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I have a a bunch of questions about malted corn.

Has anyone worked with malted corn?

At what temperature does the conversion take place?

What is the diastatic power?

Can it be roller milled and lautered in a grain bill with 49% barely and 51% malted corn?

Any literature or article  suggestions on the subject would be appreciated as well.

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My Grandfather used malted corn to make his Charter Whiskey (Bourbon).  He did his first run of whiskey with his grandfather in 1894 and he never strayed from the recipe.  When I was a kid, I helped him malt his corn.  He said that only Hickory Cane and Hickory King Corn where fit to malt.  He said "yeller corn haint fit to malt, it'll mold on ye."  Hickory Cane and Hickory King were used throughout the southern Appalachians for making Whiskey. Most of the big distilleries stopped using these varieties years ago because of the expense.  Jack Daniels distillery used them until Lem Motlow started using dent corn to save money.  

Where and when I grew up in the Great Smoky Mountains, we used Hickory King for making corn meal, for the table, making whiskey and for feeding our livestock. I remember the stalks growing up to 13' tall in good soil.  I have asked a couple of malting houses about it and they said they never heard of it. 

If you are going to pulverize corn you need to use a hammer mill.  Roller mills don't work well with corn.  I don't remember enough to answer your other two questions.  Good luck.

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Corn doesn't malt well according to a craft maltster I know.  Something about the acrospires being fragile and breaking off prematurely - resulting in far under-modified malt.  Not to mention, maize isn't ideally suited for malting.

Even done well, maize has barely enough diastatic potential to convert itself, let alone other unmalted grain.  Keep in mind, barley intended for malting has been selected and cultivated for high diastatic potential, maize the exact opposite - starch potential.

I've heard mixed stories about lower temperature gelatinization of malted corn.  Depending on the malting process inefficiency, there may be quite a bit of starch still tied up as dense starch - requiring high temperatures to gel.  This creates a little bit of a catch-22 - balancing conversion yield and enzyme denaturing.  Ultimately, you'd likely still want to use exogenous enzyme and higher temperatures.

In terms of overall flavor profile - I don't know that it's so clear cut to assume malted corn makes better whiskey than unmalted corn.  Unmalted grain results in cleaner fermentation, however we know the "fingerprint" of congeners is important to flavor of the overall spirit.  Too clean isn't always better.  I've hear the term "grassy" to describe malt corn whiskey.

Make sure your farmer isn't using a propane drier, don't think you'll ever get that to malt well.

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  Using my recollections of the amount of whiskey my grandfather was producing, his fermentation had to be between 7% and 9% ethanol.  The large kernel, white, hickory king corn malted extremely well, with lots of sprouts and zero mold.   Dillard Hall's primary corn whiskey recipe consisted of his malted corn and our families yeast strain and that was it.  Keep in mind that my people made corn whiskey from malted corn for centuries and they were the progenitors of American style whiskies that utilize corn.

   Growing up, I knew a lot of old timers who had made corn whiskey.  I knew them because of my grandfather and all  of them, except for a few, who were his close friends, called him Uncle Dillard.  Uncle was a term of respect among the Southern Mountaineers. These old timers where mostly born just before or just after the turn of the 20th century.  Before cheap sugar came along, they all used malted corn that they malted themselves using the same corn strains and methods that my grandfather used, as well as the same kind of indirectly fired copper still.  They all distilled their malted corn whiskies on the grain.  Many times the stills they used had copper pots, copper line arms and copper coils with the head, thumper and flake stand made from barrels. Add the fermented mash, stir like hell with a wooden paddle until the mash starts to boil then put on the cap/head and line arm and you are off and running.  

 

 

 

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On 12/24/2019 at 2:21 PM, Southernhighlander said:

  Using my recollections of the amount of whiskey my grandfather was producing, his fermentation had to be between 7% and 9% ethanol.  The large kernel, white, hickory king corn malted extremely well, with lots of sprouts and zero mold.   Dillard Hall's primary corn whiskey recipe consisted of his malted corn and our families yeast strain and that was it.  Keep in mind that my people made corn whiskey from malted corn for centuries and they were the progenitors of American style whiskies that utilize corn.

   Growing up, I knew a lot of old timers who had made corn whiskey.  I knew them because of my grandfather and all  of them, except for a few, who were his close friends, called him Uncle Dillard.  Uncle was a term of respect among the Southern Mountaineers. These old timers where mostly born just before or just after the turn of the 20th century.  Before cheap sugar came along, they all used malted corn that they malted themselves using the same corn strains and methods that my grandfather used, as well as the same kind of indirectly fired copper still.  They all distilled their malted corn whiskies on the grain.  Many times the stills they used had copper pots, copper line arms and copper coils with the head, thumper and flake stand made from barrels. Add the fermented mash, stir like hell with a wooden paddle until the mash starts to boil then put on the cap/head and line arm and you are off and running. 

I have heard others also say that there are varieties of white corn suitable for malting, but definitely not yellow hard dent, which is prone to mold.

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We don't malt corn, only barley but Sugar Creek in Indiana malts corn.

Christmas has come early today! Got 3 of the 4 different corn we will be malting this winter. Bloody butcher, Alan Bishop’s Amanda Palmer, and Oaxacan Green all grown by Robert McDonald! Just waiting on white corn now! First batch going in the steep tomorrow! #craftmalt #craftbeer #craftmalt #craftwhiskey #sugarcreeklimitedreleasemalts #maltedcorn #heirloomcorn @ Sugar Creek Malt Co.

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On 12/24/2019 at 2:06 PM, Silk City Distillers said:

Corn doesn't malt well according to a craft maltster I know.  Something about the acrospires being fragile and breaking off prematurely - resulting in far under-modified malt.  Not to mention, maize isn't ideally suited for malting.

Even done well, maize has barely enough diastatic potential to convert itself, let alone other unmalted grain.  Keep in mind, barley intended for malting has been selected and cultivated for high diastatic potential, maize the exact opposite - starch potential.

I've heard mixed stories about lower temperature gelatinization of malted corn.  Depending on the malting process inefficiency, there may be quite a bit of starch still tied up as dense starch - requiring high temperatures to gel.  This creates a little bit of a catch-22 - balancing conversion yield and enzyme denaturing.  Ultimately, you'd likely still want to use exogenous enzyme and higher temperatures.

In terms of overall flavor profile - I don't know that it's so clear cut to assume malted corn makes better whiskey than unmalted corn.  Unmalted grain results in cleaner fermentation, however we know the "fingerprint" of congeners is important to flavor of the overall spirit.  Too clean isn't always better.  I've hear the term "grassy" to describe malt corn whiskey.

Make sure your farmer isn't using a propane drier, don't think you'll ever get that to malt well.

Thank you for your reply. Excuse my ignorance but when you say corn does not malt very well i get that . I get that other malted grains and/or enzymes galore are needed. However more important to me would be to know if I can get the starch conversion to take place without gelatinizing (cooking) of the corn first. Can I mash  malted barely with malted corn together at the same time (and at the same temp ) and get a decent bourbon mash. 

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Silk city.

The issues with gelatinizing corn for me are.

I have  no cooling capabilities in my mash tun. 

I use a plate heat exchanger to cool my lautered wort on the way to the fermenter. It works great but probably not with grain.  

I have conical fermenters (probably not well suited for fermenting on the grain)

I have a 2" hard piped drain line from my still that probably wouldn't drain still slops with grain in them. 

So against all common sense I want to try to make a bourbon mash (i totally get that many tried and most gave up) without fermenting or distilling on the grain. 

Here is what i am thinking.

Mash bill 51% malted corn roller milled (like they do at Makers Mark) 15% malted wheat and 34% malted barly + rice hulls + enzymes. 

Mash at 148F.  Lauter then ferment with Whiskey yeast .

Soliciting opinions and helpful comments..

 

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Roller mills do not work well for corn.  You will constantly have problems with it.  Hammer mills are typically used for corn.  Makers Mark has a lot of money so they may have some kind of special roller mill.  The roller mills that are typically used by brewers etc for barley will give you fits trying to do corn.

I have a tube in tube heat exchanger that will crash cool 300 gallons of mash in around 30 minutes for less than $3,000.00.

 

If your mash tun uses steam and is well built, then I can give you a plumbing design that will allow you to use your steam jacket as a crash cooling jacket, however I would need to see a drawing of the vessel first.

If your still is a baine marie and you use oil in your jacket, then I have a device that for less than $1,000.00 will turn your baine marie still into a self contained steam still.  You can then use the jacket for crash cooling as well as steam heat.  I also have relatively inexpensive mash pumps that can handle thick viscus corn mashes.  If you have a strong agitator you can crash cool by leaving some of the water out of the recipe.  Do you have jacket or cooling coils in your fermenters?  If so you can crash cool in them using an agitator.  We have some great prices on agitators.

If you need anything at all just email me paul@distillery-equipment.com or call me 417-778-6100  Emailing me is best as we stay very busy so I'm on the phone alot but I will call you back if you leave a message.

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