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flyhigher87

Wheat Grain Seperation

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Hey Vodka Producers using wheat,

    how do you guys separate out your wheat? Do you separate before or after fermenting?  Before or after distilling?  What technique/equipment do you use?  I am a tiny tiny distillery and we are using a small bladder wine press prior to distilling.  However I am thinking far down the road and wonder how you guys separate out wheat in the 1000L + batches.  I am mostly concerned with wheat because it is particularly hard to separate , Corn also if you do a corn  vodka let me know your process please.  Please let me know  Also I would prefer to separate before distilling to keep my process the same.

 

Thank you.

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not sure there is a easy or right way to separate spent wheat without some very expensive equipment, for us the easiest is to grind very fine and ferment and distill on the grain . then strip it either on a continuous still that can handle some solids  or in a baine marie style still . then your spent grain is pumped out with your backset . lots depends on your location , budget , and the room you have in your facility as to what process will work for you . location is a big one seeing as trucking spent grain and slop any distance can be a huge pain especially in winter months, nothing like a frozen tote full of slop  . and as far as budget goes the cost of a grain separator that only does one job , versus a baine marie still that can do 3 jobs { strip , spirit runs , and grain in distillation } is a no brainer .

tim   

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Separation is a huge pain with anything but malted barley. We do grain in and give our whole stillage to a local farmer. Using a steam jacketed still with a strong agitator

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A poly tank cut in half, a stainless mesh screen over a steel subframe, a pump, a squeegee, and a scoop.

It's hot, steamy, and you stink like backset when you are done, but it works pretty well.

For those thinking about using a screening approach.

The squeegee is key, you need one with replaceable wipers.  Breaking the squeegee is punishable by beatings.

The hotter the better, screening near boiling is significantly more effective than screening at even 100f.  The difference is striking, I would say screening at 100f vs 195f, takes 2x the time, and screening at room temperature, probably takes 8x the time.  You need to have proper processes in place here, dealing with scalding liquid.

Using beta-glucanase during mashing makes post-distillation screening significantly easier.

The trick is to use a screen with a mesh size larger than you think could be effective.  You will lose some fines, but it's not significant.  Generally though, you need to go to a holding tank anyway, because it's simply too hot to discharge, in the tank, your fines will floc and you can decant off effectively.  Keep in mind, MESH, not perforated plate.

We've done hundreds of thousands of pounds through our simple screener, this includes hard to screen grains like milled millet.  I can't imagine having to send full totes to our farmer.

Regarding barley, it does make screening easier, oat husk though, is beautiful to screen.  There is nothing easier than dewatering stillage with oat husk.

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My question exactly, we tried something similar and the heat deformed the tote so bad that it ended up being a one-time use.

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Yeah I'm not talking tote, we sawed a cylindrical tank in half.  The poly thickness looks about 3/8", it's pretty beefy.  The tank material isn't relevant, painted mild steel would work just fine too.

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