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Old 08-17-2009, 01:47 PM   #1
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Default Which wheat for a Lambic

Several hombrewers were discussing the proper type of wheat to use in an upcoming group brew. I know Wild Brews calls for unmalted wheat, but I have seen several recipes that use malted and flaked wheat. I would assume if I were to use malted wheat there would be little to no flavor change over the unmalted. This may also simplify the comnplex mashing schedule used in traditional lambic brews. Is there a good argument why you would not want to do this, aside from swaying from tradition?

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Old 08-17-2009, 01:53 PM   #2
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Flaked wheat is unmalted, as is torrified. Either of those would work but raw winter white wheat is traditional, that is what I use and I can get it at the local hippie co-op in bulk. I would not go with malted wheat, unmalted will leave some of the starches behind for the bugs to feed on for the next few years. You will want to do a turbid mash or the modified cereal mash from Wild Brews if you want to get the most out of your unmalted wheat though.

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Old 08-17-2009, 02:07 PM   #3
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Yeah, that is what we should do I guess, just not what I had hoped for. Our grain bill is 125 pounds, so it will be a very long brew day.

All part of the experience.

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Old 08-17-2009, 02:13 PM   #4
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All the more reason then, if you are making that much Lambic you may as well do it right. What is one long day in retrospect when you have that much lambic 3 years from now. I doubt you will regret doing it authentically...you might however regret taking a shortcut.

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Old 08-17-2009, 02:31 PM   #5
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Very true.

Thanks man.

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Old 08-17-2009, 03:18 PM   #6
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Hmmm.. 125#.... a bag of flaked wheat, a bag of rice hulls....

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Old 08-17-2009, 08:43 PM   #7
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You have to look at WHY unmalted wheat would make a difference in a lambic. Unmalted wheat, when combined with a turbid mash, puts much more starch into the wort than if you just mash malted wheat (which should theoretically contribute no starch if you are doing a normal mash with proper pH and temps and what not).

Subbing in flaked wheat shouldn't contribute much starch either, since the process of flaking gelatinizes the starch and makes it quite soluble in the mash.

So unmalted wheat is contributing something unique to either other choices, and it isn't necessarily related to the flavor of the grain itself, but to the effects it has on a long, bug infested fermentation.

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Old 08-17-2009, 09:15 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by ChrisKennedy View Post
Subbing in flaked wheat shouldn't contribute much starch either, since the process of flaking gelatinizes the starch and makes it quite soluble in the mash.

So unmalted wheat is contributing something unique to either other choices, and it isn't necessarily related to the flavor of the grain itself, but to the effects it has on a long, bug infested fermentation.
Wheat gelatinizes at mash temps anyway, so using raw in place of flaked won't give you much more starches in a single infusion mash. In order to get those starches in your wort you need to do a turbid mash, modified cereal mash, or as I have heard of some people doing add wheat flour to the boil.
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Old 08-18-2009, 04:52 PM   #9
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Wheat gelatinizes at mash temps anyway, so using raw in place of flaked won't give you much more starches in a single infusion mash.
While pure wheat starch will gelatinize around mash temps I don't think it is accurate to say that the starch in raw wheat will gelatinize during a mash. If you have ever used flour (which is ground much finer than you would grind the wheat for the mash) remember how little it thickens (gelatinizes) before it reaches a boil.
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