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Wheat grind specifics


needmorstuff

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This is a two fold question that is being driven by the purchase of a pump. I plan to make vodka from winter wheat using enzymes to reduce viscosity and starch conversion.

I recall that 280gm of wheat per litre of water is a good start.

I plan on a total wash of 300l, I have attempted to figure it out myself in the attached capture of a spreadsheet

for a 290.548 litre wash I calculate I need

  • 53.2 KG of flour (volume of 100.548 litres)
  • 190 litres of water

 

  1. What is the best grind for this application (assumed flour)
  2. What volume of wheat would make up that total 300l (100.548 litres)
  3. After a stripping run what percentage of solids would be in the still (57.7%)
  4. What would the viscosity be - no idea....

How am I doing?

vodka.JPG

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We use roller milled grains (winter wheat included) for all of our grain in mashes. At first I was skeptical, hearing advice from people saying that nothing short of flour would suffice. But we get great yields and everything works just fine with this coarser grind. Especially with exogenous enzymes, those things do work. As far as your recipe goes, I use weight of grain vs volume and look at the end result. I know a lot of the big guys use volume when talking about amount of grain, but I think you'll find most smaller places using weight. The idea being 1.5-2lbs (~<1 kg) per gallon of the total mash. So if my conversions are right that amount of grain seems to be on the lower end of that. Lots of good stuff to say about flavor production in lower gravity mashes though if that's what you're going for. I'm not sure I have a great answer about the leftover solids. They'll all be left over and you have to find a good way to get rid of them. That is/was honestly our biggest challenge of the whole process.

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Dewatering stillage becomes incredibly difficult the finer you mill, you'll hit a point at which you simply can't dewater the mud that will settle to the bottom of the still.  So while you may have made pumping easier, you are just moving the problem to a later point.  If you have the flexibility (luxury) to be able to dispose of liquid stillage, then maybe it's not a problem.  I knew of one distillery that milled to flour so they could just dump all the stillage into the sewer system (even though that's a terrible idea, is almost certainly illegal, so don't do it).

Ignore viscosity, just because you are milling finer doesn't mean you'll have an even distribution of solids.  If you wait 15 minutes they'll settle out, and what hits your pump will be mud/sludge.  Even using lobe pumps, and have no problem pumping mud, we still use agitators to keep solids in suspension.

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So it's a trade off, flour gets a great conversion but is impossible to remove water from and makes disposal if stillage hard. Pumping easy if you agitate.

A coarser grind has perhaps less conversion, is a little harder to pump, but is easier to separate put from stillage.

I'd be inclined to grind coarse enough to allow water the be removed, yet allows a good conversion (without cooking/boiling)

So what's the magic number 😉

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Even with our coarser grind we don't get really any dewatering done with wheat or rye. We get some great separation with corn though. The corn seems to make more of a tea where there's very clear solids separation. The rye and wheat end up like more of an oat meal consistency, and doesn't create a ton of separation even after letting it settle for a while. We gravity empty our spent stillage into totes outside off the loading dock, let it settle for a day or so, then use a cheapo sump pump to remove what liquid we can off the top. Not super effective but it saves us a bit in disposal costs. 

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2 hours ago, kleclerc77 said:

Even with our coarser grind we don't get really any dewatering done with wheat or rye. We get some great separation with corn though. The corn seems to make more of a tea where there's very clear solids separation. The rye and wheat end up like more of an oat meal consistency, and doesn't create a ton of separation even after letting it settle for a while. We gravity empty our spent stillage into totes outside off the loading dock, let it settle for a day or so, then use a cheapo sump pump to remove what liquid we can off the top. Not super effective but it saves us a bit in disposal costs. 

good to know, so the best I am going to get is let it settle, remove what water i can and then paid disposal.. or maybe my local pig farmer wants it...

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We've found that the only thing farmers around here want is the last of our bourbon mashes, lots of grain and not much water because of the way the grain settles in the fermenter. The rye and wheat mashes are way too wet, and we can't remove any liquid from them because of their oatmeal like consistency. You can buy grain dewatering systems that will do the trick, but they are a bit pricy and add another step to the process.

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Just a FYI here:

Here in CA where we face the worst drought in 1,200 years, our farmers are taking our spent grain and water in totes to hydrate and feed their cattle/sheep.  They basically just fill a trough with a tote and stand back as the cattle drink and then eat the mixture. Consider it a protein shake for livestock. 

The hydration is a now wanted equally to the spent grain as many farmers can't turn on their well for irrigation or watering livestock on a daily basis. We've gotten to the point we rinse all our vessels into totes as well as all of our hoses. We figure we now only waste 25 gallons of water a day for mopping...

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15 hours ago, Golden Beaver Distillery said:

Just a FYI here:

Here in CA where we face the worst drought in 1,200 years, our farmers are taking our spent grain and water in totes to hydrate and feed their cattle/sheep.  They basically just fill a trough with a tote and stand back as the cattle drink and then eat the mixture. Consider it a protein shake for livestock. 

The hydration is a now wanted equally to the spent grain as many farmers can't turn on their well for irrigation or watering livestock on a daily basis. We've gotten to the point we rinse all our vessels into totes as well as all of our hoses. We figure we now only waste 25 gallons of water a day for mopping...

amazing and exactly how we should all be thinking, but it rains A LOT in the uk. I think pig farmers aren't fussy... I will try.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Usually white all-purpose and baking flour has the bran and germ removed before milling - so they are not directly comparable.  They might also be bleached, enriched with vitamins, and have anti-caking agents added.

Technically, the alcohol yield could actually be higher though, since it’s predominantly the convertible/fermentable starch.

Bread flours tend to be a bit higher in protein - so they make more gluten, which would take the ethanol yield slightly in the other direction.

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I did an Excel spreadsheet for barley malt.  Again planning for lots of what ifs based on quantities.  I used your input value of 53.2 Kg.

 

 

mash1.png

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1 hour ago, Silk City Distillers said:

Usually white all-purpose and baking flour has the bran and germ removed before milling - so they are not directly comparable.  They might also be bleached, enriched with vitamins, and have anti-caking agents added.

Technically, the alcohol yield could actually be higher though, since it’s predominantly the convertible/fermentable starch.

Bread flours tend to be a bit higher in protein - so they make more gluten, which would take the ethanol yield slightly in the other direction.

I'm just wondering exactly what I need to tell the miller as it's an unknown to me at present.

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I have feedback form elsewhere that the grind should consider the process and the cleanup,

if directly heated grind coarse, aim for 60c strike temp for cooking, presuming this benefits from a good hold time. The coarse grind is so the wash can be cleared as we wont be distilling on the grain

If indirectly heated, you can grind fine which presumably has better conversion properties, can have a lower strike temp (though 60c is fine). Distilling on the grain so fine grind is fine.

However if a coarse gring enables an easier cleanup then course grind may be the way to go in any case. Just depends how "easy" removing spent grain from wash or stillage actually is.

 

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