ThreeStacksDist

Simultaneous Saccharification and Fermentation (SSF)

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Good evening ADI Community! I wanted to pick some of your brains to see who has researched, tested, used, or is currently using a Simultaneous Saccharification and Fermentation (SSF) or even Simultaneous Saccharification and Co-Fermentation (SSCF) based method in their process. If you're unfamiliar, that's okay, because I don't think this is a widely used concept within the craft distillery industry. However, this is a widely-used process within the ethanol industry and seems to not only speed up your processing time, but potentially even increase your ethanol yield. For us distillers, this would basically mean incorporating our glucoamylase and yeast in series where they would basically run in parallel. 

Potential drawbacks? It seems one would have to have a GA and Yeast product that is tolerable of the temperature and pH requirements. With a little research this should be feasible for most spirits/mash bills (at least ours - I can't say I've looked into all the other cases). 

Potential Advantages? Higher ethanol yield, reduced processing/fermentation time.

 

Want to do some Googling? Might want to start off with this free scholarly article - while a bit technical read to some, it has some great data and cool graphs for us visual nerds. B)

 

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Look to saki and processes using Koji...done all the time. It is a slower process than most commercial distillers would tolerate and abv is barely acceptable.

I've done it with rice and takes weeks, which has exposed the mash to other infections. Grinding the rice to flour speeds it up, but still not as fast as a normal grain mash and DADY.

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Had a great conversation with Joe Dehner on this two years back, so I'll give him credit for turning me onto the process.

Fermenting on grain with glucoamylase, starch hydrolysis and saccharification will continue to take place during fermentation, albeit at a slow rate.

What this means, practically, is that final alcohol yield is going to be higher than what your mash OG would indicate, especially if your grain particle sizes are larger, or if your mash efficiency is lower.  Say you did an iodine test and found starches - these would be converted by the time fermentation was complete.

However, unlike the commercials/fuel process, there isn't any reason you wouldn't add glucoamylase to the batch at a higher temperature, where it is more active (60-65c for example), since you would be gelatinizing cereal grains anyway.  This process isn't necessarily true SSF, but it's certainly leveraging SSF principles to compensate for grain size, lower mash temperature, low mash efficiency, etc etc.

I've played around with a no-boil method that uses a near-boiling strike temperature to get pretty good corn yield, especially if you can take it to flour, it's really just HTAA, GA, and BG and obsessive pH control to hit optimum ranges through the temp drop and enzyme additions.

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4 hours ago, Silk City Distillers said:

I've played around with a no-boil method that uses a near-boiling strike temperature to get pretty good corn yield, especially if you can take it to flour, it's really just HTAA, GA, and BG and obsessive pH control to hit optimum ranges through the temp drop and enzyme additions.

At one distillery I work at this essentially our process for equipment constraint reasons. Our yield is very good for most grain types but our fermentation tend to be long (at least 7 days, at 65F as long as 14 days) before activity ceases and hydrometer/refractometer measurements as you might ordinarily use can be a bit misleading.

I've also used sake/shochu methods (usually called Multiple Parallel Fermentation), which relies on koji molds to sacrify and a seperate yeast to ferment functioning simultaneously. Because of the separate koji production step it won't fit very well for a lot of distilleries, but with rice the advantage is you can hit ~18-20% abv which allows you to do some interesting single-pass distillation with a relatively simple pot still. The koji ferments took about 3 weeks (although it seemed plausible you could do it faster at higher temperatures), and you need to either select a koji strain that produces sufficient acid or introduce acid in some fashion to protect the mash from infection. 

 

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