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Corn Mash Starch Conversion


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We are using a Liverani pump, looks to be a centrifugal style to me, also our mini-vigor from Vinters vault does a nice job, impeller pump


Not that I know which pump you are using, but most of the Liverani seem to be impeller type.

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Hey Roots,

I don’t see you using an alpha-amylase in there for the initial starch liquefaction. I also didn’t see anything about malt or other enzymes that were being used for conversion. The SEBamyl GL is a glucoamylase (an exo-amylase) and will work very slowly on long chains of starch. Generally glucoamylases are not recommended as the sole enzymes to be used for starch conversion, they are typically recommended as the second enzyme to be used after liquefaction with an alpha-amylase.

Also didn’t catch the general mashing procedures that you were trying out or any limitations on the system as well…

However, let’s volunteer some information and get on with it eh? The big 3 steps need to be addressed when we talk about turning starch into fermentable sugar: Gelatinization, Liquefaction, and Saccharification. These steps need to be performed in the aforementioned order, or (in some cases) these steps can be performed simultaneously. Example of simultaneously performing all three steps at once would be a standard infusion mash with malted barley.

Gelatinization is accomplished by heat and in the presence of water. Need to hit the temperature range for the specific grain you are working on to achieve thorough gelatinization. Physical disruption (through finer grinding of the grain) helps tremendously here.

Liquefaction is generally accomplished by an alpha-amylase. One provided by malt or exogenous will suffice. Work within the recommended pH and temp ranges.

Saccharification in this case is performed by the glucoamylase, though other enzymes are used here as well. Work within manufacturer recommended temperature and pH ranges.

Do all those steps in order and you will get good conversions. Maximizing your yields comes from making sure water: grain ratios are optimal for your system, calculating the theoretical yields based on your starch contents, working with optimum yeast fermentations, optimal yeasts, good nutrition, optimal agitation, so on and so forth.

As fldme was aiming for, calculate your theoretical yields based on starch content and work from there to optimize. I doubt many people get 90%+ efficiencies (due to losses and inefficiencies), but it will give you a ballpark of where to be.

If you provide more detail on the specifications of your mashing, I am sure we will be able to help.



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  • 2 weeks later...

Just a real quick question - I've seen people running mashes at 150pounds Corn (pretty finely milled) to 100 gallons of water - using the alpha-amylase and followed by the gulco-amylase. But I'm hearing that this ratio seems to have too much water. Would appreciate any comments.

Sorry for the newbie question.

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Hi Roger - thanks. That's what I have always heard - about 30 gallon beer for corn mash. I was asking because I saw Mr. Owens youtube video where he was demonstrating alpha- and gluco-amylase and he was using about 1 gallon h20 for 1.5 pound of corn.

So was just wondering.

Thanks again!

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Video looks good, Just keep in mind that it's all about energy and equipment efficiency when you are working on an industrial scale. If you add more water than you really need , you will use more fermenter space, still space and energy to extract your finish product. A 25-30 gallon beer gives you the best bang for the buck, but it can get a bit thick in the beginning.

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