jeffw

bourbon mash question

14 posts in this topic

I was reading the Artisan Spirit magazine the other day and the article written by Wilderness Trail Distillery on cranking out the maximum number of barrels on your equipment got me thinking about their mashing technique.  Is there a reason to add smaller grains (rye, wheat) after gelatinizing the corn, instead of adding it at the same time.  The whole article is on minimizing the cook time and overall efficiency, and I don't know what the downside of adding rye and wheat at the same temperature step as the corn would be...thoughts?  Some off flavor I don't know about?

I have done a few mashes with the corn and wheat/rye added at the same time and brought to 190;  I have never really seen any problem with this but perhaps if I dropped temp to 170 to add rye/wheat the flavor would change.  

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I honestly didn't think there were enzymes in rye and wheat when they are not malted.  

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9 minutes ago, jeffw said:

I honestly didn't think there were enzymes in rye and wheat when they are not malted.  

Hey Jeff, 

I personally have been adding my rye and corn at the same time (approx 58C) I hold it here for a short period of time where my viscosity enzyme will have time to act. I then take both grains up to near boiling and then cool to yeast temp. The only grain I add on the way down to yeast temp is the malted barley. I add this after so I don't denature the enzymes in the malt. 

I have tried adding rye later in the process, But since it is unmalted (and I am using added enzymes anyways) I haven't noticed a difference in yield. So to save time, I just add corn and rye at the same time. 

Hope this helps. 

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If you add the rye later, after you cooked the corn, it may help you cool your mash from (cooking) corn temperatures down faster ...

Regards, Odin.

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The times I have done a more tradition bourbon mash I have added corn, wheat, and rye at tap temp, added sebHTL and sebFlo and heated to 190, rest. then drop to 150 for malt add, rest, drop to pitch yeast.  Never seen a problem, but I haven't done many mashes with this recipe and haven't tried adding rye or wheat on the way down to see what difference it could make.

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We have done it both ways without any noticeable difference. I could be wrong, but I believe the reasoning is it doesn't make a difference, so why spend the btus and time to heat the rye or wheat if you don't need too.  On the small scale I don't know how much of either one could save.

Completely contradictory to the article, I read the other day that large Scottish grain whiskey distilleries process wheat at much higher temps than necessary simply because they can, and if they switch to corn because of a change in commodity prices, they don't need to redo their processes. They also can't use enzymes.

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We see a significant cost differential between local unmalted rye and buying malted rye from a supplier, unmalted is near 3x less expensive per bushel.

If you are adding it to the cereal mash - I don't think it makes sense to use malted, given the higher price.  Also, I don't see how you gain any productivity benefit if you are using any other malt (wheat, barley) on the way down.

Also worth noting, if you aren't using enzymes, adding rye to corn on the way up makes it even more difficult to work with.

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Tangential to your topic - Read about Six Sigma or Lean manufacturing. It's about eliminating waste in your processes. Two heavy hitters:

Lean's "TIM WOODS" - https://www.isixsigma.com/dictionary/8-wastes-of-lean/

Lean's 5S - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/5S_(methodology)

The idea is to reduce the amount of time you're doing things that don't make you money. An example - if you use a specific tool all the time put it in a place that's easy to get to it instead of mixing it in with a drawer full of other things. (5s) That reduces the time you're looking for it. Fastcap has some great videos showing real examples: 

 

 

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Thanks for the response Shane.  I will try adding my wheat and rye at a lower temp and see what the difference in flavor is.  My main products have been corn and malt with no rye or wheat so I haven't played around much with the mash protocols.  I assumed the difference would be related to flavor, just didn't see why.  I truly appreciate the thoughtful and lengthy response.

Cheers,
Jeff

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Shane,

On your need to lower your mash thickness for your continuous column, why not just direct inject water from the condenser (or secondary heat exchanger from the condenser, or pull heat from your spent stillage as you do to preheat for mash...) to lower the thickness but allow for greater fermentation capacity?  It would lengthen the run-time of the CC, but give you increased productivity on mashing and fermenting.  Just a thought.

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Jeff,

We are zero discharge and make our own hot water, from exchange with our stillage and provide our own cooling in the facility from our chilled water system.  Our design, mills 7500 lbs of grain per hour, cooker and fermenters are 4000 gallons, which within a regular 8 hour shift, our guys mill, cook, distill, barrel and roll into our rickhouses 12 barrels per shift.  The final beer gallons we run for the column is around 29-32.  That thickness not only allows max flow through the column but also proper finishing of fermentation right on the money for our set times but also the max ABV we want our column to run at. 

The concept you are referring to is very similar to how we run the Pot Still operation, which is a lot thicker and higher gravity.

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