing me. The more I read that, it seems they are talking about corn and rice for the cereal mash part. In step 2, they say that the boil is not needed for the rye and list the mash temperatures for several grains.

I am going to give it a try without the boil, hold the mash a little longer (90 mins) and maybe bump the temperature up. Unfortunately I will not be able to compare the difference for a while, until I can do a cereal mash on more rye and have it kegged. It is only me drinking the stuff, so it might take a bit to get there.

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