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No-Chill Method for Whiskey?

Ben B

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I am pretty sure just about everyone is using some sort of method of crash cooling their mash/wash, but I am curious if anyone out there has tried using the no-chill method.

If so, what were your results and how long did you boil out? Grain-in?

I've heard there's a distillery in Seattle that isn't crash cooling and is having success.

Love to hear some of your thoughts on this.

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  • 4 years later...

Ben B, are you saying you don't have the functionality to cool your wort after mashing in? If so, depending on your size, is it not possible to put together a moonshine-style copper coil cooler? Alternatively, you could reference the farmhouse brewers of Belgium by using a koelschip/coolship; it's a wide, but shallow vessel that your wort is sent to after mashing in - spread out thinly, it cools quicker. If you can get your wort down to yeast-friendly temperature in a couple of hours, you'll be safe.

ALTERNATIVELY, if you are questioning whether you need to rapid-chill/boil to prevent something like DMS, most distillers won't do this. One example is Scotch Whisky distillers using 100% malted barley. They mash in using three 'waters'. Out of a example 19,000 litre wort, first water will be something like 7000 litres at, say, 63.5c. After mashing for 15-30 mins, this wort is run off into the fermenter (cooled) and inoculated with yeast. Meanwhile, the second water goes back onto the grain: 12000 litres at e.g. 75c. Eventually, this is also run into fermenter (cooled) where the yeast has already started its Lag Phase on the first water (all enzymes are retained in the first water to convert starch to sugars). Finally, third water goes onto malt at e.g. 88c at 7000 litres. This then becomes the FIRST water for your next mash, having pulled the last bits of starch out of the current malt.


Sorry for the long-winded response, but I hope that helps.

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  • 4 months later...

I am just getting started and learning but I heard of the technique of just dumping boiling water on the corn grains to mash in and then let it cook.  Corn needs to be over 80Deg c for 90 to 120mins to gelatinise. In a big mash tun. Mine are small at 240l. You dump 200l of water at 95deg C on 40kg of grain it drops to 90 deg C fast and then takes a couple of hours to get down to 80 deg.  At about 75deg I dump in my Rye and wheat.  That drops the temp a few degrees and then you let it go.  Give it a stir to mix everything up and your good. The next morning when the temp is at 35Deg C I pitch the yeast and its off and running quick smart.  Anyway just an alternative technique I read about that I thought I would try as in my current location I cant boil the 200l of Corn wash easily. I am probably loosing some efficiency but I am getting corn for about 35c a kilo.  Its working so far.  I got a couple of lactos last time right at the end but ran them anyway and they were great whiskey. 

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What about just using the tried and true "wort chiller" copper pipe like we have done forever with homebrew. Especially if you have a small enough mash tank. You can drop a coil in before during or at the end of the boil. Then run cold water through it and cool it down that way. You will have to agitate the hot wort to help cool it quicker.
If not that then a coil in a cold water bath (50gallon drum with a 3/4 coil in it) you can run the hot through the coil instead of the other way round. Id imagine that will work pretty fast and will be an inexpensive solution.

Thats pretty much how Payton Fireman does it in his book "Distillery Operations". I think he used a hot water heater to do it (or the coil from it).




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  • 3 months later...


I used all 3 methods, No chill, counter current cooling and the immersion coil cooling like the beer brewers do.  For straight corn washes I dont bother chilling it now. For barley washes the last few I have done the immersion cooling.  The counter current coolers I will probably use in the future when I step up in volume when I have my distillery and I am mashing 1000l at a time. But I am just a beginner at this. I am sure there are a people with a lot more experience than me.  The last couple of times I used the no chill method on a barley wash I didnt notice a huge difference in yeild but I did get a Lacto at the end. But I dont mind that as a bit of lacto gives a nice bit of flavour in whiskey. 

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