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BigRed

Bourbon Mash and Malt (DP)

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Hey folks! With everyone's help here, we are progressing nicely on Bourbon using high temp enzymes. We would like to start playing with malt however, for variety in flavor, and different spirits like a Rye Whiskey. When researching mash bills with malt, I see some as low as 5% malt. Even if they are using distiller's malt (6 row), it seems way low on diastatic power to convert that entire mash. What am I missing regarding the malt type, DP...etc? I was under the impression they are using standard un-malted wheat or rye, so there isn't any additional enzymes beside the malt. 

Thanks for the help. 

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You aren't missing anything, with unmalted primary grains, even a very high 250 DP distillers malt is going to be low at 5%.  Mashing that low will lead to very low conversion and low yield, and exogenous enzyme would likely be required for full conversion.  You can mix both techniques, there are other reasons for adjunct malt beside enzyme contribution (flavor, nutrition, etc).

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That makes sense. I calculate about 12% minimum with distillers malt at 250L, and 21% with a 2-row pale ale at 140L. Do you think some are actually using a Rye Malt or Wheat Malt versus raw grain? So mixing 5-15% malt but still adding enzymes is likely what most are doing? I have heard of 6 hr mashes, which seems excessive. 

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Hey BigRed, glad to hear you are continuing to make progress.  We do not use enzymes in any of our mash bills.  Yes, the malt ratio is necessarily higher (and more expensive) but we like the flavor that malt adds to our whiskeys.

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Is anyone willing to share their mash procedure with/without malt? My next batch, with malt, is going to be be boil corn and wheat for 90min, cool to 160, add malted barley, continue mash for 1 hr until iodine test shows starch is converted. 

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That is really hot for malt addition.  You don't really need to boil corn or wheat either.  I bring corn up to 190 for 90 min, drop to 160 and add rye/wheat or both, rest 40 min, drop to 147 and add malt.  The rye step is around 154 (start milling in at 160 but temp drop with grain add, same with malt).

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4 minutes ago, jeffw said:

That is really hot for malt addition.  You don't really need to boil corn or wheat either.  I bring corn up to 190 for 90 min, drop to 160 and add rye/wheat or both, rest 40 min, drop to 147 and add malt.  The rye step is around 154 (start milling in at 160 but temp drop with grain add, same with malt).

Gotta agree with Jeff here, 160 is too high. You need to give the malt's beta-amylase preferential treatment to get good conversion, below 148 for sure. Also you should have continued enyzme activity after chilling and through-out fermentation. 

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Good point, i was thinking about dough in for 100% malt, but at this point its a small %, so temp needs to be lower. Are you using distillers malt or a standard 2 row like pale ale? 

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