Wheat berry vs. wheat root?

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lanlanonearth

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Hello, I have this beginner's question that I've been pondering for a while.... why is rice malt syrup made with wheat grass (the berry part removed) yet beer is made with sprouted berries (the root part removed)? I had thought that amylose is primarily concentrated in the berry part so brewers remove the tail and just use the sprouted berries to make beer. But when looking at traditional rice malt syrup making, people specifically grow wheat grass to harvest and leave out the berries when fermenting. Is there any information on how specifically is amylose distributed in a sprouted grain in regards to the berry portion and the root/grass portion? Thank you for your thoughts
 

grampamark

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OK, I’m a little confused. My understanding is that rice syrup is usually made by mashing cereal rice with some malted grain, usually barley, to provide the enzymes to convert the rice starches to fermentable sugars. The liquid is then reduced to produce syrup. At the industrial scale, processed enzymes are used instead of malted grain.

The stems and roots of cereals are almost entirely cellulose. While it is possible to convert cellulose into fermentable sugars, it isn’t environmentally or economically feasible at this time. I’m not sure where the OP is getting his information.
 
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lanlanonearth

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Hi grampamark and marc1, sorry for the confusion. I was referring to a type of popular wheat malt syrup that’s made in China with wheatgrass and cooked sticky rice. I should have made it more clear.

From online videos, you will mostly see that it is being made with the entire wheatgrass (grown to 4–5cm tall) including the kernel, but other times people cut off just the grass part and discard the kernels, and this method is equally acceptable. (I will look for some images and post below)

This makes me confused because I think beer malt is made with the root only grown a small bit (like twice the kernel length), but the traditional Chinese wheat malt syrup recipe lets the grass grow out for a week until its wheatgrass, all green and tall. I just don't understand why is this necessary or desirable. What could this extra time and effort add to the product?

This Chinese wheat malt syrup needs to be made with cooked sticky rice so the wheat grass (with the kernel sometimes and without at other times) acts as the enzyme upon the cooked starch of the sticky rice. But beer mash just uses the shorter sprouted versions of the kernels with no additional material....

If the stems and roots are mostly cellulose, then why do they take these extra steps for this job? Shouldn't there be enough enzymatic activity when the kernels are just semi sprouted like beer mash is?
 
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lanlanonearth

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Screen Shot 2021-04-29 at 8.45.53 AM.png

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This is how much the wheat grass is allow to grow to. The above pictures show an example of the entire root+kernel being used while other methods call just the grass part being cut off discarding the seed kernel (I was only able to find written instruction on the latter so far).
 
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lanlanonearth

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I am also very confused to the fact that I read some malt made for beer requires that the sprouted bit be filtered out, as in corn malt, because when there is a hint of green to the sprout it can create a bitter taste not desirable. Yet the Chinese wheat malt syrup lets the grass grow full green without any of the bitter problem. It will end up as wheat malt syrup candy that's only sweet.
 

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Shouldn't there be enough enzymatic activity when the kernels are just semi sprouted like beer mash is?


yes? i do get a bit better conversion with my home-malt when i let the acrospire stick out a bit from the kernel. but i think that's just uneven sprouting, due to not be able to turn it often enough.
 

grampamark

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Well, I’ve been thinking about this tonight, and I can answer one of the OP’s questions.

As some of you know, I‘m a grain farmer, so I understand a little bit about the germination and early seedling development of cereals. The malting process starts out encouraging germination by alternatively soaking and draining the water from a batch of grain. During this tIme the grain is closely monitored for the first signs of germination. When the first, tiny, root is apparent, and has reached approximately the length of the kernel, the grain is slowly dried, in a process called kilning. This raises the temperature to about 150° F and removes almost all of the moisture from the grain. This stops the kernels from growing any further, preserving most of the starches to be converted later, during the mashing stage of the brewing process. If the plants continued to grow to the stage pictured above, there would be no enzymatic activity remaining. The starches would have been converted to sugars and amino acids which feed the growing plant until the root system is developed and the coleoptile (which becomes the stem) has emerged and leaves begin to develop, enabling photosynthesis to begin. So, in short, grain intended for brewing is allowed to germinate and grow just enough to indicate that the enzymes, which will later convert the starch to sugars, have been released. Stopping the plant development at that point preserves the maximum amount of convertible starches.

As for why the malt syrup process uses grain which has grown to the point of establishing second and third leaves-I’ve got nothing. At that point, with a developed root system and multiple leaves on a growing plant, there’s not going to be any enzymatic activity. And, using just the new growth, without what remains of the kernel, doesn’t appear to offer anything in the way of converting the rice starches. There has to be more to this process; maybe someone else can fill in the blanks.
 
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lanlanonearth

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marc1, here is a generic tutorial with the process explained in english: there are several such tutorials (most are in Chinese) and they are all very similar. I couldn't find any video that cuts the grass part off, but I do see text recipes (in Chinese) that have that step. I've also seen people asking about whether one should cut off the grass part or not, and the best answer was that it doesn't matter (though I don't know about the credibility of the answer chosen). This seems to be a very basic process that a lot of instructional tutorials are just home cooks without much special knowledge, unlike home brewing.
 
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lanlanonearth

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grampamark, thank you for the explanation. That's exactly how I had understood it. Very very confused.
 
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lanlanonearth

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Screen Shot 2021-04-29 at 2.35.04 PM.png

Okay, I found a video that talks about why the wheatgrass needs to be sprouted to 4-5cm long. According to this video, the alpha-amylase is not produced until a few days into the germination (reaching max amount in a little less than a week), while from the very beginning, beta-amylase is produced and stored in the seed without much change. The paper this video references is "Carbohydrate-degrading Enzymes in Germinating Wheat" by A. M. Corder and R. J. Henry.

Here is the video though it's all in Chinese
 

grampamark

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Here’s a link to a page of excerpts from a wide variety of publications relating to biochemistry, barley variety development, the malting and brewing processes, and the opportunity to purchase the books from which the excerpts were taken. Some of the basics found on this page may be helpful to the OP.

This is a forum for homebrewers, not candy makers. The OP may want to ask the admins to move this thread to the Brewing Science subforum where the members who geek out on the sciency bits of brewing can amaze and confuse him with the usual mix of science, opinion, and “my way or the highway” certitude. :cool:
 

bracconiere

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...... and I thought this was an easy question for the beginner....

see post #7? i think that grass stuff would make a foul tasting malt syrup.

what you want to do is soak the beries for about 2-3 hours, drain, then just water them enough to keep them wet. and aireated. then when the acrospire is just peaking out the end of the kernel. have a fan blow cool air over them until they hard to the squeeze. then kiln them at about 160-170f for 10-12 hours...

bust them up so the rootlets are loose, then blow the lighter rootlets away from the malt.

crush the now malt, then folow the rest of the videos instructions.
 
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lanlanonearth

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Hi bracconiere, I know it could be done with the way you describe, but this stuff has been made this way for hundreds of years, and the end result is deliciously sweet without a hint of foul tasting. That's what brought me here to ask this question which I thought someone may be knowledgable to answer.....
 

bracconiere

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Hi bracconiere, I know it could be done with the way you describe, but this stuff has been made this way for hundreds of years, and the end result is deliciously sweet without a hint of foul tasting. That's what brought me here to ask this question which I thought someone may be knowledgable to answer.....


well, i've been malting my own to make beer for 4-5 years now. but i always wondered why i get better effec. when i let it go a bit over. so i'm interested, maybe if i let like a pound of my 20lb batch go full sprout or something it would help....


i'm as interested as you! :mug:
 
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lanlanonearth

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Yes, bracconiere, I think I may need to just test out things myself as well. I thought this was an easy question but apparently not :p
 

bracconiere

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you inspired me!! i just put my malt to dry but put some aside to get a bit long in the tooth.....


dryingmalt.jpg


supersprout.jpg


we'll see if you're a genious, or it tastes like grass! i plan on letting the little bit in the cooller go until green.....
 

marc1

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you inspired me!! i just put my malt to dry but put some aside to get a bit long in the tooth.....


View attachment 727647

View attachment 727648

we'll see if you're a genious, or it tastes like grass! i plan on letting the little bit in the cooller go until green.....

It appears that they don't dry it when they sprout it. You could try mashing it with some rice. I could steal some from the chickens and try mashing it with rice...
:)
 
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lanlanonearth

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It appears that they don't dry it when they sprout it. You could try mashing it with some rice. I could steal some from the chickens and try mashing it with rice...
:)
I read from the paper that drying decreases the enzyme potential by like 2/3, so theoretically one would need three times the dried version compared to fresh.
 

bracconiere

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I read from the paper that drying decreases the enzyme potential by like 2/3, so theoretically one would need three times the dried version compared to fresh.


i think if you dry it with room temp air flow, it wouldn't lose that much diastatic power....if indeed wheat grass is the next big thing! :)
 

bracconiere

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Oh yes I think they used higher temperature.


yeah when cooking protiens/enzymes, you need to get rid of the water as gently as possible before putting them to the heat, otherwise they "shake" apart because the water makes them mobile.

edit: or maybe it's an equilibrium thing with ph and amides...but gotta dry first
 

bracconiere

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well i let the 3lbs set aside get to green shoot stage and ran them through the food proccesor. added to the mash, didn't really seem to make a dfioerence.

i just wanted to try it to see if maybe it would bump my effec up, out of a 20lb grain bill 3lbs probably wouldn't be enough to taste much, i didn't....
 
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