cestrin

Rye Whiskey Smoking in Still

9 posts in this topic

We are making a rye from grain in a direct heat still (heating elements in the liquid) and the rye is burning during stripping runs. I assume this is from the starches in the rye as the wort is fairly sticky. This happened on the second stripping run last time and the entire batch was scrapped as it tasted smiley. Has anyone else run into this and been able to run the wort off with direct heat? 

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Other than this being, generally, a very bad idea.

You can attempt to use enzymes like glucanases and hemicellulases to help break down glucans and cellulase - this will make your beer more liquid, less sticky, less viscous.

Ensure you are reaching a final gravity of 1 or below, so that you have absolutely no residual sugar left.

Use an agitator and heat up very, very slow.

In-wash elements are a big problem, because the surface temperatures are very high - you can scorch very easily.  And like you note, once you scorch, you ruin the distillate as it's nearly impossible to remove the burnt/smoke flavors.

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I would suggest a jacketed still.  We have them for $3,000.00 and up with self contained electric heating systems.  You can distill grain in mashes with no scorching.  paul@distillery-equipment.com  417-778-6100

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Watt type of elements are you using?  You may be able to stop the scorching by putting in ultra low watt density elements.   Once you let me know what elements that you are using I can give you a recommendation that may solve your problem.

 

 

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Any improvement is likely to be minor.

We are talking 60-65w/sq.in. for a standard watt density element, and 50w/sq.in. for an ultra low watt density element.

Is there any real difference at those levels? Comparatively, a steam jacket is probably running around 10w/sq.in.

Perhaps if you ran ULWD elements at 120v and used 4 undervolt elements for each element being used today.  You would cut watt density by 4x - but at the expense of having to weld a load of fittings.

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Cestrin,

Ultra low watt density water heater elements have less than 40% of the watt density of  the regular old, strait, no fold water heater elements.   Industrial ultra low watt density elements go as low as 15 watts per square inch.  I'm a Camco and Chromalox distributor,  but for direct fire electric stills, I sell elements that are specifically designed for use in washes (wort) with no solids.  They are UL listed, mirror polished, 316 stainless, ultra low watt density, double fold, ripple elements.  Brewers love em.    

So anyway, the difference is more than minor.  For Barley wash (wort), it is the difference between scorching and not scorching.   It's that simple. We have sold several thousand direct fire stills. The heating systems on all of our electric direct fired stills are proportional control. Also, the greater the difference in temp between the element and the wash the more likely that it is to scorch.  If you have a difficult wash then you can use a heating system controller with proportional control to get that watt density a little lower at the beginning of the run and it will be less likely to scorch when the wash is hot.   Also, straining out all of the solids is very important.  Will changing elements for sure solve your issue?  if you were dealing with barley,  or certain other wort, I can tell you for sure that it will.  For a rye wash, I'm not sure, mainly because if I were going to do rye, I would do it on the grain.  I would never distill a rye whiskey from wort.  Of course you cannot normally do on the grain distillations using heating elements.  You need indirect heat for that.  We have very affordable jacketed stills from 8 gallon to 2500 gallon.  If I were you, I would use that still for single malts and rum.  I can sell you heating elements that will work with those washes for around $30.00 each.  Guaranteed no scorch.  Maybe they will work for your Rye wash, maybe not.   If you fallow Silk City Distillers advice and use the enzymes etc, then I think that you have a better chance with it working with my elements.  

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Cestrin, I had a look at the video on your website.Great promotion for you.

Are you using 100% malted rye?

You said in video that you cook the rye to 190 F

If the grain is 100% malted then that is way too hot and it will destroy most of the natural enzymes and you get low yielding sticky wort that burns.

If you are using unmalted rye as well then OK to cook that first then cool before adding malted rye.

(ps. couldn't' help noticing your rum label says "hand crafted GRAIN to bottle":huh:

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Hey Cestrin,

We had the exact same problem on our still with an off-grain mash and it was due to unfermentable sugars in the wash. We started using enzymes and it completely eliminated the problem. 

Get a hold of a rep from J.Tech Sales. 888-803-8270. Our rep in SD is JB Harrell 925-984-6000 (Cell). Great guy, very knowledgeable. 

We used Laminex C2K, and it did the trick. Not exactly cheap, but cheaper than upgrading your still, and will also give you higher yields in the mash. Get him to send you a sample. You might be able to use it in your current mash, but usually you add it before the fermentation.

Good luck,

Bill

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Preheating your wash can help and and agitator as well. Using a beta glucanese is very helpful for 100% rye. But you are likely in for a life of suffering.

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