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Old 06-12-2008, 02:31 PM   #1
Shawn Hargreaves
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Default Beginner questions about wheat conversion

I've been brewing extract for nearly a year, and am now planning my first steps into the world of partial mashing. I want to try a Belgian Wit, being a fan of that style, and as it seems a good example of something I cannot achieve with extract alone.

My current plan goes something like this:

Partial mash (30 mins @150f):

- 1 lb flaked wheat
- 1/2 lb malted barley (6 row?)
- 1/2 lb acidulated malt
- 4 oz flaked oats

And then add 4 lb wheat malt extract for the boil.

Does this seem like a sane approach? I'm thinking the acidulated malt will help reach the desired sourness, but am a little worried it might be too much.

So here's the thing I don't understand. I've been reading what Mr Papazian has to say about the process of mashing, where he explains that the enzymes necessary to convert starch to sugar are present in barley, but not in wheat. He says barley contains enough enzymes to convert in theory up to 40% of additional adjuncts, but recommends that most homebrewers limit themselves to about 20% adjuncts.

Is that correct? If so, am I being hopelessly overambitious in planning to convert a 50/50 mix of barley and wheat?

In that case, how does wheat beer even work, as I see many recipes using far more wheat than barley?

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Old 06-12-2008, 05:05 PM   #2
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Your approach looks fine. Your terminology is incorrect though. This process is referred to as "steeping" as you're making a "tea" from the crushed grains. You're not converting them.

A PM approach would be to add, say, 3 lbs base malt to the above grains and holding the grains at 150 for 60-90 minutes. This would be mashing.

Just go for it - it will make good beer!

Edit: The what malt is a mix or barley and wheat in differing proportions (depending on the manufacturer). Usually something like 55% barley 45% wheat.

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Old 06-12-2008, 06:19 PM   #3
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I would say to try to bump the base malt up to about 3lbs too.

You need the enzymes in the malt to convert the starches in not only the flaked wheat, but the oats and the acidualted malt too.

Flaked wheat contains no enzymes, but malted wheat does. And, if you use 6-row, you may be able to get away with less base malt since 6-row contains more enzymes than 2-row or malted wheat for that matter.

30 minutes might not be enough to convert all the startch. Most people mash for 60minutes. You can check for conversion by doing a simple iodine test.

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Old 06-12-2008, 06:40 PM   #4
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We have had extensive conversations about this before but... Acidulated malt WILL NOT ADD ANY SOURNESS to your beer, I tested it too. It is designed to lower the mash PH of bohemian pilsners and other very light beers to comply with the German purity law by not having to add any brewing salts to get the PH in line with what it shoud be to provide proper conversion.

I would not use any 6-row, adjuncts are corn and rice, not wheat. A true partial mash for this style would be a few pounds of pilsner malt, and a pound or so of wheat. IMO Flaked oats do not belong in the recipe, they will add more mouthfeel than is appropraite for the style. A good wit will be around 50/50 - 70/30 wheat/barley, with corriander and orange peel, and 1 bittering addition of a noble type hop.

Wits do not contain any sourness, but that acidulated malt won't give you any anyway. If you want sourness, they produce lactic acid that you can add directly, or I believe it is WYeast that makes a Berliner Weiss yeast/bacteria strain that will sour your brew.

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Old 06-12-2008, 07:07 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ilikestuff View Post
I would not use any 6-row, adjuncts are corn and rice, not wheat. A true partial mash for this style would be a few pounds of pilsner malt, and a pound or so of wheat. IMO Flaked oats do not belong in the recipe, they will add more mouthfeel than is appropraite for the style. A good wit will be around 50/50 - 70/30 wheat/barley, with corriander and orange peel, and 1 bittering addition of a noble type hop.

Wits do not contain any sourness, but that acidulated malt won't give you any anyway. If you want sourness, they produce lactic acid that you can add directly, or I believe it is WYeast that makes a Berliner Weiss yeast/bacteria strain that will sour your brew.
Any unmalted grain is an adjunct.

Oats are a very common ingredient in Belgian Wits (see Brewing Classic Styles as well as the Jamil Show episode on Wits). I would say they are even a traditional ingredient but I have no source for this.

Am sure the OP was adding the acid malt to achieve the 'tartness' sometimes seen in Wits. I think this is all yeast derived, I don't think you will need to supplement to achieve it.
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