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Efficiency Issue with First All Grain Wheat Beer

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bigemadrid

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Brewed my first all grain wheat beer last night and my OG came out terribly low at 1.031

4 pounds Malted Wheat
4 pounds Pilsner Malt
.5 pounds Aromatic Malt
.5 pounds Munich Malt

Mashed for an hour at 152 and used all proper volumes. I knew wheat presents an issue with mashes, so I used a pound of rice hulls. BeerSmith calculated my efficient to 49% I have been getting 70-78% on my setup.

Thoughts? In a panic and not wanting a 3.7% German Heff I pitched 3/4 pound sugar into primary for a boost.
 

RM-MN

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Malted wheat is reported to be problematic because the kernels are smaller and harder so they don't crush well and they have no husk to form the filter bed so you need to add something like rice hulls to replace the hulls. People have reported better efficiency by wetting the wheat malt a bit before crushing to soften the kernels and also adjusting the mill for a finer crush.
 
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bigemadrid

bigemadrid

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Very true- the brewshop has a fine mill for grinding up wheat malts though and I used it.
 

highgravitybacon

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I noticed this yesterday on a brew. I had a wort with about 25% wheat malt. The crush I get with barley normally gets me somewhere around 75-78% efficiency. But with the wheat in mix, it fell to about 70% which is enough to get me to notice.

What was happening was that the barley was crushed normally. The wheat on the other hand is a touch smaller and since it has no husk to catch on the mill, using a Corona type mill, some of it was falling through or not getting crushed nearly enough. Plus, being harder, I think it forced the plates apart just a little bit more than the barley which contributed to the poor crush.

In the future, I'll do one of the following: crush the barley first at the standard setting, then crush the wheat at a tighter setting, or double mill the wheat and do the wheat first. It looks like if the wheat and barley are mixed together, the wheat malt pushes the plates farther apart which causes some barley to fall through the mill poorly crushed.

The other option is to lower the extract % to account for the decreased conversion on the wheat and just use more of it as a result.

It sounds like this is an issue with both roller mills and corona type plate mills as well. But the design of the corona mill seems to make this even more of an issue due to the inherent wiggle in the low cost clone.
 

juggaleo

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I'm pretty sure it's because wheat has a lower amount of diastic enzymes. If you use a half a pound or a whole pound of 6 row in place of one pound of your other base malt it will help the efficiency because 6 row has more enzymes and helps to convert the wheat malt. I read that somwhere (probably complete joy) and also had a conversation with staff at my lhbs about it.
 

highgravitybacon

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I'm pretty sure it's because wheat has a lower amount of diastic enzymes. If you use a half a pound or a whole pound of 6 row in place of one pound of your other base malt it will help the efficiency because 6 row has more enzymes and helps to convert the wheat malt. I read that somwhere (probably complete joy) and also had a conversation with staff at my lhbs about it.
Typical malt analysis from Briess White Wheat puts the diastatic power at 160, which is at the higher end of all malts. It's on par with a well modified 2 row or maybe 6 row. The other malt I used at Best Malz Pilsen, which is something like 100, along with 10% aromatic which might be in the 50-70 range.
 

juggaleo

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Maybe its because me and dude at lhbs have the 1980's edition of the complete joy
 

juggaleo

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I guess ill try crushing my wheat separately next time.. I've been compensating for low wheat efficiency with extra grain and extra 6 row every brew
 
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