Easy Wheat Malting (Picture Guide)

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Hopphead

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So happy I found this thread! I purchased my Grandparents home and long story short I have 730lbs or 2 55 gal drums full of red wheat circa 1954 propped up on cinder blocks in the back of the cold storage room undisturbed for 63 years. A brewers barn find. Thanks to November for starting this thread. I'll try to sprout some and see if it's still good. It looks good and smells good - I have my fingers crossed - Cheers!
 
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bitteritdown

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Stored in cold/dry conditions seeds can sprout hundreds of years later. I see no reason why some of them wouldn't sprout, but the viability probably won't be 100%. As far as genetic difference from the red wheat of today... probably not much.

Why did they store that much wheat? Did they grind it for flour or malt it?
 

Hopphead

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Why did they store that much wheat? Did they grind it for flour or malt it?
They were Mormons. The church is big on emergency preparedness, I'm pretty sure if ask my LDS neighbors most of them have a rather large stash of wheat, water & canned goods. My guess is grind it for flour.
 

bitteritdown

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Don't put the lid on as the grain needs to breath after being drowned. :)
 

Shalenkur

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How did this turn out????? I've heard that wheat found in the great pyramids was still viable for sprouting.....:)
 
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Strange that you got chits but no sprouts. Did it start to smell sour at all during the process? Was it kept at a good room temperature?

The only time I've gotten chits but not sprouts are when I drowned the wheat cause I soaked it too long.

When you try again, try doing shorter soak and drain cycles but more of them. So, soak for 4 hours, drain and rest for 4, soak for four, drain and rest for 4, and so on until the chits appear and then continue.

Good luck and let us know

Edit - you could add a tiny bit of hydrogen peroxide to the water to help with the mold.
 

chefbrewski

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Fantastic. Just finished last soak and things are going as outlined. Destined for a lambic style brew that I'm pumped to start.
 

James.Breslin

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View attachment 550740 So happy I found this thread! I purchased my Grandparents home and long story short I have 730lbs or 2 55 gal drums full of red wheat circa 1954 propped up on cinder blocks in the back of the cold storage room undisturbed for 63 years. A brewers barn find. Thanks to November for starting this thread. I'll try to sprout some and see if it's still good. It looks good and smells good - I have my fingers crossed - Cheers!
You should think about having the grain tested for origin. Many of the wheat varities have been lost over time.
 

Moezart

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I have noticed a few posts recently regarding raw wheat. It seems that more than a few people either need malted wheat but cannot get it or suddenly find themselves with a bunch of raw wheat and don't know what to do with it (me).

I thought an easy guide to home malting wheat would be helpful for both instances. I put most of these techniques from a handful of guides online and adapted some of it from malting barley. These techniques are designed for people who want to malt small amounts on their counter tops (though I have included some info on scaling up). Here we go:

1. Get it together: First, get some raw wheat and weigh out the amount you want to start with. I've done this with both soft and hard versions of red and white varieties. I recommend you start with a pound and slowly work up until you're sure how much your equipment can handle at one time.

2. Wash: Depending on your source of wheat, washing may or may not be needed. It is pretty easy so I tend to do it either way. Just put your wheat in a container (I use the same container that I use in step 3) fill it with water, let it sit for a minute, skim any floating debris off, and then drain. I do this a couple times.

3. Soak: Place the washed wheat in a container with a lid that has enough room to hold the wheat filled with water about 2 inches above the wheat. It will expand a little so leave a little extra room. To give you an idea of size, 5 pounds of wheat takes up about 3 quarts of space. Cover the container and let it sit at room temperature for about 8 hours. Now, most guides will say that 8 hours is a must, and it is what I aim for. That said, I have done this with soaks that have lasted between 6 and 12 hours without a noticeable change. So if you miss the 8 hours mark don't panic, it is probably fine.

(Note: This picture is of 3 pounds of Soft White mixed with 2 pounds of Hard Red Wheat)


4. Drain: After soaking for 8 hours in step 3, drain the wheat and put the drained but still wet wheat back into the container and let it sit for 8 hours or so.

5. Soak: After resting for 8 hours, fill the container with the wheat and water again in the same manner as step 3 and let it sit again for 8 hours.

6. Drain and Sprout: After soaking for 8 hours, drain the wheat again. By this point the wheat should start to show signes of sprouting. there wheat should have a small white button or "chit" on the bottom of the kernel. this is where the sprout and wheat will grow out of later. For now, it will just look like a little white protrusion. After you drain the wheat this time, put the drained but still wet wheat into a wide shallow container to sprout. You need something large enough to hold the wheat spread out to about 1" to 3" thick. the thinner the wheat is spread the easier the next steps will be, but if you have time to do some extra work you can go a little thicker. I use a plastic 13"x9" sheet cake/brownie container with a lid for 3 pounds or less. I use 2 of them for 5 pounds. If you are going to go bigger than this, you should build a cement backer board malting couch, which has been discussed here before. Whatever you use, just remember that in this step the wheat will expand a fair amount so leave some extra space in your container.

7. Sprout: Cover your wheat and let it sit and sprout. This will usually take about 3 days at normal room temperatures. You should occasionally spritz the wheat with water to keep it moist but not wet. You should also stir the wheat regularly. The idea is to have all the wheat sprout at the same time. In my malting experiences, the wheat on the bottom tends to sprout faster. To prevent this, stir the wheat frequently. How frequently will depend on how thick your wheat is spread out. After a day or so, you should see rootlets and a small sprout growing out of the wheat. Note that this process will occur quicker in wheat than it does in barley (2-3 days instead of 4-6).



8. When to Dry: How long to let the wheat sprout will depend on a variety of conditions. Luckily, wheat is easier to tell when it is ready than barley since it is hull-less you can easily determine when the sprout is done. You want the sprout (the little shoot growing from the bottom of the kernel towards the top on the outside of the kernel which is not to be confused with the pair of small white roots also growing out of the bottom) to be 75% to 100% the length of the wheat. I like to pick up 10 random pieces and look at them. I usually call it quits when 8 or 9 of them meet that guideline.

(Note: this sprout is not quite ready, it is at about 50%. The sprout is the part growing along the top. It is thicker and greenish/white compared to the thin white rootlets.)


9. Drying: There are three ways most people dry malts. The main thing here is that drying wheat is different from barely in that wheat is dried entirely at a low temperature of 95F-110F:

A: Food Dehydrator: I got a cheap one from Wal-Mart. It has various temperature settings and actually holds a temp pretty well. Depending on how many trays yours has you should be able to do 3-5 pounds at a time. I just dump the wheat onto the trays, the roots tend to interlock and keeps the wheat from falling through the trays. My unit takes 8-14 hours to dry a batch depending on the amount and ambient conditions.

B: Oven: I have used this for barley but not wheat because the drying temperature is so much lower. It would be hard for wheat, but I mention it just in case you have no other option.

C: The Sun: I use this method when I want to do larger batches (25 pounds or so). To do this, I dump the malt onto a sheet of porous fabric (I use the material from a destroyed trampoline) and lay it out on the pavement under the hot summer Sun. You will need to either defend from pests (birds, dogs, that darn donkey that roams the area) or fold the fabric back over top of the grain. if you live in a hot arid place like I do, this should dry a large batch in about a day.

10. Almost Done. The malt is dried when the moisture content is about 2-6% of the starting weight. I usually just take a random kernel and chew on it and stop drying when the consistency is like commercial malt. Now you have to separate the sprouts and roots from the malt. I like to put the malt into a large bucket with a lid (like a home depot Homer Bucket), close the lid and shake the snot out of it. This should knock most of the roots and sprout off. Then I turn on a fan, use the wind, or use a shop-vac on blow and pour the malt from one bucket to another from a couple feet up. As the malt falls through the air stream the wind will carry the roots and sprouts away from the bucket that the malt lands in. Obviously, this will make a mess so do it outside.

11. All set. Now you should have wheat malt ready for your next project. Now the question will be asked: Does it work?

To find out the answer, I made a beer using (nearly) 100% home-malted wheat:



Makemake Wheat
OG: 1.055
FG: 1.009
IBU: 27.5
Color: 6.92 SRM
Alcohol: 6.03%ABV

6 pounds White Wheat Malt
4 Pounds Red Wheat Malt
8oz Honey Malt
1oz Sterling @ 60m
0.5oz Sterling @ 5m

I added 1 pound of rice hulls and did a 25m protein rest at 125F, a 30m rest at 140, and a 60m rest at 152. I fermented it with WYeast 2565 Kolsch with no starter.

I used BTP to compare my OG (1.055) with the theoretical gravity of a commercial wheat malt (Briess) and found my overall effeciency to be 77% (that's about 1% off from normal on my system). Obviously, the malting process worked since there were enough enzymes from the malting to get conversion.

The beer is fantastic; light and crisp but with a nice wheat backbone. It is still a little hazy, but it is still young so I expect it to fully clear in a few weeks. I'm not a big wheat beer guy (yeah, I know, there is 150pounds of wheat in the garage that says otherwise) but I still liked how it turned out. Nice for those warm days.

Hopefully someone finds this useful.
HI. This is a great read as I am attempting to malt wheat for the first time. Thank you.
I have been malting barley at home for about for years now, but I never had to cover it during the sprouting/germination phase. Does wheat have to be covered like you have mentioned in step 7? My understanding is that germination has to be done in well ventilated area so it does not get moldy?
Thank you.
 
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HI. This is a great read as I am attempting to malt wheat for the first time. Thank you.
I have been malting barley at home for about for years now, but I never had to cover it during the sprouting/germination phase. Does wheat have to be covered like you have mentioned in step 7? My understanding is that germination has to be done in well ventilated area so it does not get moldy?
Thank you.
I cover it just to keep stuff out of it. I've done large batches where the cover just consists of newspaper or cloth. Certainly, you don't need a cover depending on your environment. I frequently do this in my 'Arizona Room' so a cover keeps the birds, bugs, etc out. It's not necessary for sprouting. Without a cover you may have to spray it more often to keep the moisture right, but that's not a big deal.

I can't recall a batch ever getting mold on it.

Hope this helps.
 

Moezart

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I cover it just to keep stuff out of it. I've done large batches where the cover just consists of newspaper or cloth. Certainly, you don't need a cover depending on your environment. I frequently do this in my 'Arizona Room' so a cover keeps the birds, bugs, etc out. It's not necessary for sprouting. Without a cover you may have to spray it more often to keep the moisture right, but that's not a big deal.

I can't recall a batch ever getting mold on it.

Hope this helps.
Awesome!!! Thanks a lot for the reply. I actually finished malting the wheat and it came out great. I am, as we speak, brewing a wit bier.
I put in
8.5 lbs barley malt
6.5 lbs wheat malt
1.5 lbs rice hulls
1.5 lbs flaked oats.
Zest of 2 large oranges
2 la le spoon coriander seeds.

Problem is I am still not sure which yeast to use.
Options are US 05, US 04, mangrove Jack's M47, or Coopers brewing yeast.
Which one do you think would suit this recipe better?
Thanks a lot.
 

IslandLizard

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Awesome!!! Thanks a lot for the reply. I actually finished malting the wheat and it came out great. I am, as we speak, brewing a wit bier.
I put in
8.5 lbs barley malt
6.5 lbs wheat malt
1.5 lbs rice hulls
1.5 lbs flaked oats.
Zest of 2 large oranges
2 la le spoon coriander seeds.

Problem is I am still not sure which yeast to use.
Options are US 05, US 04, mangrove Jack's M47, or Coopers brewing yeast.
Which one do you think would suit this recipe better?
Thanks a lot.
If you're after a Witbier (which is Belgian) WY3944 (or WLP400) is a proper yeast to use.
In lieu of those, I'd use M47 to make it taste at least Belgiany. ;)
Otherwise, it's just a "wheat beer."

1.5# of rice hulls is way, way too much. 1/2 pound is plenty-plenty. You're just putting that in to lauter, right? Lautering should be a lesser issue since you're using malted wheat. A true Witbier uses 50% or more raw, unmalted wheat, and that gets gooey and gluey.

I'd be a little easier on the orange zest too. Maybe zest of one, you can always add more in the fermenter after you tasted it.
I use a sharp potato peeler and slice off thin 1" patches of zest.
 

Moezart

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If you're after a Witbier (which is Belgian) WY3944 (or WLP400) is a proper yeast to use.
In lieu of those, I'd use M47 to make it taste at least Belgiany. ;)
Otherwise, it's just a "wheat beer."

1.5# of rice hulls is way, way too much. 1/2 pound is plenty-plenty. You're just putting that in to lauter, right? Lautering should be a lesser issue since you're using malted wheat. A true Witbier uses 50% or more raw, unmalted wheat, and that gets gooey and gluey.

I'd be a little easier on the orange zest too. Maybe zest of one, you can always add more in the fermenter after you tasted it.
I use a sharp potato peeler and slice off thin 1" patches of zest.
HI,
Yes the rice was only used for lautering. I used that much because the wheat was not fully modified. I actually had a stuck sparge but only for the last couple of quarts though, wasn't bad at all. I considered M47 but then I am also worried about the fact that it is highly flocculant, would that be appropriate for the style?
Thanks.
 

IslandLizard

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HI,
Yes the rice was only used for lautering. I used that much because the wheat was not fully modified. I actually had a stuck sparge but only for the last couple of quarts though, wasn't bad at all. I considered M47 but then I am also worried about the fact that it is highly flocculant, would that be appropriate for the style?
Thanks.
I missed the part where you said:
I am, as we speak, brewing a wit bier.
Alright, 50% undermodified wheat and flaked oats could surely plug up your mash. Like my 60% rye beer took almost 2 hours to lauter, regardless of how much rice hulls I had added. A mash tun full of glue. Perpetual stirring and adding more hot water eventually broke it loose.

Sure, clarity is not to style for a Wit, which is not just due to the yeast, but the boat load of proteins and phenols (?) from the raw wheat that interact with the yeast, IIRC.

So which yeast did you pitch?
And how did your malted wheat taste? Did you use it wet?
 

Moezart

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Hi, I ended up pitching a rehydrate US 05 since that was recommended for American Wheat beers online.
15870404591584676593746503292974.jpg
15870406020495145801273241440019.jpg
15870404591584676593746503292974.jpg


To answer your second question, I am not sure if I am correct or not, but what I mean by under modified is that I put the malt in the drier when the acrospire was only half the length of the grain; I did not wait till it fully grew before drying it. I believe that is what under modified means, right?
 

IslandLizard

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what I mean by under modified is that I put the malt in the drier when the acrospire was only half the length of the grain; I did not wait till it fully grew before drying it. I believe that is what under modified means, right?
Yes, that's the definition of undermodified malt.
 

Jako

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I have noticed a few posts recently regarding raw wheat. It seems that more than a few people either need malted wheat but cannot get it or suddenly find themselves with a bunch of raw wheat and don't know what to do with it (me).

I thought an easy guide to home malting wheat would be helpful for both instances. I put most of these techniques from a handful of guides online and adapted some of it from malting barley. These techniques are designed for people who want to malt small amounts on their counter tops (though I have included some info on scaling up). Here we go:

1. Get it together: First, get some raw wheat and weigh out the amount you want to start with. I've done this with both soft and hard versions of red and white varieties. I recommend you start with a pound and slowly work up until you're sure how much your equipment can handle at one time.

2. Wash: Depending on your source of wheat, washing may or may not be needed. It is pretty easy so I tend to do it either way. Just put your wheat in a container (I use the same container that I use in step 3) fill it with water, let it sit for a minute, skim any floating debris off, and then drain. I do this a couple times.

3. Soak: Place the washed wheat in a container with a lid that has enough room to hold the wheat filled with water about 2 inches above the wheat. It will expand a little so leave a little extra room. To give you an idea of size, 5 pounds of wheat takes up about 3 quarts of space. Cover the container and let it sit at room temperature for about 8 hours. Now, most guides will say that 8 hours is a must, and it is what I aim for. That said, I have done this with soaks that have lasted between 6 and 12 hours without a noticeable change. So if you miss the 8 hours mark don't panic, it is probably fine.

(Note: This picture is of 3 pounds of Soft White mixed with 2 pounds of Hard Red Wheat)


4. Drain: After soaking for 8 hours in step 3, drain the wheat and put the drained but still wet wheat back into the container and let it sit for 8 hours or so.

5. Soak: After resting for 8 hours, fill the container with the wheat and water again in the same manner as step 3 and let it sit again for 8 hours.

6. Drain and Sprout: After soaking for 8 hours, drain the wheat again. By this point the wheat should start to show signes of sprouting. there wheat should have a small white button or "chit" on the bottom of the kernel. this is where the sprout and wheat will grow out of later. For now, it will just look like a little white protrusion. After you drain the wheat this time, put the drained but still wet wheat into a wide shallow container to sprout. You need something large enough to hold the wheat spread out to about 1" to 3" thick. the thinner the wheat is spread the easier the next steps will be, but if you have time to do some extra work you can go a little thicker. I use a plastic 13"x9" sheet cake/brownie container with a lid for 3 pounds or less. I use 2 of them for 5 pounds. If you are going to go bigger than this, you should build a cement backer board malting couch, which has been discussed here before. Whatever you use, just remember that in this step the wheat will expand a fair amount so leave some extra space in your container.

7. Sprout: Cover your wheat and let it sit and sprout. This will usually take about 3 days at normal room temperatures. You should occasionally spritz the wheat with water to keep it moist but not wet. You should also stir the wheat regularly. The idea is to have all the wheat sprout at the same time. In my malting experiences, the wheat on the bottom tends to sprout faster. To prevent this, stir the wheat frequently. How frequently will depend on how thick your wheat is spread out. After a day or so, you should see rootlets and a small sprout growing out of the wheat. Note that this process will occur quicker in wheat than it does in barley (2-3 days instead of 4-6).



8. When to Dry: How long to let the wheat sprout will depend on a variety of conditions. Luckily, wheat is easier to tell when it is ready than barley since it is hull-less you can easily determine when the sprout is done. You want the sprout (the little shoot growing from the bottom of the kernel towards the top on the outside of the kernel which is not to be confused with the pair of small white roots also growing out of the bottom) to be 75% to 100% the length of the wheat. I like to pick up 10 random pieces and look at them. I usually call it quits when 8 or 9 of them meet that guideline.

(Note: this sprout is not quite ready, it is at about 50%. The sprout is the part growing along the top. It is thicker and greenish/white compared to the thin white rootlets.)


9. Drying: There are three ways most people dry malts. The main thing here is that drying wheat is different from barely in that wheat is dried entirely at a low temperature of 95F-110F:
A: Food Dehydrator: I got a cheap one from Wal-Mart. It has various temperature settings and actually holds a temp pretty well. Depending on how many trays yours has you should be able to do 3-5 pounds at a time. I just dump the wheat onto the trays, the roots tend to interlock and keeps the wheat from falling through the trays. My unit takes 8-14 hours to dry a batch depending on the amount and ambient conditions.​
B: Oven: I have used this for barley but not wheat because the drying temperature is so much lower. It would be hard for wheat, but I mention it just in case you have no other option.​
C: The Sun: I use this method when I want to do larger batches (25 pounds or so). To do this, I dump the malt onto a sheet of porous fabric (I use the material from a destroyed trampoline) and lay it out on the pavement under the hot summer Sun. You will need to either defend from pests (birds, dogs, that darn donkey that roams the area) or fold the fabric back over top of the grain. if you live in a hot arid place like I do, this should dry a large batch in about a day.​

10. Almost Done. The malt is dried when the moisture content is about 2-6% of the starting weight. I usually just take a random kernel and chew on it and stop drying when the consistency is like commercial malt. Now you have to separate the sprouts and roots from the malt. I like to put the malt into a large bucket with a lid (like a home depot Homer Bucket), close the lid and shake the snot out of it. This should knock most of the roots and sprout off. Then I turn on a fan, use the wind, or use a shop-vac on blow and pour the malt from one bucket to another from a couple feet up. As the malt falls through the air stream the wind will carry the roots and sprouts away from the bucket that the malt lands in. Obviously, this will make a mess so do it outside.

11. All set. Now you should have wheat malt ready for your next project. Now the question will be asked: Does it work?

To find out the answer, I made a beer using (nearly) 100% home-malted wheat:



Makemake Wheat
OG: 1.055
FG: 1.009
IBU: 27.5
Color: 6.92 SRM
Alcohol: 6.03%ABV

6 pounds White Wheat Malt
4 Pounds Red Wheat Malt
8oz Honey Malt
1oz Sterling @ 60m
0.5oz Sterling @ 5m

I added 1 pound of rice hulls and did a 25m protein rest at 125F, a 30m rest at 140, and a 60m rest at 152. I fermented it with WYeast 2565 Kolsch with no starter.

I used BTP to compare my OG (1.055) with the theoretical gravity of a commercial wheat malt (Briess) and found my overall effeciency to be 77% (that's about 1% off from normal on my system). Obviously, the malting process worked since there were enough enzymes from the malting to get conversion.

The beer is fantastic; light and crisp but with a nice wheat backbone. It is still a little hazy, but it is still young so I expect it to fully clear in a few weeks. I'm not a big wheat beer guy (yeah, I know, there is 150pounds of wheat in the garage that says otherwise) but I still liked how it turned out. Nice for those warm days.

Hopefully someone finds this useful.
Local farmer is. Coming by this weekend and dropping off wheat. Thinking of buying myself some to malt
 
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