Don’t Be Afraid to Experiment with Craft Wheat

​The push to localize malt continues to grow and finding local maltsters has become easier for breweries across the country. Located in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota, Maltwerks works with many Midwest breweries to deliver quality craft malt to craft brewers in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, Wisconsin and further.

​Minnesota breweries Dual Citizen, Lupulin and Dangerous Man all use Maltwerks wheat malts in products and shared insights to working locally and creating standout beers with the malt.​

The primary usage of the White Wheat from Maltwerks for ​Lupulin is in ​its Tropical Fun Pants​ Fruited Blonde Ale.

​”​I love the creamy mouthfeel and nice malty flavor it adds to what is a very light and crushable beer,” said Lupulin Head Brewer Ben Haugen.​ “We add our fruit during primary fermentation so a lot of our sweetness is consumed by the yeast, ​[and] ​wheat compliments this by building a nice body.

​”​I love the soft, smooth flavor we get out of Maltwerks.​”​

Lupulin uses​​ ​”​a ton​” ​of wheat ​in its sours and farmhouse​-​style beers​ as well.​

Bradley Zimmerman, Head Brewer​ for ​Dual Citizen​ and ​John Leingang, Head Brewer​ at ​Dangerous Man​, also shared their thoughts on using locally-sourced wheat its its beers.

BREWER: What styles of beers have you typically used Wheat in? Are there any brands you have tried the malt in that is atypical?
​ZIMMERMAN: I typically use Maltwerks Wheat in a variety of the beers we produce. It is featured in all of our sours, ​[and] ​some of our IPAs for head retention. I use it in most of the Saisons we brew as well as our Golden Ale and Table Biere. An atypical beer style I have used it in is our Festbier.
​LEINGANG: We typically use Maltwerks Soft White Wheat malt in a whole host of styles — traditional & non-traditional. All of our hazy-leaning IPAs at Dangerous Man have a significant portion of the grist loaded up with their wheat. On the other end of the spectrum, we have also used the soft white wheat in some Gruits as well.
HAUGEN: I like to sneak wheat into just about anything that needs a little extra kick of body. Something in the 5% range to just add body with not too much ​”Wheaties” [flavor].​

​BREWER: What sets the Wheat from Maltwerks apart from other Wheat malts?
​ZIMMERMAN: I know Maltwerks sources their wheat from local farmers no more than 380 miles from their facility. Supporting local small farms is important to us at Dual Citizen. As a small business we like supporting other small local businesses. We also try to lessen our carbon footprint as much as possible when sourcing ingredients.
HAUGEN: I would say that the consistency is pretty awesome from Maltwerks.​ ​They have been growing leaps and bounds with their offerings, and it is impressive that they maintain their quality alongside their growth.  Also with the proximity of the malting facility we have pretty direct feedback to them for information that we might have gathered on a brewday.

​BREWER: Are there any technical challenges or tips you have for using this Wheat for someone that hasn’t used it yet?
​LEINGANG: To date, I haven’t experienced any technical issues using Maltwerks wheat. The run off/lautering while using high percentages of either wheat product is slightly quicker ​versus other wheat malts I’ve tried.
HAUGEN: Be very cogniz​ant of how your system handles its lauters. If you struggle generally with medium and full mashes, be very careful. I would highly recommend rice hulls for the first couple mashes.​ ​If those run-off well, you should be good to go, but if you struggle try adding the wheat later and later in your dough-in. We really like to write our recipes to flavor and not necessarily to style so figure out what you want your beer to taste like and add whatever you want​.​

​BREWER: What did you expect … and didn’t expect from using this Wheat? How did you use those expectations or new discoveries to your advantage or how did it alter the idea of the brew?
​HAUGEN: I love wheat, and I always have. We have plenty of time to sample and trial the wheat before we put it in anything. As you are working with most vendors, especially Maltwerks, they are more than willing to get you samples to make sure you are getting what you want. … I think tasting malt and beer together is a great way to get an idea of what you will get when you add a malt to a beer.
​LEINGANG: As mentioned above, the lautering phase with these wheats is awesome. I didn’t expect that the first few times I used them, but it’s been consistently so over the past few years. Reliability for sure! I’ve been able to shave off quite a bit of my overall brewdays as a result.

​BREWER: Do you have any ‘out of the box’ ideas for Wheat that you want to share or have planned?
​ZIMMERMAN: I plan on using Maltwerks Wheat in our next seasonal Stout. Look for it in stores in early October and on draught in our taproom in Saint Paul.
​LEINGANG: We do a ​Gruit or two every year and have used Maltwerks wheats in at least two of them. Even in moderate amounts the wheat provides a nice augmentation to the mouthfeel. It particularly works well to soften the light bite of bittering herbs too.

Photo Courtesy Dual Citizen Brewing

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