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Old 11-06-2013, 07:29 AM   #1
les2point0
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Default Mash question on wit

Tomorrow I am brewing a Belgian Wit. I am relatively new to all grain and I have never made a wheat. I use a converted 10 Gallon cooler, and have been reading about protein rests and whatnot and how brewing wheats with a cooler is difficult. I need some advice because I would realli like this to come out well and I'm having some harsh anxiety about it. My recipe is as follows:

5# Belgian 2 row
5# White Wheat
1 # Torrified Wheat
1# Rice hulls

1 oz Crystal @ 60

Wyeast 3944 w/out starter (I already don't feel good about this)

Is there any advice you can give? At this point I have only used single infusion mashes, which have come out great, but I am a little clueless on step mashing and decoctions and would just like to be guided in the right direction. Thanks for any help you guys can give thanks!

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Old 11-06-2013, 01:18 PM   #2
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I've brewed a couple wheats/wits and I haven't done a protein rest. They come out hazy from the wheat proteins, but that's what I wanted in my finished beer. I will qualify my experience in that I've not brewed a wheat beer with more than 50% wheat as your recipe indicates. And I would start your starter today / tonight. If you can get at least 12 - 18 hours ahead of your brew, your yeast will be happier.

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Old 11-06-2013, 02:02 PM   #3
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Wheat can be a difficult grain to work with. The kernels are small and hard so you may need to crush twice to break them down. If you do that though, the mash will be sticky and difficult to drain. Wheat beers may be a good reason to try BIAB since you have a larger filter area and can force the wort out if it is too sticky. You wouldn't need the rice hulls then.

If you do decide to continue with a conventional mash tun, search for the proper way to do a beta glucan rest as the will eliminate some of the stickiness.

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Old 11-06-2013, 02:24 PM   #4
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Is that Raw White Wheat or White Wheat Malt? If it's malted then there's nothing for you to worry about. Your wit can be accomplished in a single step infusion without much trouble (especially since you'll be using rice hulls).

If it's raw white wheat then your best chance of no trouble is to do a cereal mash. I did a 50% raw wheat wit over the summer with a cereal mash and it came out splendid. Between the protein rest, cereal mash, and regular sacc mash rest, the mash was less sticky than 100% base malt. I assume this was largely in part due to the protein rest.

My cereal mash was on the stove and used this schedule (water:grist ratios):
---Include 1/2 lb of 2row/6row for cereal mash
---1:1 protein rest @ 122F for 20 min
---2:1 saccharification rest @ 154F for 20 min
---bring to boil for 30-60 minutes until it get really gooey, stirring frequently (add water if needed)

After the cereal mash was completed, it was mixed with my remaining grist which was already in my cooler at protein rest for 15 minutes. The temperature was all brought up to my main sacc rest of 154F using additional hot water. I was not overly concerned about water:grist ratio in the MLT as I was about hitting proper sacc rest temp. Give your rest an additional 15-30 minutes (75-90 min) to ensure proper conversion.

Drain and away you go.

The hardest part for me was knowing when to start the main barley on protein rest so that when the cereal mash was done and ready so was the protein rest. To simplify this next time, I think I'll just start the protein rest right as I pull the cereal mash off the heat. Then just wait the 10-20 minutes.

It was easier than I've explained, but definitely added time to the overall brewday by about 1.5 hours.

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Old 11-06-2013, 02:26 PM   #5
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The BIAB approach may be the easiest for you. But what I've always done is to step-mash in my kettle, applying heat to reach the rest temperatures. I now have a kettle fitted with a ball valve and screen, but I used to just ladle the mash into my homemade 2-bucket later tun, you could do the same with the cooler. This link will tell you all about the protein rest and beta-glucan rest : http://www.howtobrew.com/section3/chapter14-4.html

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Old 11-06-2013, 02:51 PM   #6
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I have 10 gallon igloo with mesh tube and have not had a problem with the mash (at least not for a while. Make mistakes and learn from them). Rice hulls will assist u greatly. I would anticipate maybe a couple of points dropped for efficiency. Usually I am around 72%, however it's not uncommon for me to get 68-70% when making a wit. No need for cereal mash because u are using flaked wheat (unless the wheat u are using is raw)- in fact I usually go with equal pilsner & flaked wheat and maybe 10% wheat. Half a pound flaked oats goes nice too. I also throw in 2-3 oz of acid malt- gives it a slight tang. I think protein rest isn't necessary but I usually do one here (might assist the flaked wheat). Mash 149-150*. I always use a starter. For every liquid yeast. Ferment initially at slightly cooler side -63-65*. Then after 2 days let it climb to 70*.
Be gentle with the orange peel and coriander. I usually do 2 additions- 5 minutes with 1/4-1/2 oz of each and around the same for steeping at flameout. (5-6 gallon batches). Again stay on the lower side at first. It might not seem like it but a total of 1/2 oz each of peel & coriander will go a long way

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Old 11-06-2013, 11:11 PM   #7
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I love wheats, and do quite a few. 3 suggestions...

1. Don't worry about the protein rest
2. Be sure to throw in a handful of rice hulls
3. Drink them young.

Good luck and happy brewing!

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Old 11-09-2013, 05:43 PM   #8
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Okay you guys, thanks a bunch for all the help! I feel like I did just about everything wrong and its churning great. I added a pound of honey to the boil because I batch sparged and those runnings seemed pretty thin, I wound up with 1.058 OG, so sounds like my efficency was pretty good. I also didn't do a starter, I just let the Wyeast churn for awhile in the package, and that carboy freakin exploded in about three hours! It's going nuts right now, the only problem is I use brewtarget, and it's telling me the recipe is cloying, but I'm really not very worried about it. Thakns for all the help you guys!

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