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First non kit home brew wheat beer low OG

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Brienmt

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Tried my first from scratch home brew.
I decided on an all grain attempt at Hefeweizen.
OG WAS WAY LOW SO I ADDED TWO TYPES OF SUGAR after 24 hours in fermenter ... did I screw up the batch?

Ingredients
4.5 lbs flaked barley
4.5lbs brides white wheat malt
1/2 lb flaked oats
1/2 lb flaked white wheat
1oz hallertau mittelfruh hops
Wyeast 3068
Grain mixed together
6.5 gallons spring water
Boiled down to approx 4.5 gallons wort
Held at 152 degrees one hour
Boiled 40 mins add hops boil another 20
Chill to 72 degrees
Wort test 65 degrees

1.140 starting hydrometer reading MISREAD
1.015 more accurate (lower than it should be for OG!)

Added second day 14 oz Boiled then chilled to 67 degrees Kari light corn syrup with vanilla extract to boost OG

Also added 1 1/3 cups sugar boiled in 1 1/3 cup distilled water

temp 68-70 for fermentation
 

IslandLizard

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Welcome to the HBT forum!

1.140 starting hydrometer reading MISREAD
1.015 more accurate (lower than it should be for OG!)
Neither makes much sense. What did you use to measure the OG?

Based on your grain bill you should have gotten around 1.050 OG (just eyeballing, 10# of grain in 5 gallons). That's IF you had good conversion in the mash. 1.015 points to barely any conversion, unless it was measured inaccurately.

If 1.015 is indeed your OG, you didn't have much conversion.
How and where was the grain milled?

I'm asking, because wheat malt kernels are rather small, and they may not have been sufficiently crushed, dropping through the mill gap going mostly uncrushed. It often happens, the gap should be set narrower to properly mill those small kernel grains/malts.

In this recipe the wheat malt is your only conversion engine in the mash. IOW, the wheat malt is the only diastatic malt present that provides diastatic enzymes which can convert starch into sugars during the mash. If the wheat malt wasn't crushed finely enough the enzymes couldn't be released to do their work.

All other grain in the recipe are (non-diastatic) adjuncts (e.g., flaked goods), meaning, they contain no mash enzymes. They rely on a diastatic malt being present to be converted.

I'm pretty sure that mash must have been thick and sticky, like glue, hard to lauter (drain), since there are no hulls in it whatsoever.
 

day_trippr

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I was curious as well about the net Lintner for such a grain bill - I can't recall seeing any recipes totally sans malted barley before so this was new to me.
And note that flaked barley, wheat and oats have negligible diastatic power, so it's all on the malted grains to provide conversion in the mash.

Per Briess their white wheat malt is up at 160° Lintner (surprised me, actually) which would be plenty to cover the grist, even with a less than stellar crush. If 40° Lintner for the total mashed grains is "just enough to get by", the wheat brings almost double that to the party if fully exposed and available, so there should be some elasticity there for a somewhat chunkier crush...

Cheers!
 

IslandLizard

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I was curious as well about the net Lintner for such a grain bill - I can't recall seeing any recipes totally sans malted barley before so this was new to me.
Regular Wheat malt generally has a pretty high diastatic power, in the order of 140-180°Lintner. Higher than many Pilsner malts.
So DP should not be an issue here, used at ~40%.

But the lack of any hulls is troublesome, to say the least. This grist mix does not look lauterable, as is.
 

day_trippr

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Well, yeah, I agree with all that flaked grains the mash might have eventually achieved the consistency of partially cured concrete :D
Depends on how the mash was performed. From the terse description I'm guessing it was no-sparge, so a few timely stirs could have set things on a decent course. If those didn't happen, you're right, there might have been a lot of unprocessed/trapped good stuff left behind...

Cheers!
 

A1sportsdad

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Flaked Barley is un-malted. I assume it does not really create much in the way of simple sugars. I typically see this added in smaller quantities as an adjunct not as the main malt. Am I wrong here?

I am wrong. In the presence of a malted grain, there is definitely starch conversion. Open mouth, insert foot.
 
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Camelot Legends

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Looks like a bad conversion. With all the adjuncts, maybe add some enzymes to the mash next time? Probably ruined?
 
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Brienmt

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Ugh ... hope not 😠
I did note lots of what I suspect was sugar on the grain mesh bag when I attempted to sparge. What’s the best way to tell if it is ruined at this point day two of ferment I did see the Krausen in the fermenter when I pitched the extra sugar.
 
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Brienmt

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I was curious as well about the net Lintner for such a grain bill - I can't recall seeing any recipes totally sans malted barley before so this was new to me.
And note that flaked barley, wheat and oats have negligible diastatic power, so it's all on the malted grains to provide conversion in the mash.

Per Briess their white wheat malt is up at 160° Lintner (surprised me, actually) which would be plenty to cover the grist, even with a less than stellar crush. If 40° Lintner for the total mashed grains is "just enough to get by", the wheat brings almost double that to the party if fully exposed and available, so there should be some elasticity there for a somewhat chunkier crush...

Cheers!
C4EA4458-E31B-419F-ADDA-8BF9682EF00C.jpeg
 

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Brienmt

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Yes very sticky couldn’t find rice hulls locally. Have to order for next batch.
is there a waymused a hydrometer at about 65 degrees to measure the OG.
Have Krausen in fermenter now.
is there a way to tell if it ruined at this point?
 
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Brienmt

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Should I run the white wheat malt thru the mill for next batch to crush it up?
 

Jeremy W

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Yes, agreed, the wheat malt should be milled. The mill gap setting should typically be tighter than malted barley
 
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Brienmt

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Are you saying that you boiled the 6.5 gallons down to 4.5 before mashing in? |Or did you boil you grains down, then held at 152? ||I'm a little confused by your process here...

Mashed at 152 degrees for an hour.

started with 6.5 gallons

boiled 1hour down to 4.5 wort
 

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It looks to me that your grain bill is far too complex. After many years failure turned success, I've settled on 60% wheat malt and 40% pils malt with a double handful of rice hulls. Just go with a 152 degree single infusion until you get a little more experience. The 3068 yeast is fine but ferment at 62 degrees.
 

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home brew store girl said no milling but I’m not too confident she was an expert.

thanks I’ll mill the malt for next batch.
Yeah, any grains need to be crushed before mashing - flaked do not, but they are crushed in the flaking process.
|Uncrushed the water can't get in to extract the starches / sugars.
 
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Brienmt

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Well, yeah, I agree with all that flaked grains the mash might have eventually achieved the consistency of partially cured concrete :D
Depends on how the mash was performed. From the terse description I'm guessing it was no-sparge, so a few timely stirs could have set things on a decent course. If those didn't happen, you're right, there might have been a lot of unprocessed/trapped good stuff left behind...

Cheers!
pretty sure my sparging was not the best. I tried holding the grain bag while slowly dumping heated wort over the bag. Think that may have been the root cause of not getting enough of the converted sugars out.

does that sound right?

I have been thinking need to come up with a better sparge process
It looks to me that your grain bill is far too complex. After many years failure turned success, I've settled on 60% wheat malt and 40% pils malt with a double handful of rice hulls. Just go with a 152 degree single infusion until you get a little more experience. The 3068 yeast is fine but ferment at 62 degrees.
thanks is there a way to tell if this batch is bad now?
 

day_trippr

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So, bottom line, the wheat malt was not crushed? If that's the case there's the answer to the poor extraction...
 
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Brienmt

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So, bottom line, the wheat malt was not crushed? If that's the case there's the answer to the poor extraction...
yes from what I see the briess wheat malt is not crushed.
interesting that it felt like so
Much sticky sugar was on the grain bag.
will mill the malt for the next batch.

thanks.
 

Jeremy W

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pretty sure my sparging was not the best. I tried holding the grain bag while slowly dumping heated wort over the bag. Think that may have been the root cause of not getting enough of the converted sugars out.

does that sound right?

I have been thinking need to come up with a better sparge process


thanks is there a way to tell if this batch is bad now?
Sounds like you're essentially doing no sparge, if you're trying to rinse the grains with wort, rather than sparge water. Overall though, make sure everything that isn't flaked (barley, oats, etc.) is crushed in the future.
 
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Brienmt

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Sounds like you're essentially doing no sparge, if you're trying to rinse the grains with wort, rather than sparge water. Overall though, make sure everything that isn't flaked (barley, oats, etc.) is crushed in the future.
Will do on next. Batch.
thanks
 

IslandLizard

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Pic of malt
Yup, those needs to be crushed before use, and quite finely at that. For wheat, a tight gap of around 0.025" works best.* After crushing it should resemble coarse grits and some finer powder, no large chunks, none should larger than 3/32", the majority should be between 1/16-3/32".

* Most homebrew stores will crush malt for you, but their mills are typically set quite coarse, usually borderline acceptable for barley and much too coarse for crushing wheat (and rye, and other small grain). When a mill gap is too wide for the kernels at hand, most drop through barely crushed. Milling wheat (and other small grain) too coarsely is often a cause of pour presence and/or pour conversion in the mash. That's what I was hinting at in my first post (#2).

If you're serious about homebrewing a mill ($100-200) is a good investment, although you could rely on your LHBS for most milling, such as Barley. I've read people milling in a blender, so that could be an option to mill your wheat (and rye) malt separately, nice and fine.

You really should also have a decent amount of barley in your grist (40% and up) as it provides husk material. And/or add rice hulls.

I recommend reading How to Brew, 4th Ed. by John Palmer. And HBT!
In a pinch read his online 1st edition. It's a bit dated, yet the principles remain valid.
 

grampamark

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thanks is there a way to tell if this batch is bad now?
You’re batch isn’t going to be good but it might be drinkable. The signs of fermentation you’re seeing are probably from the yeast eating the sugars you added to the fermenter. Your brew will probably taste a bit like sweetened breakfast cereal with just enough alcohol in it to give you a bit of a buzz if you gun down about a gallon of it in 5 minutes. :cool:
 

VikeMan

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home brew store girl said no milling but I’m not too confident she was an expert.
Home brew store girl owes you a refund on everything you bought from her for this batch.

Also, consider reading the book "How to Brew." And recommend it to home brew store girl too.
 

Jeremy W

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Not sure if you have a grain mill, but I'm very glad I took the plunge on buying a mill when I got into all-grain brewing. No need to rely on home brew store girl :)
 
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Brienmt

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Home brew store girl owes you a refund on everything you bought from her for this batch.

Also, consider reading the book "How to Brew." And recommend it to home brew store girl too.
will do my research... first try was a kit figured I’d move on, so this second try is experimental.
Read up a lot but it’s all new to me. So bound to hit and miss here and there.

thanks for all the advice.
 
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Brienmt

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Not sure if you have a grain mill, but I'm very glad I took the plunge on buying a mill when I got into all-grain brewing. No need to rely on home brew store girl :)
Not sure she was much of an expert, pleasant on the eyes as a plus 😆
 
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Brienmt

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So lessen the flaked and add more of the wheat malt?
 
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Brienmt

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I am Shooting for a Hefeweizen wheat beer.
All I’ve read says 30-70% wheat, 40-60% barley.

Think my biggest mistake was sparging with the wort instead of water, using a grain bag (that held a lot of the sugars in it), and using malt that wasn’t crushed.
I ordered a grain mill, and a false bottom for my 5 gal thermal cooler. I am thinking of going half the grain steeped in 152 degree water for an hour in the 5 gal cooler. Then sparging the grain in that thermos with 152 degree water water. Then transferring to boil kettle and doing then second half of the grain same way 152 degrees for an hour and sparging that into boil kettle. And boiling for an hour tossing in the hops at 40 mins Cooling to 65. Pitching the yeast and fermenting.
Does that sound like it’ll be successful?
 

day_trippr

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I would rank the uncrushed wheat malt as #1.
Given it was the only source of enzymes, as well as a major contributor of fermentation points and all.

As for splitting the mash between cooler and kettle...what is your thinking there?
I would do the entire mash in the cooler...

Cheers!
 

Jeremy W

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I am Shooting for a Hefeweizen wheat beer.
All I’ve read says 30-70% wheat, 40-60% barley.

Think my biggest mistake was sparging with the wort instead of water, using a grain bag (that held a lot of the sugars in it), and using malt that wasn’t crushed.
I ordered a grain mill, and a false bottom for my 5 gal thermal cooler. I am thinking of going half the grain steeped in 152 degree water for an hour in the 5 gal cooler. Then sparging the grain in that thermos with 152 degree water water. Then transferring to boil kettle and doing then second half of the grain same way 152 degrees for an hour and sparging that into boil kettle. And boiling for an hour tossing in the hops at 40 mins Cooling to 65. Pitching the yeast and fermenting.
Does that sound like it’ll be successful?
Also agree with @day_trippr regarding splitting the mash, doesn't make sense to me. Generally your sparge water should be around 170F, the intent is to rinse the fermentable sugars from the grains, not to continue to allow enzyme activity. I think it was mentioned earlier in this thread but "How to Brew" by John Palmer is a great read for all of this stuff as well.
 

VikeMan

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Think my biggest mistake was sparging with the wort instead of water, using a grain bag (that held a lot of the sugars in it), and using malt that wasn’t crushed.
"Sparging" with wort is really just a form of vorlauf. If done right, it's beneficial, but won't really improve mash efficiency. That said, lots of people do mashes without sparging. All ease being equal, they can't achieve the same kinds of mash efficiencies as spargers, but they can certainly get acceptable efficiency. This was not the problem.

Using a grain bag doesn't trap sugars. If your mash makes sugars, they are dissolved in the water, making wort. The dissolved sugars have no problems whatsoever passing through the mesh of a grain bag. The grains themselves do trap some wort. That happens whether you use a bag or not. This was not the problem.

As @day_trippr said, the problem, and its a really big one, was uncrushed grains. Since the base malt (wheat malt in this case) was not crushed, its enzymes were not enabled to convert its starches into sugars/dextrins. Not only that, but its enzymes also could not reach the starches from your other (unmalted, non-base) grains, which do not have enzymes of their own. Basically, there's very little (if anything) fermentable in your wort.

Don't get wrapped around the axle here. Crush your grains and give it another shot. There will be plenty to tweak later. There always is. But you need some kind of real baseline first.
 
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Brienmt

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I would rank the uncrushed wheat malt as #1.
Given it was the only source of enzymes, as well as a major contributor of fermentation points and all.

As for splitting the mash between cooler and kettle...what is your thinking there?
I would do the entire mash in the cooler...

Cheers!
It’s a five gallon cooler my thought was I have too much mash so split it up?
I also wanted to complete a better sparge, since I think I screwed that up. I could literally feel sticky sugar on the outside of the grain bag first try.
I am upping the starting water to 8 gals to account for boil off.
I’m getting rid of the grain bag, and using a false bottom in the cooler.
I also ordered rice hulls and a grain grinder.
question I have is can I steep the grains and sparge in two separate batches and then boil?
Will that mess up anything?
thanks for all the advice.
 
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Brienmt

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"Sparging" with wort is really just a form of vorlauf. If done right, it's beneficial, but won't really improve mash efficiency. That said, lots of people do mashes without sparging. All ease being equal, they can't achieve the same kinds of mash efficiencies as spargers, but they can certainly get acceptable efficiency. This was not the problem.

Using a grain bag doesn't trap sugars. If your mash makes sugars, they are dissolved in the water, making wort. The dissolved sugars have no problems whatsoever passing through the mesh of a grain bag. The grains themselves do trap some wort. That happens whether you use a bag or not. This was not the problem.

As @day_trippr said, the problem, and its a really big one, was uncrushed grains. Since the base malt (wheat malt in this case) was not crushed, its enzymes were not enabled to convert its starches into sugars/dextrins. Not only that, but its enzymes also could not reach the starches from your other (unmalted, non-base) grains, which do not have enzymes of their own. Basically, there's very little (if anything) fermentable in your wort.

Don't get wrapped around the axle here. Crush your grains and give it another shot. There will be plenty to tweak later. There always is. But you need some kind of real baseline first.
great points!
Can you explain “stuck mash”?
I’ve read up a bit and without the rice hulls, and all the flakes used all in the grain bag I was thinking maybe the mash got stuck? That is if stuck means what I think.
if I eliminate the grain bag and stir the mash (cause grain bag didn’t allow actual stiring the grains wouldn’t that help?
Been watching lots of videos and everyone stirs grain abs doesn’t use grain bag.
thanks for the great knowledge!
 
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