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Tupper Lake Distillery

Spent grain removal

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Sorry if it seems like a dumb question (newby) but I'm trying to foresee any potential issues.

So, with 125gal fermenter (500L) once the mash is done and fermented, the wort drained off to the still, what is the standard practice to get the grain out? Add water and flush it out the drain pipe?

Thinking easiest for a one man operation would be ferment in the same tank I mash in (ferment on the grain) then drain off.

Have a farmer who will take it away, just not sure how much mess all the extra washing water will add. With 200lb's (100gal @ 2lb's per gal) I'm thinking tote maybe? Or dump it in a container that can let the water drain out the bottom?

What's standard practice with a couple hundred pounds of spent grain?

Edit: clearing up the wording

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Any reason that you don't distill on the grains as well? We ferment and distill on the grain. We pump all leftover grains/liquid into a tote and our farmer collects everything.

I don't know that there are standard practices. It depends on your cash flow. You can purchase a piece of equiment that can separate the liquid from the grains. There are a few other options depending upon how fine your grain is ground. Some folks use flour and rinse it all down the drain after the stripping run. This will be dependent upon local waste water laws. If you're grains aren't finely ground, your best bet would probably be to run it through some type of open-topped container with a false bottom. Possibly something you make out of a few hdpe barrels. I would note that you should probably have a coarse and fine filter. If you just try to use something like window screening, it will clog up pretty quickly.

How is your farmer carting away the waste?

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Thanks for the quick reply!

This will be a limited budget start up (yeah, right) so I could get a still with an agitator I suppose, can't afford a steam system/jacketed system though.

Distilling on the grain would really solve a couple issues but raises others. I'm starting at how much end product I want and am working backwards to see if this is feasible. I'm 4 years to retirement so want to start doing small batches and barreling it (and paying permits and bond etc) then when I retire I can open the storefront and start selling the 3 year old whisky. I know the norm is to jump in with both feet and sell vodka because you "need" instant income, but I have no interest in selling anything other than whisky. Volume will be really small, enough to pay bonds and permits etc and have a little bit of profit. Both the wife and I will have income as it's getting off it's feet. (which will be filling a small barrel a week).

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Check with your local municipality, our sewer agreement has the following clause:

Solid or viscous substances and/or other Pollutants which may cause obstruction to the flow in a Sewer or other Interference with the operation of the Sewage Disposal System such as, but not limited to, grease, Garbage other than Properly Shredded Garbage, animal guts or tissues, paunch manure, bones, hair, hides or fleshings, entrails, whole blood, feathers, ashes, cinders, sand, spent lime, stone or marble dust, metal, glass, straw, shavings, grass clippings, rags, spent grains, spent hops, wastepaper, wood, plastics, tar, asphalt residues from refining or processing of fuel or lubricating oil, mud or glass grinding or polishing wastes, or tumbling and deburring stones;

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Check with your local municipality, our sewer agreement has the following clause:

Good point, I've thought of that and am moving this spring/summer to a farm property with acreage for that (and other) reasons. Another micro around here takes their spent grains to the town dump/composting spot with the towns approval.

It is looking like the simplest answer though is to ferment and distill on the grain and then dump it all at the end. Which makes me think perhaps outside the box, but, SS 45 gal drums to mash in, then ferment in the drum and then clamp on a top with an agitator and potstill head. Have several SS drum going in succession, as each one is ready, run it off. Propane heat and the drums on their own rolling chassis.....hmm, rethinking the whole set up now.

I can make everything myself but in one way I'm thinking it wouldn't have "the look" once I opened. You know, everyone wants to see the shiny stuff. Functionally it would probably work but marketing/looks has a huge effect on sales obviously.

Wow, that's switching everything from my original plans.

Thanks again.

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Looks like the simplest way isn't the cheapest way. Mash/ferment and distill in one vessel and flush it out at the end, I think while expensive would be a better step then trying to nickel and dime it like I was thinking.

Local farmer selling off a lot of SS dairy equipment I was going to re-purpose (pasturizing tank, lines, valves,etc) but getting the grain out of the tank (or even 45gal ss drums) is a step in the wrong direction.

Time to re-jig the business plan again.

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What grains are you planning on using? Lautering malt is standard practice but grain-in fermentation/distillation for raw grains is pretty typical. Separating is always the issue, although there are some pricey separators out there. I personally would recommend avoiding direct flame with mashing grain, because it just seems like a mess.

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So, with 125gal fermenter (500L) once the mash is done and fermented, the wort drained off to the still, what is the standard practice to get the grain out? Add water and flush it out the drain pipe?

It's not standard practice, generally the grain is either separated out at the completion of mashing, or after distillation. While it can be done after fermentation, it's going to require additional steps to do it. Realistically, you'll need some kind of separation tun, like an open top milk tank fitted with a false bottom. You would then pump to the tank, separate as best as possible, and shovel out the grain.

That said, most who are going grain-in are doing it because they are using cereal grains which don't easily separate (like wheat, rye, and corn), and because of this, will go straight through the whole process with the grain.

Have a farmer who will take it away, just not sure how much mess all the extra washing water will add. With 200lb's (100gal @ 2lb's per gal) I'm thinking tote maybe? Or dump it in a container that can let the water drain out the bottom?

If you keep your corn on the coarse side, you can still largely dewater your stillage before sending it off. It won't be dry, mind you, but it will be dry enough to shovel, and will be considerably less weight than whole stillage with liquid and solids. Consider the logistics too, it's not simplification if you now require a forklift to deal with a tote filled with 2 tons of whole stillage. Unless, you already have the forklift I guess.

Which makes me think perhaps outside the box, but, SS 45 gal drums to mash in, then ferment in the drum and then clamp on a top with an agitator and potstill head. Have several SS drum going in succession, as each one is ready, run it off. Propane heat and the drums on their own rolling chassis.....hmm, rethinking the whole set up now.

This sounds brutally inefficient. Mashing and stripping 45 gallons at a time? Will the resulting product even cover the labor costs or share of your time? Not to mention that stainless drums aren't cheap, and once you've amassed enough of them to be meaningful, and fabricated/modified them all to be useful, the cost you've sunk into that is going to be substantial. At that point you'll probably look back at the time and money and wonder why you just didn't find yourself a more appropriate vessel.

clamp on a top with an agitator and potstill head.

One point here on the agitator for the still - this is an expensive piece of equipment, as it will require vapor tight seals that can stand up to the harsh conditions inside the still. Something like that might run you north of $2k - pretty steep price to pay for something that is doomed to be obsolete once you upgrade equipment.

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Corn, barley and rye. I've seen commercial separators and that's out of my price range. No, after seeing the feedback on here and doing more research I think I'll go the extra bit and distill on the grain too. Haven't talked to the farmer but if he will accept it wet I'll just put it in a tote. If he won't I'll find another farmer LOL! I could drain it into some sort of sieve or series of plastic barrels with smaller and smaller holes maybe. I have time to keep thinking/planning. Being a one man set up, it can't be too labour intensive, dump and let it do it's thing. Too many other things to be doing.

As far as mashing with direct flame, that was my intention but I'm not set in stone now, I'll see what the still manufacturer recommends. Steam injection could be done economically but I don't have any experience. Not sure whether I'd have to keep moving the wand or would the wand be fixed permanently inside, etc.

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James, excellent points!

45 gal drums and clamp on lid...yeah, your dead on. My problem is I'll spend a day making something (because I can) that only cost $10.00 to buy. Then as you say I look back and go "what was I thinking?"

I'm cheap FRUGAL, but sometimes it clouds my judgement.

Mash/ferment and distill on the grain and then dump through a slurry trough/plastic barrels etc with decreasing dia holes to dewater then into a tote or open top container that can be dumped at the farm. I'm trying to use gravity so pumps/etc won't be required. I'll have the set up on the second floor of the building (if I get the property I'm bidding on) so pump water up and forklift the grain up then everything flows downward.

Of course seeing a car crusher working, my thoughts are, "what if..." :rolleyes:

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Corn, barley and rye. I've seen commercial separators and that's out of my price range. No, after seeing the feedback on here and doing more research I think I'll go the extra bit and distill on the grain too. Haven't talked to the farmer but if he will accept it wet I'll just put it in a tote. If he won't I'll find another farmer LOL! I could drain it into some sort of sieve or series of plastic barrels with smaller and smaller holes maybe. I have time to keep thinking/planning. Being a one man set up, it can't be too labour intensive, dump and let it do it's thing. Too many other things to be doing.

As far as mashing with direct flame, that was my intention but I'm not set in stone now, I'll see what the still manufacturer recommends. Steam injection could be done economically but I don't have any experience. Not sure whether I'd have to keep moving the wand or would the wand be fixed permanently inside, etc.

Shouldn't be a problem giving it to the farmer/rancher wet. Our cows love the stuff. You will need to get rid of it fairly quickly if it's wet, I find it starts to get funky in ~2-3 days. Only thing to watch is the temperature, we've has cows horse around (?) and fall in the hot mash, burning themselves in the process.

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If I dewater it I'm thinking it should cool pretty quickly, regardless it wouldn't be instant delivery anyway.

How much can you give cows/pigs/etc? Just curious as if I drop off 200lb's of grain all at once will they eat until they hurt themselves or will they eat till full and stop? Not that it's what I should be concerning myself with at this point but just curious.

Wondering if I should just get a couple pigs....besides the kids I mean....

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Quote from Skaalvenn

"Remember, you will rarely wish you bought the lesser quality product, but may end up wishing you spent a couple more bucks to get what you want."

Sounds like words to live by!

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I'm doing basically what you are doing. Here is how I do it. I have a heat exchanger that utilizes steam. I heat my water for my mash to 200 degrees, I add my cracked corn and rye. I let it cool a little and add my enzyme. Then I let it cool to 160 degrees and add my barley and barley malt and add my other enzyme.

Then I let it sit for another hour or so. I Have a screen at the bottom of my mash tank and I just let it drain into a container that I have and transfer it over to a barrel that has a screen in it. Then I pump it over to the fermenting tank thru an old dairy pump. Cost me $10.00. If it's too hot to ferment, then I run it thru a dairy plate chiller. Then add my yeast, wait a couple of days and distill. Works very well. I get around 11% conversion in the mash so am happy.

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Heat exchanger eh, so do you pump the mash water through it or do you submerge it in the mashing water in the tun? Do you have a picture possibly?

Very interesting indeed. I take the mash water to 155* and add corn then run the agitator until it's broke down, adding heat when necessary to keep it at 150-155*. Then I add enzymes and continue agitating for a bit and letting cool. Then wrap in blankets and let it slowly come down to pitching temp. (usually the next day, 12hr's or so later)

But if I understand you correctly, your taking it up to 200 and shutting off the heat, adding grain etc and doing your mashing as the temp drops. If your getting 11% it's obviously working. (you must be higher than 2lb's per gal to get that right? I'm getting complete conversion according to my iodine tests but at 8-9%)

Now I'm tempted to try 200*, I've never gone higher than 155* as the saccharification temp for corn is 145*-170*....crap... I'm realizing as I write this I've mistaken saccharification temps for gelatinization temps. Now I understand why I've seen others post they go to 200*. Huh, go to bed tonight a little less stupid!

So, if you're using a screen to get the liquid out, how do you get the spent grains out of your mash tun?

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I have six cows...they could easily consume 180-240 pounds a day. But the chickens have to have some...

It is possible to over feed it.

up to 20% for poultry

20 to 50 pounds per cow per day

no more than 50% of a hogs diet

horsey people are getting away from feeding grain daily,

https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/an241

Feeding Guidelines

Due to the amount of water in WBG product, mature cows should be limited to 30 to 50 pounds per cow per day. This is equivalent to 7.8 to 13 pounds of dry matter intake per cow per day. Young cattle can utilize WBG equally effectively. Wet brewers' grains should be limited to 9 to 20 pounds per calf per day. This is equivalent to 2.3 to 5.2 pounds of dry matter intake per calf per day. Blending of WBG with other feedstuffs is an acceptable way to incorporate feedstuffs with other positive characteristics. Soybean hulls or other dry feedstuffs mix well with WBG and reduce the amount of water in the final mix. Because of the low calcium and potassium and high phosphorus contents, an adequate mineral supplement should be offered to growing cattle consuming WBG.

http://www.cattletoday.com/archive/2003/February/CT251.shtml

http://www.fao.org/wairdocs/ilri/x5490e/x5490e0y.htm

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Wow, thanks for the links. I'll show the farmer (or any other farmers I come across) and I certainly won't have any issue getting rid of it! It's always nice to have documented proof.

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