First non kit home brew wheat beer low OG

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VikeMan

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I could literally feel sticky sugar on the outside of the grain bag first try.
That's normal. You felt sticky wort. The amount that can stick to a grain bag is infinitesimal compared to the amount that (normally) gets absorbed by the grains.

Can you explain “stuck mash”?
Hmmm. I don't think I mentioned it, but sure. A stuck mash (more accurately a stuck lauter) is when wort, beyond normal grain absorption, remains on top of the grain bed and the flow stops.

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?
Unless you saw pools or wort left over on top of your grains, your mash didn't get stuck. But really, you didn't actually do a mash, because you had no enzymes.

if I eliminate the grain bag and stir the mash (cause grain bag didn’t allow actual stiring the grains wouldn’t that help?
All else being equal, just eliminating the grain bag won't really help mash efficiency. Stirring can help a little in some cases, but the bag shouldn't stop you from doing that. Again, and I can't stress this enough, your mind is chasing insignificant things right now.
 
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Brienmt

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Okay thank you.
I will assume most important for next attempt is milling the grain.
Thanks again.
 
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Brienmt

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So to adjust next batch:
Same grain bill as first batch with major exception being ...I will mill the wheat malt.
I will keep the grain in the grain bag for mash building (been referring to it as steeping don’t know the right phrase) starting with 5 gals of water a 152 degrees for one hour.

Question here ... if I have grains in a filled grain bag and can not stir the grain only the water around the bag, is the going to cause issues?

Next I plan to dump the grain bag into a 5 gallon false bottom cooler and run a remaining 3 gallons water (of the 8 total gallons) at 152 degrees thru that to sparge.

Next I plan to boil for 1hour tossing in 1oz of hops at 40 mins into the boil (this batch will use hallertau hops as it’s what I bought).

I should have 5 gallons wort at this point goes into a fermenter and pitch the wyeast 3068 and let ferment 14 days.
Next bottle adding carbonation drops.

See any flaws? Adjustments? Suggestions?
 

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Same grain bill as first batch with major exception being ...I will mill the wheat malt.
I will keep the grain in the grain bag for mash building (been referring to it as steeping don’t know the right phrase) starting with 5 gals of water a 152 degrees for one hour.
If you have a base malt that contains the enzymes necessary for converting starch to sugars, it is mashing. If you were to use extract as your fermentable and only wanted to add color and flavor with caramel malts or roasted malts, that is called steeping.

Question here ... if I have grains in a filled grain bag and can not stir the grain only the water around the bag, is the going to cause issues?
The bag you use should be large enough to fit the pot inside. That way when you put the bag inside the pot there will be plenty of room for stirring. I only stir when adding the grain so I get all the grain wet. It tends to make "doughballs" which are wet on the outside and dry within. Dry grain doesn't help.

Next I plan to dump the grain bag into a 5 gallon false bottom cooler and run a remaining 3 gallons water (of the 8 total gallons) at 152 degrees thru that to sparge.
Sparging can be done with water that is between room temp and 170F. Your conversion should be done when you start the sparge and all you are doing is rinsing out the sugars that are mixed with the grains.
 

marc1

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So to adjust next batch:
Same grain bill as first batch with major exception being ...I will mill the wheat malt.
I will keep the grain in the grain bag for mash building (been referring to it as steeping don’t know the right phrase) starting with 5 gals of water a 152 degrees for one hour.

Question here ... if I have grains in a filled grain bag and can not stir the grain only the water around the bag, is the going to cause issues?

Next I plan to dump the grain bag into a 5 gallon false bottom cooler and run a remaining 3 gallons water (of the 8 total gallons) at 152 degrees thru that to sparge.

Next I plan to boil for 1hour tossing in 1oz of hops at 40 mins into the boil (this batch will use hallertau hops as it’s what I bought).

I should have 5 gallons wort at this point goes into a fermenter and pitch the wyeast 3068 and let ferment 14 days.
Next bottle adding carbonation drops.

See any flaws? Adjustments? Suggestions?

You do not want a tight grain bag!

The bag should be very loose. Ideally it should be as big as (or a bit bigger than) the container that you are mashing/sparging in.

What are you mashing in - your brew pot? If you're going to be using a cooler anyway, mash in that for an hour to maintain temps, then remove the bag to your kettle with the sparge water. A loose bag all the way. Stir up the grains in the bag in your sparge water, then remove the bag and drain. Add the wort from your mash to the kettle, and begin your boil.

To simplify your grain bill try half wheat malt and half malted barley (pilsner or regular 2-row brewer's) - 5lbs of each, crushed.
 
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Brienmt

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Thanks the grain bag was not loose first batch so may have contributed to the issue. Although there’s much agreement that the lack of milling the wheat malt was the suspected culprit.
The 5 gal mash cooler I have fits the grain bag bag but is it bad to put 10lb grains in a five gal cooler that will Only hold 5 gal total? I am assuming water + grain will be a tight pack that’s why I was going to split it into two batches halving everything and then after sparge both batches into boil kettle?
Can I mash half in 5 gal cooler, sparge it into kettle, the leave it sit fit an hour while mashing second half and sparging prior to boiling the whole batch? Any I’ll effects with half the wort sitting for an hour while other half mashes?
 
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Brienmt

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Also just got rice hulls delivered.
How much rice hulls to 10lb grain mix?
 

marc1

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Thanks the grain bag was not loose first batch so may have contributed to the issue. Although there’s much agreement that the lack of milling the wheat malt was the suspected culprit.
The 5 gal mash cooler I have fits the grain bag bag but is it bad to put 10lb grains in a five gal cooler that will Only hold 5 gal total? I am assuming water + grain will be a tight pack that’s why I was going to split it into two batches halving everything and then after sparge both batches into boil kettle?
Can I mash half in 5 gal cooler, sparge it into kettle, the leave it sit fit an hour while mashing second half and sparging prior to boiling the whole batch? Any I’ll effects with half the wort sitting for an hour while other half mashes?
You can try the can I mash it tool here:

If you use less mash water you can just fit 4 gallons and 10lbs of grain in a 5 gallon cooler (with the bag you won't need the false bottom)
 

VikeMan

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Also just got rice hulls delivered.
How much rice hulls to 10lb grain mix?
For this grist?

4.5 lbs flaked barley
4.5lbs brides white wheat malt
1/2 lb flaked oats
1/2 lb flaked white wheat

Wish I could tell you. I've never heard of anyone doing a hefe with no barley malt whatsoever. And it's definitely not true to style for a hefeweizen. I think someone already recommended using pilsner malt instead of flaked barley. I would recommend that also. With a roughly 50/50 mix of pilsner and wheat malt, you might not need any rice hulls at all. Maybe half a pound at most.
 
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Brienmt

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Well I started with this recipe I found cause I really like German Hefeweizen

It called for ...
German Hefeweizen
Malt Base: 5 lbs Wheat Dry Malt Extract OR 6 lbs Wheat Liquid Malt Extract
Specialty Grains: ½ lb Flaked Wheat, 1/2 lb Flaked Oats
Hops: 1 oz Hallertau Hop Pellets(bittering)
Yeast: White Labs Wyeast 3068

I didn’t want to use extract want to all grain from scratch just because I’ve done the extract and seemed kinda like baking a cake from a box. So I wanted to do a real all raw Ingredients.

maybe bite off more than I could chew for such a new bee but it’s all good I like a challenge.
I’ll try the 1/2lb rice hulls see what happens.

thanks.
 
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Brienmt

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Real issue was the hydrometer reading (once I figured how to read it) came out low for the OG
So I tried to correct as stated above.
now I’m letting batch #1 ferment abs it shall be as it shall be.
This will be batch #2 just trying to figure out how to raise the OG in this batch.
Lots of great advice! Appreciate it all!
I would like to stick (at least on this batch) to a German Hefeweizen if I can possibly do it and get the OG numbers right.
but if it’s a waste to adjust (crushing the malt), perfecting a better sprage system, or sone other tweek... well this batch will be what it will be as well.
as far as raising initial OG, I think I’m hearing most say “crushing the wheat malt” will do that.
thanks again for all the great tips.
 

VikeMan

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It called for ...
German Hefeweizen
Malt Base: 5 lbs Wheat Dry Malt Extract OR 6 lbs Wheat Liquid Malt Extract
Specialty Grains: ½ lb Flaked Wheat, 1/2 lb Flaked Oats
Hops: 1 oz Hallertau Hop Pellets(bittering)
Yeast: White Labs Wyeast 3068
Just so you know, Wheat DME is made from 65% malted wheat and 45% malted barley (pilsner malt). If you want a traditional hefeweizen, the flaked barley in your adapted all grain recipe really isn't going to get you there. And FWIW, those "specialty grains" aren't traditional either, and are more of a Belgian Witbier thing. I suspect your original recipe writer was a little confused.

I’ll try the 1/2lb rice hulls see what happens.

thanks.
The 1/2 lb of rice hulls was a recommendation for a recipe where there is about half barley malt (e.g. pilsner malt) where the barley malt provides husks. Your flaked barley does not, and I suspect if you try the grain bill you are planning with only 1/2 lb of hulls, you'll be sad. How much rice hulls would you need? I dunno. A lot.
 

day_trippr

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fwiw, with high wheat and/or oat content for a 10 gallon batch (and 24+/- pounds of grain) I use 8 ounces of rice hulls as insurance.
I would think half of that would be plenty for a ~10 pound grain bill in a 5 gallon batch...

Cheers!
 
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Brienmt

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fwiw, with high wheat and/or oat content for a 10 gallon batch (and 24+/- pounds of grain) I use 8 ounces of rice hulls as insurance.
I would think half of that would be plenty for a ~10 pound grain bill in a 5 gallon batch...

Cheers!
Thanks... so add 4oz of rice hulls, sparge better, stir the mash with an open grain bag, and crush the wheat malt, and go with it?
 

VikeMan

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fwiw, with high wheat and/or oat content for a 10 gallon batch (and 24+/- pounds of grain) I use 8 ounces of rice hulls as insurance.
I would think half of that would be plenty for a ~10 pound grain bill in a 5 gallon batch...
You realize he plans to use zero grains that have husks, right?
 

day_trippr

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Hah! Sorry, I keep forgetting there's literally a huskless grain bill going on - I was still marveling about the uncrushed wheat ;)
So...yeah, I could see going with a half pound, and be sure to soak them in warm water and drain them before adding to the tun, because a half pound of hulls without treatment is going to screw up the mash thickness otherwise in such a small batch...

Cheers!
 
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Brienmt

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You realize he plans to use zero grains that have husks, right?
Doesn’t the wheat malt
You realize he plans to use zero grains that have husks, right?
So given 1/2 lb of rice hulls may not be enough with some the huskless grains, should I go with a whole pound of rice husks?
 

day_trippr

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Yes, wheat malt is huskless.
I had mentioned a quarter pound, then prompted wrt the huskless mash (!) went to a half pound.
A full pound would be well over the top, imo. Even my gooiest 10 gallon batches only use a pound...

Cheers!
 
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Brienmt

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Yes, wheat malt is huskless.
I had mentioned a quarter pound, then prompted wrt the huskless mash (!) went to a half pound.
A full pound would be well over the top, imo. Even my gooiest 10 gallon batches only use a pound...

Cheers!
Thanks! 1/2 pound of rice husks it shall be
 

VikeMan

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Yes, wheat malt is huskless.
I had mentioned a quarter pound, then prompted wrt the huskless mash (!) went to a half pound.
A full pound would be well over the top, imo. Even my gooiest 10 gallon batches only use a pound...
Here's what I'm thinking. I'm going to swag some numbers, for illustrative purposes. (All assuming a 5 gallon batch, with 10 lbs total malt) When we do a mash with "X" % of wheat malt, and get away with no rice hulls, it's because the husks from the barley malt have what we can call "excess lauter aid capacity." Since many people do 50/50 mixes without trouble, but many others do have trouble, let's call 50/50 the average max. Go to 60/40 (6 lbs wheat malt/4 lbs barley malt), and let's say we now need a quarter pound of rice hulls to avoid a stuck lauter. What this would mean is that one extra pound of wheat malt forced 0.25 pounds of rice hulls.

Now, with the above theory, how much would a 100% huskless grain batch need? 10 lbs huskless grains x 0.25 lbs rice hulls per pound of huskless grains = 2.5 lbs rice hulls? We can substitute any numbers we want in the "model," but the important point (if true) is that when we add rice hulls, it's to cover the amount of huskless grains over and above what the barley malt can handle with its own excess lauter aid capacity.
 
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