Do they "Malt" wheat used in wheat beers?

Obviously barley is malted, but what about wheat? Is that “malted” as well, or simply crushed? Just curious.

Wheat, and also rye, is malted for fermentation. Barley, wheat, and rye can be unmalted, like oats, for steeping adding color, body, and flavor addition.

Pretty much any grain can be used malted or unmalted in beer, but barley and wheat are mostly used malted in brewing.
Belgian wits and sometimes lambics will use unmalted wheat, but most “wheat” beers use malted.

Malted wheat (for a hefeweizen) is malted.
Flaked wheat and raw wheat (for a wit, or a lambic) is not.
I’m not sure about torrified wheat.

Torrified wheat is unmalted.

Soooooo… then wheat used in a Hefe would NOT be malted, yes? …I could work with a local wheat farmer where I live and get wheat from him, crush it as needed, and use it in my Hefe’s???

The wheats for a Hefe are malted.

You can certainly use unmalted wheat in just about any wheat beer, up to moderate amounts. Maybe 25-30% of the grist? Modern malts have enough diastatic power to convert other non-malted grains in your grist. The amount really depends on the specific malts used, but flaked wheat, flaked rye, and corn are often used in conjunction with base malt. Go ahead and experiment with local wheat - I think it’s a great idea! Just keep it at moderate amounts and you’ll still get good conversion.

Malting is usually done for two purposes:

  1. activate enzymes in the grain that will be used to convert the starch to sugar
  2. change the flavor or color of the resultant wort

As porkchop points out, when using modern malts, there is plenty of extra enzymes present, so you can mix a reasonable amount of unmalted grain with malted grain and still get good conversion. And because wheat adds very little to the flavor or color profile of a beer (unless roasted), the unmalted shouldn’t make too big a difference in the finished product.

There is one thing that will be very different though. Raw wheat can be very gummy and hard to mill if it isn’t totally dried. You might want to test milling it before you commit to doing a big batch.

Malted wheat says “malted wheat” on it. Unmalted wheat doesn’t.
The end

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