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rickthenewb

mashing in your fermenter

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Hi all, I am just curious.  I am thinking of a set up without using a separate mash tun and fermenter.  I really do not want to use a boiler in my set up and I think a 500 gallon kettle is a bit much to wield and it takes up space.  So I was thinking of a high temp industrial tankless water heater that will reach around 180-185 and fill up my cypress coiled 600 gallon fermenter (which also has cooling coils) and when the temperature drops pitch the yeast and wait.  I am not trying to be cheap but more practical. This will be for an all grain 60-70 percent corn mash bill.

Please let me know if I am off my rocker here.

thanks all

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Some things to think about: 

- Are you planning on fermenting/distilling on the grain?

- If not how/when are you going to lauter it off? 

- What about sparging/recirculating wort over the grains? 

- Do you have a pump capable of moving around the mash? 

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The main reason for a centralized cooker, is to remove extra and expensive apparatus from fermentors, IE, heat source, agitation and any grain handling that fills it. That being said, if the only thing extra is hot water you are minimizing that. The idea would be getting the grain to it, one flex auger to fill a cooker is cheaper than a system that could move grain to each fermentor.

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Thank you for the reply guys, so I plan on using a 250 Alembic direct heat so not distilling on the grain but I do plan on Fermenting on the grain. I am looking into a Yamada PD pump attached to a filter to remove grain from the wash.  

I plan on filling the fermenter with hot water and grain at the same time, I figure 500 gallons of around 180-185 degree water should be able to hold for 1-3 hours for proper gelatinization of the corn.  It also takes out an extra step and time.

I apologize as I always forget to add enough information the first time.

 

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We currently mash in our fermenter, but do it in a bit of a different way. We have a combo vessel where we mash, ferment, and do our stripping run. We actually have the system up for sale right now because we are increasing capacity. It works like a charm and we are doing about 500-525 gallons per batch through it. Here is a link to the sale ad if you are interested: 

 

Thanks,

Adam

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... maybe use the still as a source for hot water, and pump that into the fermenter to get you to the higher mashing temps quickly and efficiently?

Regards, Odin.

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:D

Regards, Odin.

 

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On 1/26/2017 at 10:47 AM, rickthenewb said:

Thank you for the reply guys, so I plan on using a 250 Alembic direct heat so not distilling on the grain but I do plan on Fermenting on the grain. I am looking into a Yamada PD pump attached to a filter to remove grain from the wash. 

I would be curious to see the filter that is going to let you filter a 60-70% corn mash bill. To me it makes more sense to design a whiskey around the capabilities of your equipment, rather than trying something that will always be an error-prone struggle.  I also think you'll have a hell of a time trying to make that mash without an agitator/mixer in your vessel. We've used a method similar to what you describe to make bourbon mash in a 1000L IBC tote (with top cut off) and it requires the use of an agitator to get the grain mixed into the water. 

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I was going to run it through a screener seprator between the fermenter and the still as well as add an agitator to the mashtun.  What type of agitator did you use?

 

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I think there may be some fundamental issues with your plan that will end up creating more pain and suffering than success...making changes now in the planning stages might be the best plan of action (which Im sure is why you are here now...).

First, you may need to go a bit higher with your mash temps than that industrial hot water heater can go. Corn gellats around 190'ish (and that's the low end of the range) - a final mash temp this high will be hard to hit, especially considering a significant amount of the mass in the mash will be coming in around 70 degrees (F). There are online calculators that can assist with determining the strike temp of your water to reach a final temperature which considers volume and temp of grain. Using your still to heat water is sound advice but your still will not heat enough water to make 600 gallons of mash in one go....

The second problem you will have, as stated above, is separating that grain from your mash before distilling. The old mop bucket and screen bag trick ain't going to be pretty on a commercial level and separating machines can be expensive. 

I know thinking outside the box and/or re-inventing the wheel with this distilling thing seems attractive and is a great exercise, but there is a reason some things are pretty much the status quo. I really wish you the best of luck and hope you get it all sorted in the best way that works for what you wish to accomplish!

 

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Hi rick,

 

If you are going to distill from corn, then the best way to go is to distill on the grain.  As several experienced people here have mentioned that pump and screen method is not going to work and you need to cook corn mash 190F to 200F.  The only good way to cook corn mash is in a jacketed vessel or a steam injected vessel, otherwise you will scorch it.  I have the equipment that will meet your needs at very reasonable prices.  Call me at 417-778-6100 email paul@distillery-equipment.com http://distillery-equipment.com        http://moonshine-still.com

 

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Hi Rick,

I currently mash and ferment in the one vessel, separate grain and distill the finished wash.

Hitting strike temp for my grain is OK with the boiling water from the still, preheated vessels and short hose. The issue is the grain separation. Can be done but is hard work and labor intensive if no dewatering equipment is employed.

If using corn, you would want to grist it, not mill it to flour like consistency. Corn is cheap and the losses from non conversion/wort retained in the grain are minimal when you begin to look into liquid/solids separation equipment. It can be done by hand but trust me, it takes hours and is tough going.

Is there a reason you want to ferment on the grain? Do you have another grain with husk in there too? If not then you need to be looking at some separation equipment (+$20k).

 

If you get good liquidization (from holding high temps for the first enzyme addition if using liquid enzymes) then this will assist in your return but you will still have a sloppy mess to dispose of regardless.

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