hist-brewing: oats and wheat

Al Korzonas korz at xnet.com
Tue Sep 8 11:26:01 PDT 1998

Owen writes:

>malting oats is tough; also, it would not change the mash times experienced,
>as oats simply don't have the diastatic enzymes neccesary to convert large
>quantities of grain, malted or not. malting only converts non-soluble starch
>into soluble form. using rolled oats, or cooking cut oats, would give similer
>results, starch wise.

Malting also is important to the creation of one of the two diastatic
enzymes... I don't recall which and don't have my books here.  Either
alpha or beta amylase does not exist until the grains are malted.  Not
only does malting make more starch available for conversion (by breaking
down the protein matrix that constrains the starch), but there would be
a difference in the enzymes in the mash.  Note that beta amylase works
very slowly if alpha amylase is not around... alpha amylase breaks starches
and amylopectins down into smaller pieces... each break results in a doubling
(usually) of the number of sites that the beta amylase can work on (breaking
maltose molecules off the end).

Do you have a reference for the enzymatic power of oats?  I'm interested
in reading more about this... I'm planning to do a bunch of mashes with
all kinds of odd grains I can find at a local bulk food store.  I may
even try mashing non-grain starch sources... we'll see...

Dan wrote:
>Since you mention malted wheat...
>I was looking at the lab specs from Briess Malting and noticed
>that their Wheat Malt has a higher diastatic strength than their
>Pale Malt.  That runs contrary to the common assumption that
>Wheat Malt is low in enzymes.

Owen was right about this... someone probably incorrectly assumed
that because barley malt is typically part of a wheat beer mash,
this was due to enzymes.  Wheat malt does indeed have a higher
diastatic power than barley... typically the higher the protein
content, the higher the enzymatic power (enzymes ARE proteins).

Incidentally, I have not brewed with raw wheat yet, but Pierre Celis
says that he uses raw wheat (rather than malt) in his Wit because the
flavour is different.  Wheat malt would give the Wit a different
flavour than raw wheat.  I therefore, think that, in the interest of
historical accuracy, it would be very important to determine if the
author of the recipe indeed meant raw or malted grains (especially
given the roasty and smoky aromas/flavours common in malts prior to
the invention of coke and gas-fired kilns).


Al Korzonas, Palos Hills, IL
korz at xnet.com

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