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Hey guys,

Been distilling for about a year and a half on a hillbilly still, w flute, and 5500 watt direct heating element.

Last week I ventured into "on the grain" for the first time.

Amazing fermentation results, much easier mashing, only problem is I have now scorched 2 mashes and I am at a loss.

I read through as many forums as I can here, and I found one user who claims Rye needs a much more substantial beta-glucanase break to avoid scorching in a mash. Is that my problem? Also, yes, I brought it up real real slow and agitated as much as I could without being on it constantly for 2 hours.

100% rye mash with 95% BSG toasted rye, and 5% BSG rye malt. 2 step mash infusion at 158 and 140. Ground the grains down to an extra course flower, maybe 1/32".

Help?

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Sorry, its never going to work.  You need indirect heat for grain in.

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Are you running full power once at temp and are you agitating continuously ??

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Ricdemont,

 

We have some small inexpensive jacketed bain marie stills were you can run oil or water in the jacket with your 5500 watt element in the jacket and you will never have to worry about scorching again.  paul@distillery-equipment.com  We have them in 6, 10, 20 gallon and larger operating capacities. 417-778-6100

 

 

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Is it a really nasty burn or a light scorch? I know peated whiskies are not so popular in US but a light scorch can be a pleasant alternative to using peat.

Also only 5% malt, that may be a bit light on to get full conversion,

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With 5.5kw, I imagine you are running something around 15 gallons size.

You can filter your wash through a paint strainer bag from home depot.  Let your wash settle a day, pour off the bulk, then pour the rest through the strainer bag and give it a good squeeze.  You'll lose some yield, increase your ferment size by 5-10 gallons so you still yield a full still run.

A good portion of the on-grain flavor is coming from distilling the wash with the yeast.

Yes, you are losing yield, but at that scale it's inconsequential, just ferment more to make up for it.

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I used to have a very similar set up and the scorch is 110% a result of the electric coil. 

When people ask me about small sale distilling, I always recommend using a grain out procedure when the heating source is either an electric coil or direct fire burner. I even spent hours building a custom agitator for my 100L electric still and was still left with a scorching flavour. 

Only with a jacketed pot can you achieve non-scorched grain in distillation. 

Hope this helps, 

Cheers. 

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11 hours ago, Greenfield said:

I used to have a very similar set up and the scorch is 110% a result of the electric coil. 

When people ask me about small sale distilling, I always recommend using a grain out procedure when the heating source is either an electric coil or direct fire burner. I even spent hours building a custom agitator for my 100L electric still and was still left with a scorching flavour. 

Only with a jacketed pot can you achieve non-scorched grain in distillation. 

Hope this helps, 

Cheers. 

Sad to hear this, but thank you for the experienced advice. I cannot move to a jacketed pot until I bite the bullet and try to move to a professional setup, but I suppose I can infer most of the flavor changes I will get from grain in through testing off the grain.

 

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18 hours ago, richard1 said:

Are you running full power once at temp and are you agitating continuously ??

I am agitating with a 14V corded drill so I can not truly agitate continuously with the setup I have. But I did agitate probably 75% of the total heat up time.

I am keeping full power in during distillation, usually 15A at this volume.

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13 hours ago, PeteB said:

Is it a really nasty burn or a light scorch? I know peated whiskies are not so popular in US but a light scorch can be a pleasant alternative to using peat.

Also only 5% malt, that may be a bit light on to get full conversion,

It's a pretty nasty scorch. At one point I saw what I assume to be rye smoke (like a light brown smoke) coming from the parrot and it smelled pretty strongly of burnt popcorn.

I actually got really good conversion with the 5% malt, but I use added enzymes as well.

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13 hours ago, Silk City Distillers said:

With 5.5kw, I imagine you are running something around 15 gallons size.

You can filter your wash through a paint strainer bag from home depot.  Let your wash settle a day, pour off the bulk, then pour the rest through the strainer bag and give it a good squeeze.  You'll lose some yield, increase your ferment size by 5-10 gallons so you still yield a full still run.

A good portion of the on-grain flavor is coming from distilling the wash with the yeast.

Yes, you are losing yield, but at that scale it's inconsequential, just ferment more to make up for it.

I may give this a try and see what happens with it, though I may just go back to off the grain and put the yeast in with the ferment? I have been avoiding the yeast thus far for fear of it burning, but I may give it a shot.

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You won't be able to strain the yeast out with a strainer bag, your beer will be fairly milky.  You'll see when you squeeze out the grain, it runs like milk.

I reiterate, the flavor contribution of on-grain has more to do with the inclusion of yeast than the bulk grain solids remaining in the wash.  The inclusion of bulk grain has more to do with total yield and batch efficiency, than it does flavor.   Yes, there is some cross-over back and forth, the grain does contribute to flavor, just not as substantially as the yeast.

If you separate the grain post-fermentation, and allow the yeast to fall out of suspension to the bottom, and then distill the remaining clarified liquid, you'll get a significantly lighter flavored whiskey, similar to the style folks are getting when they distill "finished" out of date beer from a brewer.

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15 hours ago, RicdeMont said:

Sad to hear this, but thank you for the experienced advice. I cannot move to a jacketed pot until I bite the bullet and try to move to a professional setup, but I suppose I can infer most of the flavor changes I will get from grain in through testing off the grain.

 

I have jacketed pots for less than $400.00  paul@distillery-equipment.com

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3 hours ago, Silk City Distillers said:

You won't be able to strain the yeast out with a strainer bag, your beer will be fairly milky.  You'll see when you squeeze out the grain, it runs like milk.

I reiterate, the flavor contribution of on-grain has more to do with the inclusion of yeast than the bulk grain solids remaining in the wash.  The inclusion of bulk grain has more to do with total yield and batch efficiency, than it does flavor.   Yes, there is some cross-over back and forth, the grain does contribute to flavor, just not as substantially as the yeast.

If you separate the grain post-fermentation, and allow the yeast to fall out of suspension to the bottom, and then distill the remaining clarified liquid, you'll get a significantly lighter flavored whiskey, similar to the style folks are getting when they distill "finished" out of date beer from a brewer.

Sorry, I think I would disagree. I think the grain contribution can be as much or even more than the yeast contribution to the flavor. A good example of this to the negative side is doing barley on grain, where the presence of the hull causes a major flavor difference often found undesirable (and another reason to do malt whiskey from a wash). Although I would note we see more grain-vs-yeast contribution for a pot whiskey (no plates or thumper), and less grain-vs-yeast if using plates. YMMV

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17 hours ago, RicdeMont said:

Sad to hear this, but thank you for the experienced advice. I cannot move to a jacketed pot until I bite the bullet and try to move to a professional setup, but I suppose I can infer most of the flavor changes I will get from grain in through testing off the grain.

 

Try making some malt whiskey, which is normally done off-grain (from a wash). You can also try making a wash from malt rye, but as pointed out by someone else, you will get more suspended solids. In either case, key might be allow trub or lees with solids including yeast to settle out, and remove, before transferring to the pot for distillation.

Otherwise, I recommend working out with Southernhighlander to see if he can provide an affordable jacketed pot that could be swapped for what you have now.

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