Malted Wheat Vs Flaked Wheat – What’s The Difference?

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Malted wheat and flaked wheat are both popularly used in the home brewing of beer, but using the two different kinds of wheat can give you different results.

Understanding the difference between the two can help you better use them properly to make various brews, and help you learn more about home brewing overall. 

So what is the difference between malted wheat and flaked wheat? Malted wheat, as the name suggests, is a malted, fully-modified grain. Flaked wheat, on the other hand, is not malted, and requires more work to extract the potential sugar content. These and other differences impact the resulting brew.

Home-brewing is a science, after all, and the more information you have, the better equipped you will be.

The Difference Between Malted Wheat and Flaked Wheat

Malted wheat has been fully modified, and is malted grain. Flaked wheat is not malted, and when brewing with it, you will need to put in extra work to extract its sugar content.

The sugar content in flaked wheat is considerably lower than that of malted wheat. However, flaked wheat contains more starch and has higher levels of protein than malted wheat.

Flaked Wheat 

Flaked wheat has all the benefits of unmalted wheat, but in a flaked form which is easier to work with. It has a very strong grain flavor and is the color of light straw.

It is popularly used in Belgian beers, because it adds a deeper flavor as well as cloudiness to a brew, and it improves head formation. 

The starch in flaked wheat is pre-gelatinized, so you do not need to use a separate cereal mash usually. However, as the protein content of flaked wheat is high, you might need a protein rest in some cases.

Flaked wheat

Flaked wheat produces less sweet, and fuller-bodied beers, compared to malted wheat. This makes it a great choice if you want a crisper, refreshing beer.

For lambic beers, at least 40% raw flaked wheat is used, and Belgian beers are often made from a blend of unmalted and malted wheat.

Flaked wheat is much easier to handle than normal raw grain, as it requires no milling. It can be directly added into the barley malt in any mash.

While it is very well suited for drier, crisper beers, it is important to remember that flaked wheat is much more expensive than raw wheat.

Malted Wheat 

Most commonly, brewing wheat is malted. The grain is steeped in cold water and allowed to germinate when it is then carefully dried.

It then undergoes a process that allows natural enzymes to break down carbohydrates into simple sugars for the fermentation process.

Malted wheat is often used to make weissbiers, which contain up to 70 percent of wheat malt. When used to brew beer, malted wheat gives a lighter body than barley malt does, and gives a refreshing touch of acidity. 

Malted wheat

The issue of using malted wheat is that it has a relatively high glucan and protein content, which can lead to lauter problems during brewing. However, brewhouses have all come up with their own tricks and steps to deal with these problems.

Malted wheat is the second most common grain used in brewing, after barley malt. Brews made with malted wheat are often suited to be paired with lighter dishes, and the beers usually have a honey-orange color.

However, while this honey-orange color is the traditional color of malted wheat beer, there are some brews made today which are darker malt beers. But like all other beers, each brewhouse will have its own specific blend.

Related Questions

We hope this short guide to malted and flaked wheat has helped you with any home brewing needs – or satisfied any plain old curiosity. We do have a few related questions for you to check out as well.

Does Malted Wheat Have Enzymes?

The malting process in wheat creates enzymes. It does not work to convert starches to sugars, so instead, mashing needs to be done to do this. 

What is Torrified Wheat?

Torrified wheat is pre-gelatinized and unmalted brewer wheat, which can be used as a cereal grain in the mash and can be used to replace malted wheat. It has a slightly toasted flavor.

Conclusion – Malted Wheat Vs Flaked Wheat

The main difference between malted wheat and flaked wheat is that flaked wheat is not malted. It does not have the same sugar and protein content as malted wheat. Along with other properties, this difference results in a different type of brew.

Understanding the different types of kinds of wheat to use for brewing is the first step to making your own beers at home. It takes the right grains to make the right beers!

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