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bourbon mash question

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jeffw    6

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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jeffw    6

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

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Greenfield    1
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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Odin    45

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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jeffw    6

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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Tom Lenerz    12

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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Foreshot    13

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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On ‎1‎/‎10‎/‎2017 at 10:23 AM, jeffw said:

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.  

Jeff,

Under a given set of conditions, there is an optimum cooking temperature and time to obtain the best quality of distillate and the best alcohol yield.  I believe the question you have is about cooking small grains at high temperatures.  There are a lot of ways to prepare grains for fermentation, but the simple goal of cooking is to gelatinize the starch granules, to make them available for hydrolysis by enzymes to convert to fermentable sugars but the complicated goal is to efficiently obtain proper gelatinization of starch, properly free up amino acids the yeast require, convert to fermentable sugars, reduce contamination and obtain a flavor extraction from the grains.  The infusion mashing process we use, (simply cooking small grains at lower & proper temperatures), here at Wilderness Trail is designed around maximizing flavor first, energy second and time third. 

You do not have to boil your grains up to 210F and you certainly do not want to cook any of your small grains (wheat, rye, barley, malted barley, etc) in that range, again you can but it will not be the highest quality distillate you can obtain in the end if you do that.  You can cook corn to 210F and it doesn't do much more than waste energy cooking it that high, part of the high heat is to sterilize the grains of bacteria and you take care of that around 190F and you only need to cook corn around 190F-185F for proper gelatinization, we cook our corn at 190F, it saves energy from going higher, we convert all of the available sugars and sterilize our grains, that is why you do it. For wheat the actual gelatinization range is 136F-146F but we start adding our wheat around 155-160F.  For Rye the actual range is 135F-158F and we add and cook our Rye no higher than 160F for good reasons.  Our Malted barley never goes in higher than 145F to preserve the enzymatic activity and to keep the grains intact.   Think of it this way, gelatinization is like popping popcorn under water, its a dramatic change in the grains composition.. and throw in some smaller ductile grains like wheat or rye and you blow them apart under the same conditions as well as a lot of protein you don't want to break down.

The reasons you do not cook grains beyond their proper gelatinization range is more about flavor than yield because if it is too rigorous, thermal decomposition of grain components will cause objectionable popcorn phenolic odors, yield is more impacted by poor grains, under cooking, poor conversion and yeast conditions. By using the infusion mashing process for small grains, you keep the branched chain amino acids and proteins in place with the grains that the yeast will use to properly make a flavorful result.  If you boil your small grains, you are creating unbranched chain amino acids, degrading proteins and frankly blowing apart the flavor you are trying to extract.  Small grains also get scorched very easy and there are Maillard effects that create all kinds of new chemicals from the high heat of small grains you don't want, plus why would you, the process doesn't require it.  The yeast take these unbranched chain and Maillard effect's and turns them into higher alcohols (fusels) and other chemicals that alter the flavor and result of the beer & distillate.

In short summary for our whiskeys, we cook our corn to 190F and hold that for 40 minutes, we cool to 160F by adding some water additions of the overall mashbill and add our wheat or Rye and hold that for 30 minutes, we add more water additions to get to 145F which is when we add our Malted Barley which rest for 30 minutes.  We add the rest of our water additions for our ferm set and the chiller takes it down to 90F.  We send that to our fermenters, which are set to hold at 85F for three day beer and 78F for 4-5 day beer.  By shortening the initial cook of the total water, your initial cook is thicker, for us that is around 18 beer gallons and that allows you to use less energy to heat up the initial cook and reserve the rest of the water for cooling capacity as well as when you add your grains you are also using that to help cool your mash down.  For example I mentioned we add our wheat at 160F but after the grains are added the temperature drops to around 150F+ and rest out to a little above 145F.

We primarily make a wheated Bourbon but we also make a Rye Whiskey, which again even though the Rye will be the majority of grains, we still cook our smaller amount of Corn up to 190F and then cool it down to 160F before adding the majority of the mashbill of Rye.  Infusion mashing is scientifically proven to offer a more flavorful distillate and smoother distillate, mainly for the reasons listed above.   

Shane Baker

Co-Founder, Master Distiller

Wilderness Trail Distillery

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jeffw    6

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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jeffw    6

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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