Wheat for Beer Brewing Easy Guide

In this article, we will be talking about wheat and its many forms that are relevant for the brewer. It’s fair to say that wheat comes in many forms that can be useful to the brewer. We understand that when compared to malting barley, wheat is much less reliable in terms of yield prediction in malted form. This is simply because there are no brewing-specific breeding programs for wheat. It is mostly sold for food and is geared towards that market rather than a brewing market. Keep this in mind when your numbers are off next time when you are using wheat.

If you are still interested in brewing and more try our American Brown Ale & Making your own Malt article which should keep you busy.

Raw wheat grains and wheat plant placed on the palm of a hand.
Credit: https://www.fdbusiness.com/global-wheat-production-down-in-2018/

Malting Wheat

Malting wheat is a much harder process compared to malting barley. For brewing standard wheat there’s regular wheat in its common form. In the malting, process wheat possesses the enzymes required for starch conversion to sugars. During the mash, malted wheat is usually used in grain bill ratios of up to 70 %.

The Germans actually have a great law that says a wheat beer has to be at least 50 % wheat. Regular malted wheat comes in 2 forms.

  • Regular wheat malt or red wheat
  • White wheat contains more protein.
Different types of grains with wheat plants.
Credit: https://www.graintogain.com/difference-between-barley-malt-and-grain/

Types of Wheat in beer brewing

Malted wheat is used in smaller amounts in certain beer styles to aid in body and head retention in some cases. It will produce haze if clarity methods or finings are not used. Due to the malting process, wheat end flavor is less pronounced compared to unmalted variants. So if you desire a truer flavor then use regular varieties.

They are to be used alongside a base as they have not been malted. As such their starches cant be converted in your mash to sugars on their own. They will produce fermentable sugars when used alongside a natural malt. Because the malt will provide the enzymes in the mash required for the conversion of the starches to sugars.

A bowl of wheat kernels.
Credit: https://www.merchant-gourmet.com/food-discoveries/ingredient/wheatberries/

Raw wheat can be difficult to mill because it’s very tough and hard. Regular usage is usually up to 50 % in certain beer styles. Its often featured in Belgium beer styles.

Torrified Wheat has been through a heating process to open the kernels which aid in conversion time and gives it a high yield compared to raw wheat. It’s supplied as whole kernels so needs to be milled. But it’s nice and soft so milling is not a problem. Regular usage is 5 to 10 % of the total grain bill.

Flaked Wheat has been steamed and rolled which greatly improves its ability to be converted into sugars. It doesn’t require milling but it can give problems in a mash. This can be improved by using either rice or oat hulls which is great advice for using. Regular usage is 5 to 10 %.

We would recommend that you try it all out yourself and find out what is right for you. Cheers.

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