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Old 04-22-2010, 04:04 AM   #1
pipapat
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Default raw wheat

So i went to whole foods today to get raw wheat for my lambic and was unsure of what type too get. I saw nothing that said "raw" wheat. could someone help me out? The kid that helped me was no help at all.

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Old 04-22-2010, 01:55 PM   #2
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It will be a bin in the bulk grains section that says something like "Hard Red Wheat Berries".

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Old 04-22-2010, 04:24 PM   #3
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you might find flaked wheat at the supermarket. otherwise anything unmalted like torrified wheat would be good in terms of "raw".

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Old 06-23-2010, 01:10 AM   #4
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For a lambic you want soft red wheat, for a wit you want soft white wheat. Hard wheats are not ideal for brewing as they contain far too much protein.

Most wheats at the grocery stores will be labeled as such, "raw" sort of goes without saying as you can't find malted wheat anywhere other than brewing stores. Torrified and flaked are unmalted and can work in a pinch, but aren't technically raw.

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Old 06-23-2010, 04:53 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Tonedef131 View Post
For a lambic you want soft red wheat, for a wit you want soft white wheat. Hard wheats are not ideal for brewing as they contain far too much protein.
I disagree, I have made respectable lambics with both white and hard red wheat from a place like whole foods, Ive even used their flaked wheat in saisons with no stability issues, there maybe higher levels of protein in this type of wheat vs what you would buy as wheat made for malting, but it will all get eaten by the bugs in the end, and for "clean beers" protein rests help, continental malt of old in europe was extremely hard, mealy and loaded with protein and was why more rigorous brewing techniques like decoctions etc evolved

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Old 06-23-2010, 05:19 PM   #6
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I disagree, I have made respectable lambics with both white and hard red wheat from a place like whole foods, Ive even used their flaked wheat in saisons with no stability issues, their maybe higher levels of protein in this type of wheat vs what you would buy as wheat made for malting, but it will all get eaten by the bugs in the end, and for "clean beers" protein rests help, continental malt of old in europe was extremely hard, mealy and loaded with protein and was why more rigorous brewing techniques like decoctions etc evolved
They will work, but they are tougher to work with, give a lower yield, and are not traditionally what is used. Any raw wheat will require a rigorous mash involving a protein rest such as a turbid or cereal (decoctions are not traditionally used with styles featuring raw wheat), if you aren't doing those then you need to be using flaked/torrified. The high levels of proteins are avoided more for the difficulty they cause in sparging, and they are harder making it more difficult to mill. Most excess proteins left over in the wort will flake out in the 3+ hour boils you will be doing on lambics anyway, so stability isn't the issue.

If you are using any form of raw wheat you are doing better than most brewers, but the soft ones are what you should use given the choice.
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Old 06-23-2010, 06:32 PM   #7
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They will work, but they are tougher to work with, give a lower yield, and are not traditionally what is used. Any raw wheat will require a rigorous mash involving a protein rest such as a turbid or cereal (decoctions are not traditionally used with styles featuring raw wheat), if you aren't doing those then you need to be using flaked/torrified. The high levels of proteins are avoided more for the difficulty they cause in sparging, and they are harder making it more difficult to mill. Most excess proteins left over in the wort will flake out in the 3+ hour boils you will be doing on lambics anyway, so stability isn't the issue.

If you are using any form of raw wheat you are doing better than most brewers, but the soft ones are what you should use given the choice.
I havent noticed any difference in yield between brewing wheat and wheat made for bread, I have noticed a significant difference in head retention and density when using raw wheat berries from whole foods, and a slightly creamier flavor

I agree that a more rigorous mash schedule is needed, my reference to high protein mealy continental malt was to emphasize the fact that good beer has been made from malt with high protein contents, even though they have gotten significantly better, I would shy away from saying that they were not traditionally used however, as until recently there wasnt much in the way of testing on brewing grains and lambics etc have been around for a very long time, I would guess that much of the wheat/barley used in their production even around the turn of the last century could have had fairly high protein contents as they were typically farm run breweries, and whatever they grew when to both food and beer

In reference to milling, when I use the berries I typically grind them to flour and add that to the mash, I dont recommend this to just anyone but it works well for me and Ive had no sparging issues even without using rice hulls, higher temps when sparging lambics should help with this issue, although Ive done it on a saison using a normal mash out temp to no ill effects as well

I think if anyone goes to the flaked wheat route they really need to make sure to draw off a portion of the mash very early on to ensure a very starchy wort, if they dont I highly advise adding some maltodextrin and in fact I suggest doing this for 1st pitchings of a lambic pack or to help sour/funkify when fermenting in glass

When you mention that decoctions are not traditionally employed when using a raw wheat, that seems odd to me, as I thought that decoctions were used quite often on witbiers

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Old 06-24-2010, 01:43 AM   #8
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my reference to high protein mealy continental malt was to emphasize the fact that good beer has been made from malt with high protein contents, even though they have gotten significantly better, I would shy away from saying that they were not traditionally used however, as until recently there wasnt much in the way of testing on brewing grains and lambics etc have been around for a very long time, I would guess that much of the wheat/barley used in their production even around the turn of the last century could have had fairly high protein contents as they were typically farm run breweries, and whatever they grew when to both food and beer
I'm not talking about protein levels being lowered due to modern growing methods, I'm talking about specific cultivars of wheat. Modern growing methods actually favor higher protein levels as the majority of the wheat grown is for bread and the more gluten the better.

Soft wheats and hard wheats are different varieties of wheat, hard wheats are higher in protein and specifically gluten (about 80% of the proteins). Soft wheats are grown mostly for pastry flours, but coincidentally work better for brewing as well.

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When you mention that decoctions are not traditionally employed when using a raw wheat, that seems odd to me, as I thought that decoctions were used quite often on witbiers
I have never found a source that has indicated that. Decoction mashing is almost exclusively a German technique and all German wheat beers use malted wheat. Witbiers are a pretty tough style to get solid information on, Radical Brewing and Brewing with Wheat are the only sources I have found with reliable information on them. Mosher recommends a cereal mash and Hieronymus discusses turbid mashes being the most traditional.

If you wanted to try one, a decoction mash would probably improve extract yield over an infusion or turbid mash but less so than a cereal mash. I would keep your decoction boils as short as possible though, you don't really want any of the color or flavor development that are typical of decocted wort.
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Old 06-24-2010, 04:30 PM   #9
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I'm not talking about protein levels being lowered due to modern growing methods, I'm talking about specific cultivars of wheat. Modern growing methods actually favor higher protein levels as the majority of the wheat grown is for bread and the more gluten the better.

Soft wheats and hard wheats are different varieties of wheat, hard wheats are higher in protein and specifically gluten (about 80% of the proteins). Soft wheats are grown mostly for pastry flours, but coincidentally work better for brewing as well.
I understand that there is a difference in the variety of wheat that is grown for brewing vs bread, what I was saying was that analysis of these type things is relatively new and the fact that most lambic producers were farmhouses that brewed for additional income, its likely that whatever they were growing for food/feed was used in the brewing, in addition continental malt in the past was very hard mealy and full of protein, hence why more rigourous mashing techniques were developed

Couple that with, If would you rather grow equal amounts of brewing and bread wheat, have the bread wheat fields fail and have less food (if they even were that technical about it then) or just grow one variety take what you need for food, and use excess to make beer?

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I have never found a source that has indicated that. Decoction mashing is almost exclusively a German technique and all German wheat beers use malted wheat. Witbiers are a pretty tough style to get solid information on, Radical Brewing and Brewing with Wheat are the only sources I have found with reliable information on them. Mosher recommends a cereal mash and Hieronymus discusses turbid mashes being the most traditional.

If you wanted to try one, a decoction mash would probably improve extract yield over an infusion or turbid mash but less so than a cereal mash. I would keep your decoction boils as short as possible though, you don't really want any of the color or flavor development that are typical of decocted wort.
They are, but Belgium is right next door to Germany and some styles like the Gose are extremely similar, to think that they wouldnt have at least discussed brewing techniques would be strange

And I have done many decoctions on wits, I really enjoy the style and dont think it does anything to the beer, most belgian styles are open to a lot of interpretation as there were never really any rigid guidelines for the beers until BJCP etc showed up and started writing them for homebrewers/competitions.

Talking about decoctions, some will argue that you cant taste any difference side by side, both denny conn and jamil, I dont necessarily agree, I think it depends on the style and lighter beers like a berliner weiss or a wit you can really taste the difference a decoction makes, you should try one in a wit it really helps round out the ester profile of the beer
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