June 20, 2006

Wheat beer mashing

A commenter to this post asked me about mashing wheat grains in with the barley. My initial response was that it shouldn't be more than 50% or of the total grain bill. However, I forgot one or two things in the couple of years since I made an all-grain wheat beer. Here's an update:

Most malted barleys these days are modified to the point where a simple infusion mash will work just fine(except for beers requiring a decoction mash like a dopplebock). However, adding wheat malt to the mix alters things somewhat, owing to wheat malt's extremely high protein content. You should therefore add a protein rest to mashes containing wheat malt. 30 minutes or so at 122F should be sufficient. This rest will break down the largest proteins, while leaving some of the smaller ones, which will contribute to head retention.

What, you want more details? Okay, here's an example mashing schedule for a wheat beer:

1) Add 1 quart plus 1 cup water around 127F to every pound of grain(all types) and stir with a paddle of some type. The temperature should level off around 122F. Keep at that temp for about 20-30 minutes by sticking the whole mess in an over on low, keeping a low flame under your mash kettle, or my tossing the whole mess into an insulated cooler for the required duration. This is called the protein rest.

2) Heat the mash up to between 150-155 degrees and hold there for 60-70 minutes. This is the sacharification rest, where the long branch-chain sugars get converted into smaller, fermentable sugars.

3) Mash out by bringing the temperature of the mash to 170F for about 5 minutes. This stopped the enzymatic conversion of the starches into fermentable sugars.

I'll stop there for now, as I have no desire to go into sparging and lautering.

I'm reminded that I haven't posted anything in my Brewing Your Beer series lately. I promise to get back to it soon.

Posted by Physics Geek at June 20, 2006 09:49 PM | TrackBack StumbleUpon Toolbar Stumble It!
Comments

I'm about to order a keg from Sabco so I can step mash using direct heat (my 7 gal. aluminum turkey fryer just doesn't cut it). I'm also constructing a mash paddle out of hard birch for just such a venture.

My biggest problem with step mashing to this point has been that my 10 gallon tun just won't hold enough water to step mash by adding hotter liquid. And I've yet to convince myself I could safely decoction mash. I'm not sure of the variables nor the method. I'd like to watch a video of someone doing it if one is available.

Posted by: Robb Allen at June 22, 2006 10:22 AM

I'd suggest the book Brewing Lager Beer by Greg Noonan. It'll give you the best advice on decoction mashing.

Let me check for more info.

Posted by: physics geek at June 22, 2006 10:24 PM