Jump to content
ADI Forums

Recommended Posts

Pete B,

I was making an assumption when I said it could be sparged.  I have never tried it so I am not certain.  My grandfather never sparged it.  He ground the malted corn with his big hand cranked grinder.  My grandfather raised registered Black Angus Cattle.  The old style that were short, stocky and wide with pretty heads and turned up noses.  You don't see them in the states much these days as the Angus breed in the states is  typically bigger boned now with a larger carcass size. 

Anyway, here is how he would malt his corn.  He would malt several hundred lbs at a time.  He would only use 2 varieties of white corn.  Hickory Cane or Hickory King.  These were the only 2 varieties of corn that he thought were "fit to make his likker".  He said yellow corn would not malt properly and that these 2 varieties of white corn would produce the best likker.  Most of the rest of the men of Southern Appalachia of his time, felt the same way.   In fact it's my understanding that those were the varieties that were originally used by Jack Danials and that they changed to yellow dent later to save money. 

Our animals were fed those varieties and those 2 varieties were also used to make corn meal all over Southern Appalachia.  Where I grew up we only ate corn bread made from white corn meal with no sugar added.   

So to malt we would dig out most of the fresh manure in the side shed of our barn.  We would take wet burlap feed bags and put 3 layers down over the  manure that was left in the side shed.  We heated water and the corn kernals were soaked twice. We would spread a 1" thick layer of the big white kernels and cover with a layer of warm wet burlap.  It seams like there was more than one layer and we covered it with a couple of layers of wet burlap, then we would pile on the manure covering everything very well with the manure.  The  manure would build up heat as it broke down.  The heat would sprout the corn extra fast and it would never mold.  I don't really know why it didn't mold.   My grandfather would check it and in a few days we would uncover the corn and it would all be sprouted.  We would use burlap feed bags to rub the sprouts off an then my grandfather would grind it into a course meal.  He would put it in his fermenters  It seams like we dried it in the barn loft a few times but I'm not sure that we always did it that way. I was pretty young at the time.  he had a 400 gallon copper turnip head still built into the side of a hill in a shed.  It was single wall copper.  He fermented using wooden fermenters that were in the ground.  I remember cleaning them with lye or lime.  They had to be cleaned after each fermentation.  I think they were built out ofwhite oak boards.  Maybe the ly helped to counteract the tannic acid in the wood.  I'm not sure.  He never added any sugar.  Besides the malted corn he added his own strain of yeast.   If he was making his " Charter Whiskey" he would add backset (dunder) and some kind of white powder that he said would keep the bitterness out.  It smelled something like raw potato but I don't know what it was or how he replenished it.  If the whiskey was going in the aging barrel, he always used dunder to sour his mash.  If it was going to be sold as a white whiskey he would never add dunder. He would add a mucky looking stuff to the fermentation from a wooden bucket.  It smelled like butter.  it would give his white whiskey a buttery corn on the cob flavor.    The turnip head on his still was almost 1/3 of the size of the pot.  He put the mash in the still solids and all when fermentation was complete.  The still was fired with propane but years before he had fired it with wood.  The still was all copper.  The still was rocked up with an arch under it so it never scorched the mash, however the mash had to b stirred until just before it started to boil then he would put the head on and attach the line arm.

 

  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Below is a description of Hickory King Corn.  The Kernels are huge and they have a really high starch content.  This corn also has a unique flavor and it malts incredibly well.  I have seen stalks that reached over 14 ft tall in my grandfathers fields.  It can only be grown in certain areas of the country.  We tried to grow some here in the Ozarks but the wind just destroyed it, where as in the upland coves of the Great Smokey Mountains it did really well.  Here in the Ozarks they grew yellow corn and they made their whiskey from yellow corn.  Since the settlers here were mostly from the Appalachias, I think that they must have brought their Hickory King Corn with them but they found that  the winds from the great plains just destroyed it, so they had no choice but to switch to yellow varieties that had much shorter stronger stalks.
Hickory-King-Corn-Seed.jpg
In stock

"12 foot tall corn! You have to see it to believe it! Large white kernels not seen in today's corn. HickoryKing corn produces plants that are 12′ tall. Each stalk produces 2 very large ears that are great for roasting! Hickory king has a very high leafy green matter which makes it perfect for silage. Tight husks which help keep out corn worms"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've definitely been getting a lot of info from everyone and it is much appreciated. I guess for now I will need to modify some of the techniques and equipment I am currently using until I can make an upgrade, the upgrade being some way to distilling on grain.

Being able to back up the final product by explaining how it has our fingerprints all over the process from grain to bottle justifies calling it craft and I'm good with that.

More adventures to come.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

After using a standard cider press for 8 months, I decided I needed to look into a better way to dewater my grains (took most of a day to do it with the press on 60 gallon mashes)

I do on grain fermentation's and have a small electric still so what ever I did, needed to be fairly clean. After much research I finally bought 2 pieces of equipment direct form China via Alibaba, cause US prices were WAY out of reach.

For around $5000 (total for equipment and shipping) shipped direct to my door (shipping was almost as much as the equipment) I now have a small screw press that I run all my grain through first (is also a fruit press and we did 3000lb of apples with it this year) and then I run the screw press liquid (to many particles for the electric still) through a 24 inch vibratory sieve with a 200 micron screen. The combination works well for me and is much easier on me. Now I have 2 more pieces of equipment to clean but the trade off I think is worth it.

20180131_142916.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Dragonfyre,

I have jacketed 105 gallon still boilers that cost less than $5.000.00  You can distill on the grain in them.  If you ever need one give me a holler.  it will make your life a lot easier and you won't have to throw all of that alcohol out with the grain.  We had one customer who gained 20% more output when he started distilling on the grain with our equipment.  That is how much alcohol he was throwing away with the grain after separation.  He was really shocked because he said the grain seemed fairly dry after separation, so he did not think that there was much alcohol in it. You could distill on the grain and then separate out the grain afterwords for cattle feed.  Most hog farmers will take it liquid and all.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Have pictures? I am needing a bigger still and that would be great, but it has to be copper. (interior copper anyway)

OK, so I did take a look at your site, and this is now off thread, put prices for that still in question look closer to $10,000 with controller and agitator, and it has very little copper.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Your still pot does not need to be copper to maximize your copper vapor interaction.  Just one of my defuser plate assemblies will give you more copper vapor interaction than an all copper pot still.  100% of the vapor that passes  through one of my copper defuser plate assemblies interacts with copper.  If you have an all copper pot still without a catalyzer you are not getting 100% interaction and therefore you are not removing 100% of the sulfurs.  My defuser plate assemblies consist of a stack of copper perforated plates.  The plates are spaced 1/8" apart and the perforations in  the plates are offset.  That way the vapor has to wind its way up through the plates and thus all of the vapor comes in contact with copper.    If you have an all copper pot the interaction between your liquid mash and the copper does not gain you anything because the copper only removes the sulfur from the vapor not the mash.  Since most of your vapor goes strait up your column it is interacting very little with the inside top of the pot.

  I also have a device that can go in your line arm that consists of perforated copper discs on a copper rod, and just one of those assemblies will give you more copper vapor interaction than an all copper pot still.  Also if your still was made by someone in the US besides Vendome they probably used copper alloy 110 which is not the best copper for a still.  Copper alloy 122 is the best copper to use for a still but you can not find it readily in sheet form made in the US.  Most US sheet copper is 110 which is mainly for electrical and architectural not for still pots and columns but most people don't know that so you have a lot of still builders using 110 because they just don't know any better.  Below is one of my combination mash tun stills with my 105 gallon jacketed bain Marie pot with the electric heating system.  If you click on this URL you will see this still pot with different configurations. https://distillery-equipment.com/105_gallon_still.htm

  If you want an all copper pot for looks, I can do one for you but it will cost a lot more.  I can sell you a defuser plate assembly that will do a better job than an all copper pot for less than $300.00

105%20gallon%20still%204%20plate%206inch%20copper-edit.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 1/26/2018 at 1:39 PM, Southernhighlander said:

 

 

Luater tuns do not work for corn.  You cannot sparge corn mashes because you cannot get any penetration due to the consistency.  I suggest one of my combination mash tun stripping stills.  You can cook the mash grain in.  Then pump out into a fermenter grain in.  Then pump the grain in mash back into the mash tun still and do a fast stripping run.  Then run the 25% to 35% low wines in the spirit still. 

If the solids are separated from the liquid after fermentation you are loosing 15% to 20% of the alcohol with the grain.    If you are separating after cooking and before fermentation you are loosing some of the sugars with the grain.  If you have a mash tun for corn,  i can sell you a kit to add a stripping still feature to that tun.  The best way to do barley based mashes is off the grain, but the absolute best way to do corn mashes is on the grain.  Which is why 99% or more of bourbon is distilled on the grain. 417-778-6100  paul@distillery-equipment.com

 

I agree with your comment about doing bourbon on-grain, but am curious why you think barley mashes are best off-grain?  We're in the process of changing our combo mash/lauter tun & stripping still to do only on-grain.  We do a lot of bourbon & whiskey, but some vodka & gin as well...  Care to elaborate?

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I keep getting myself in trouble with the above quoted post because I did not completely think my statements through when i wrote it.   What I should have said was that most Barley Distillers believe that Barley is best distilled off of the grain.  The vast majority of the distilleries in Scotland do Barley distillations off of the grain.  The majority of the other distilleries around the world that do Barley whiskeys, do it off of the grain.  They do this because they believe that the flavor profile of  off the grain Barley whiskeys is superior to on the grain barley whiskeys.  Also, I think that many of the craft distillers here in the US that use Barley based mashes distill off of the grain because they come from a brewing back ground.   The truth is that I have done it both ways and I actually liked the barley whiskey distilled on the grain better.  I thought that it had a better more complex flavor when it came out of the barrel    I did not get the bitter flavors and yeasty flavors that everyone said that I would get.  One of the products from my distillery will be a Barley Whiskey distilled on the grain.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 1/26/2018 at 9:42 PM, Ironton said:

Corn CAN be lautered, even 100%. The key is to use cracked corn, nutrients and a good amount to rice hulls. Pay attention to temperatures, take care of your mash and take your time on the sparge. The key is to not stir (as most people say), but instead cut the mash. The only problem you may have is efficiency, but assuming since you said that it is a "corn & malt mash" you will make up for it with the malt. As far as what you need it would best be answered if I know what you are working with as your mash tun. It could be as simple as a screen at the bottom or a copper pipe with slits cut into the bottom of it that fits into the exit port at the bottom of your mash tun form the inside. If you need more insight on this feel free to PM me and we can discuss over a phone call. 

Curious as to what you mean by "cutting" instead of stirring the mash?  

I have been using a hammer mill to crack my corn, I notice you say cracked corn is best.  Any thoughts or experience on using a roller mill as is common when lautering malt?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Roller mills typically do not work well with corn.  A hammer mill is best for corn. That's what hog and cattle farmers use. Roller mills are best for barley.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What if you drilled a ton of holes in a plastic 55 gallon barrel. Put that barrel inside and old IBC tote with the top cutoff.  Pump your spent mash into barrel. And then Agitate. Water exits into IBC tote and you simply drain the water away?????

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We've tried shoveling floor drain waste into 5g pails and garbage cans riddled with 1/16mm holes and weirdly can't get them to drain well even though it works well through for our false bottom hdpe setup that we use for our good spent grains. I can't explain why other than holes in the sides must get clogged. (We toss spent grains from floor drains since we assume them to be contaminated by floor waste and cleaning solutions and won't let that be fed to the cattle that eat our good spent grains)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, jbdavenport1 said:

What if you drilled a ton of holes in a plastic 55 gallon barrel. Put that barrel inside and old IBC tote with the top cutoff.  Pump your spent mash into barrel. And then Agitate. Water exits into IBC tote and you simply drain the water away?????

You would probably need to drill about 10,000 holes for it to drain.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

i watched a you tube video of a west Virginia distillery where the guy pumped his mash into a trailer the juice ran out and off he went with the trailer to shovel it to his cows . seemed pretty simple . 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 2/16/2018 at 9:49 AM, Still_Holler said:

Curious as to what you mean by "cutting" instead of stirring the mash?  

I have been using a hammer mill to crack my corn, I notice you say cracked corn is best.  Any thoughts or experience on using a roller mill as is common when lautering malt?

By cutting I mean taking a paddle and putting in the mash at the opposite side of the vessel from you and pulling the paddle towards you with it vertical cutting it like a knife. Then keep doing it to create a bunch of #. You are pretty much creating a filter rather than just moving it around and opening up the outsides so it can't lauter or just stirring it and turning it to glue. 

Bets mill IMO is one that is a roller and a grinder that will work with all types of grain. We use this http://rmsroller-grinder.com/brewing/brew-products/4-roller-configurations/. It's super efficient and best of all it is dustless!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 2/18/2018 at 6:15 AM, Silk City Distillers said:

Yeah, but how much do a farm and cows cost?  Needing to procure a farm, some cows, and have to care for them seems like a complicated solution.

It's a great solution if you know a farmer.  The spent mash still has most of the protein in it.  A cattle or hog farmer will typically pay for it.  You can pump into plastic totes.  They bring thier truck and trailer and you load the full totes and unload the empty totes that they bring back.  I know of several distilleries that do this.   A couple even give it away to row crop farmers that dump it into there manure spreaders and spread it for fertilizer. Now if you already raise cattle or hogs and you are starting a distillery then you are in the catbird seat.  I know of 2 farm distillers who own their own livestock and the spent mash cuts way down on their feed bills.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×