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Old 06-20-2014, 02:27 PM   #1
tdexterc
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Default Low efficiency issues with large % wheat bills

Hey guys, I have done a number of beers which use a low % wheat bill which have come out just fine, and many AG batches with good efficiency, but I've also done 2 hefeweizens now, each with a 50% wheat bill. They both came out at around 55% efficiency... Usually I hit around 75-78% no problem with my setup, and I only ever have problems on efficiency when brewing with large amounts of wheat. For most beers I do a single infusion mash for about 60-90 minutes at about 150-152 degrees. I also always use rice hulls with a large wheat % and never get a stuck sparge. Does anybody else have any problems with getting efficiency from wheat? I know decoction mashing is common with hefes which I have not started doing yet. What else could I be doing wrong? I only run my grains through the mill once at my LHBS, and somebody said this could be the culprit due to the different size/shape of wheat kernel vs barley, and suggested that I run the wheat through a second time to crush it more (LHBS frowns on adjusting the roller width, but they might make an exception). Could this be my problem? I've also never done any water testing/additives other than filter my well water and never had any conversion issues. Could I be lacking minerals in there which contribute to a poor conversion with wheat? Any insight would be greatly appreciated!

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Old 06-20-2014, 02:57 PM   #2
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My hefe just came in around 60% too. Interested to see some responses.


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Old 06-20-2014, 03:49 PM   #3
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I'll be brewing my first all-grain hefe next, so no experience yet. But a BYO article http://byo.com/stories/article/indic...-from-the-pros states "another suggestion is to maintain a coarse grind on your wheat malt and malted barley. This might sacrifice some yield, but it will prevent you from pulverizing your wheat malt into fine powder, which will set like concrete during the sparge. More important, the larger barley husks will create a thicker filter bed." This sounds like a finer crush wouldn't be a good idea. Hope this helps.

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Old 06-20-2014, 03:58 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ncbrewer View Post
I'll be brewing my first all-grain hefe next, so no experience yet. But a BYO article http://byo.com/stories/article/indic...-from-the-pros states "another suggestion is to maintain a coarse grind on your wheat malt and malted barley. This might sacrifice some yield, but it will prevent you from pulverizing your wheat malt into fine powder, which will set like concrete during the sparge. More important, the larger barley husks will create a thicker filter bed." This sounds like a finer crush wouldn't be a good idea. Hope this helps.
But it doesn't address the efficiency question unless the OP and 2nd poster both actually heeded this advice.

Did you guys coarse crush your wheat?

I don't have an answer, but I'm looking forward to seeing what people come up with, because I recently did 3 different batches of Saison all with lots of flaked wheat, and while not as low as you guys did, I missed my extraction numbers on all three batches.
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Old 06-20-2014, 04:01 PM   #5
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Yes, I also have 60%-esque efficiency when brewing hefeweizens. The last time I tried one was before I had my own grain mill, so I would like to give a finer crush (and a healthy mass of rice hulls, of course) a shot. I remember being told by my LHBS that wheat tends to form doughballs much more than other grains, so a good mix with the paddle every 15 minutes or so is also in my future. Other than that, I dunno. Like everything, try, try again (until you get bored by failure, then move on).

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Old 06-20-2014, 04:14 PM   #6
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Yes I did do a coarse crush with rice hulls, and I've never had any issues with getting a stuck sparge, even without touching the grainbed during the mash. Having never had any sparge issues, I think i'm going to send my wheat through the mill a second time the next time I brew with it and see if it helps at all. Still very interested in hearing from others. It's good to know that I'm not alone in having wheat conversion issues!

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Old 06-20-2014, 04:22 PM   #7
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I would say my wheat was rather chunky. I left my mill set at .035 and stirred like crazy. I didn't feel any clumps.


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Old 06-20-2014, 11:26 PM   #8
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Default Low efficiency issues with large % wheat bills

I think the wheat is a smaller kernel, and likely is not getting adequately crushed to yield good efficiency. I think some crush the wheat separately at a finer setting.

That's what I would do if not so lazy...haha. For a dollar I choose to let an additional pound of wheat free.


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