The Magic of Wheat Malt

Wheat is an essential ingredient in the process, offering unique characteristics and flavors that can enhance the quality of a wide range of beers. Whether used as a base malt or as a smaller addition for foam stability, wheat malt adds depth and complexity to the final product.

One of the key advantages of using wheat malt is its ability to improve head retention and foam stability. When added at around 5% in lighter beers, wheat malt can significantly enhance the foam structure, providing a longer-lasting and more visually appealing head. This is particularly beneficial for styles such as lagers and pale ales, where a creamy and persistent foam is desirable.

In addition to its foam-enhancing properties, wheat malt also contributes its own unique flavors to the . When used as a base malt in wheat beers, it imparts a distinctive bready taste and a subtle citrus note. This combination of flavors creates a refreshing and complex profile that is characteristic of wheat-based brews. The creamy texture and doughy flavor of wheat malt can also add depth and richness to other beer styles, such as stouts and porters.

One important aspect to consider when using wheat malt is its enzyme content. Wheat malt contains diastatic enzymes, which help convert its starches into sugars during the mashing process. This enzymatic activity is crucial for the fermentation process, as it provides the necessary sugars for to convert into . The gentle kilning process used for wheat malt preserves these enzymes, ensuring optimal fermentation and flavor development in the final beer.

On the other hand, another type of wheat commonly used in brewing is torrefied wheat. Unlike malted wheat, torrefied wheat does not possess any enzymes due to the high temperatures reached during the torrefication process. This makes malted wheat the preferred choice when it comes to providing enzymatic activity in the mash.

Wheat malt is a versatile and valuable ingredient in the brewing world. Its ability to improve foam stability, contribute unique flavors, and provide enzymatic activity makes it an essential component in many beer styles. Whether used as a base malt or as a smaller addition for foam stability, wheat malt offers brewers the opportunity to create beers that are both visually appealing and full of flavor. So next time you're brewing, consider adding some wheat malt to elevate your beer to new heights.

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What Is A Wheat Malt?

Wheat malt is a type of malted grain that is commonly used in brewing. It is produced by germinating wheat and then drying it in a process called malting. This process allows the wheat to undergo enzymatic changes, which are crucial for the brewing process.

Wheat malt is the second most popular malted grain used in brewing, following barley malt. It is known for its unique characteristics and flavors that it imparts to the final beer product. Wheat malt is often used in the production of wheat beers, such as Hefeweizen, Witbier, and American Wheat.

Here are some key points about wheat malt:

1. Germination: The wheat grains are soaked in to initiate the germination process. During germination, the grain starts to sprout, and enzymes are activated.

2. Kilning: After germination, the wheat is dried in a kiln to stop the germination process. This helps in preserving the enzymes and converting starches into fermentable sugars.

3. Enzymatic activity: The germination process activates enzymes, such as amylase and protease, which break down starches and proteins in the grain. This enzymatic activity is important for the brewing process, as it helps in the conversion of starches into sugars that can be fermented by yeast.

4. Flavor profile: Wheat malt contributes to the overall flavor profile of the beer. It adds a subtle sweetness, smoothness, and a slightly tart or tangy character to the final product. Wheat beers are often described as having a refreshing and light taste, with a hint of bread-like or biscuity flavors.

5. Head retention: Wheat malt has high levels of proteins that contribute to improved head retention in beer. This means that the foam or head on top of the beer lasts longer and is more stable.

6. Adjunct or base malt: Wheat malt can be used as an adjunct or a base malt in brewing. As an adjunct, it is used in combination with other grains, such as barley malt, to enhance specific flavors and characteristics. As a base malt, it forms the majority of the grain bill and provides the main source of fermentable sugars.

Wheat malt is a malted grain made from germinated wheat that is dried during the malting process. It is commonly used in brewing to add unique flavors, improve head retention, and contribute to the overall character of wheat beers.

What Is Wheat Malt Good For?

Wheat malt is a versatile ingredient that serves various purposes in the brewing process. Here are some key benefits and uses of wheat malt:

1. Foam Stability: Adding wheat malt to light beers at a 5% ratio can significantly improve foam stability without impacting haze or flavor. This means that the beer will retain its foamy head for a longer period, enhancing the overall drinking experience.

2. Base Malt for Wheat Beer: Wheat malt can be used as a base malt for brewing wheat beers. It is commonly used at levels up to 70% in the malt bill. By using wheat malt as a base, brewers can achieve a distinct bready flavor and characteristic citrus notes that are synonymous with traditional wheat beer styles.

3. Haze Formation: Wheat malt contains proteins that contribute to haze formation in beer. While this may not be desirable in some beer styles, it is a characteristic feature of certain beer types, like Hefeweizens or Belgian Witbiers. Brewers can use wheat malt to intentionally create a cloudy or hazy appearance in these styles.

4. Mouthfeel and Body: Wheat malt can also influence the mouthfeel and body of a beer. Due to its higher protein content compared to barley malt, it can add a fuller and smoother texture to the beer. This can be particularly desirable in styles such as Hefeweizens or American Wheat Ales.

5. Enzymatic Activity: Wheat malt contains enzymes that contribute to the conversion of starches into fermentable sugars during the brewing process. These enzymes help ensure efficient fermentation and the production of alcohol in the final beer.

Wheat malt is beneficial for enhancing foam stability, imparting specific flavors and aromas, contributing to haze formation, influencing mouthfeel and body, and providing enzymatic activity during brewing. Its versatility allows brewers to create a wide range of beer styles and tailor the characteristics of the final product to their desired specifications.


Wheat malt is a versatile and essential ingredient in the brewing process. Its unique flavor profile, including creamy and doughy notes, adds depth and complexity to beers. With its diastatic enzymes, wheat malt helps convert starches into sugars during the mash, contributing to the fermentation process. Whether used as a base malt for wheat beers or as a smaller addition to enhance foam stability in lighter beers, wheat malt offers brewers the opportunity to create a wide range of flavors and characteristics. Its distinct qualities make it a valuable component for both experienced brewers and those looking to experiment with new recipes. So, whether you're a beer enthusiast or a professional brewer, don't overlook the importance of wheat malt in crafting exceptional brews with great head retention and foam stability.

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Thomas Ashford

Thomas Ashford is a highly educated brewer with years of experience in the industry. He has a Bachelor Degree in Chemistry and a Master Degree in Brewing Science. He is also BJCP Certified Beer Judge. Tom has worked hard to become one of the most experienced brewers in the industry. He has experience monitoring brewhouse and cellaring operations, coordinating brewhouse projects, and optimizing brewery operations for maximum efficiency. He is also familiar mixology and an experienced sommelier. Tom is an expert organizer of beer festivals, wine tastings, and brewery tours.