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Old 05-06-2012, 02:56 PM   #1
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Default Wheat wine - how does the raw wheat work?

I've found recipes like these: http://winemaking.jackkeller.net/reques79.asp

They call for raw wheat, without any enzymes or mashing. How does the starch convert? I'm not understanding how the yeast can use the raw wheat.

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Old 05-06-2012, 07:55 PM   #2
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It appears that they are using the wheat more as a flavoring agent than as a fermentable sugar source. I think that grain has to be malted before the starches are convertible anways?

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Old 05-06-2012, 08:13 PM   #3
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Some of the recipes call for a ton of wheat though, like 50%. I'm planning on brewing something similar, but I'm going to use wheat malt and do a proper mash. Just curious if there was anything else that could break down the starches, like maybe acidity?

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Old 05-06-2012, 08:20 PM   #4
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In all of those recipes from Jack Keller, the sugar is the main source of fermentables (and in one recipe, the juice concentrate), and the raisins provide some fermentables as well, while the wheat is just the flavor component.

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Old 05-06-2012, 08:35 PM   #5
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Thanks Yooper. That's what I had thought, just wanted to make sure. Any reason why what I described wouldn't work for those recipes?

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Old 05-06-2012, 08:49 PM   #6
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Thanks Yooper. That's what I had thought, just wanted to make sure. Any reason why what I described wouldn't work for those recipes?
No, I think it would work, but the I think the wines would be very different.

This is just conjecture, but think of the wheat as the flavor component, and not fermentable sugar. I guess like tea. If you mash it, convert the starch, and get sugars out of it and ferment that, you'll have a totally different effect than if you steeped the wine and fermented the sugars from the juice/sugar/raisins. Does that make sense? I know what I'm trying to say, but I think I'm doing a poor job of verbalizing (typerizing?) that.

If you mash, you'd probably need a lot less sugar as well because you might get 25-30 gravity points out of a pound of wheat malt. Since for most wines you want to be in the 1.085-1.110 area you may need to reduce the sugars. The raw wheat probably has very little in the way of any gravity points, maybe even 0.
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Old 05-06-2012, 10:31 PM   #7
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I guess I should explain more of what I'm trying to do. I'm aiming for a white, sparkling wine, with a bit of oak character. I'll be using 1116, and I'll be souring half the wort/must/whatever to provide a balance with the sweetness.

I've done this before on a 100% pale malt batch, and it turned out great, but I got too much pale malt character. I was thinking by using wheat it would be a more "neutral" base, and the raisins would give it a more vinous character. I was also thinking of using some amount of rice, too.

I don't know a ton about wine, as I'm more of a brewer, but I've done a fair amount of mead and am really interested in rustic country wines.

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Old 05-06-2012, 10:47 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nateo View Post
I guess I should explain more of what I'm trying to do. I'm aiming for a white, sparkling wine, with a bit of oak character. I'll be using 1116, and I'll be souring half the wort/must/whatever to provide a balance with the sweetness.

I've done this before on a 100% pale malt batch, and it turned out great, but I got too much pale malt character. I was thinking by using wheat it would be a more "neutral" base, and the raisins would give it a more vinous character. I was also thinking of using some amount of rice, too.

I don't know a ton about wine, as I'm more of a brewer, but I've done a fair amount of mead and am really interested in rustic country wines.
I've never done a rice wine, so I have no idea the outcome of that! But I make lots of other wines. I think one of the best neutral bases for fermentables is Welch's 100% Niagara grape juice and I'd probably go with a recipe using that instead of 2 pounds of sugar. It would still get a vinous character, but have a bit of flavor and some body. I'm not sure how much body/legs the wheat would provide, but the flavor should be more neutral that pale malt.

Another good base might be the "White Grape Concentrate" sold in winemaking shops. That would take the place of sugar and juice, depending on the size of the batch and the SG provided by the concentrate.
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Old 05-06-2012, 11:04 PM   #9
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I've never done a rice wine, so I have no idea the outcome of that! But I make lots of other wines. I think one of the best neutral bases for fermentables is Welch's 100% Niagara grape juice and I'd probably go with a recipe using that instead of 2 pounds of sugar. It would still get a vinous character, but have a bit of flavor and some body. I'm not sure how much body/legs the wheat would provide, but the flavor should be more neutral that pale malt.

Another good base might be the "White Grape Concentrate" sold in winemaking shops. That would take the place of sugar and juice, depending on the size of the batch and the SG provided by the concentrate.
Thanks for the advice. I'm not really excited about the concentrate from my LHBS. In the last batch, the acidity was really nicely balanced, so I don't want to use a lot of acidic juice and throw the balance off. If I do end up using rice, I guess I'll report back.

The first batch was a kludgy disaster, and I thought it would turn out horribly, but it turned out surprisingly well.
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Old 05-06-2012, 11:28 PM   #10
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The raw wheat just offers a different taste, consistency, and dynamic. You don't necessarily have to mash the wheat but can brew it the same as you would with barley.

Raw wheat beers are often associated with a refreshing summertime beer with a more hazy and organic feel to them. Mostly associated with Belgian, Bavarian, and some American wheat beers, these have a contract to brightly filtered industrial beers.

There's actually a whole subsection of brewing beers with wheat, and I feel like I may be rambling, but you can pretty much brew beer out of any malted grain. Just a different recipe for home brewing.

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