In looking for a new wheat beer recipe, I came upon the following: Improvisational Wheat

It mentions using 3 pounds of unmalted wheat, crushing separately, and boiling for 30 minutes.

What is the specific reason for using unmalted wheat, and what is the 30 minutes of boiling for?

up vote 7 down vote accepted

Unmalted Wheat is traditionally used in Belgian Wit beers. I have not experimented with this myself, but in this podcast about brewing wits, the brewer says that unmalted wheat provides a stronger flavor than malted.

Crushing and boiling separately is a cereal mash. You have to gelatinize the starches in the wheat so that sugar can be broken out during the mash. You can skip the cereal mash if you use flaked wheat or torrified wheat

  • just a note - not all wheat flakes are pregelatinized. "Instant" ones certainly are, ones avaliable in brewing stores mostly are (and you can ask), but ones that require boiling are still widely available, at least in some countries. If in doubt, it's safer to assume you do need cereal mash. – Mołot Jul 4 '16 at 22:28

Unmalted wheat provides a more "tart" wheat flavor to me, as compared to normal wheat malt. It also adds to foam retention and makes a very thick, creamy head on the beer. It will also make the beer quite cloudy if used in large percentages (more than, say, 15%).

Check out Hoegarden Wit, it has a nice luscious head and a creaminess that you can expect from using a lot of flaked wheat.

You don't have to boil the unmalted wheat. Extended protein rests will make the enzymes from your pilsner malt available to convert the wheat during sacchrification.

  • It's still important to heat the wheat to geletinization temps, or the starch won't be available for conversion. – FishesCycle May 25 '12 at 14:13
  • Wheat gelatinizes at mash temps (around 145F IIRC ) so a cereal mash isn't needed. – Denny Conn May 25 '12 at 16:02

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