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greasy white stuff in stripping run


New Columbia Distillers

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We use 100% soft red winter wheat fermentations for our gins. Hammer milled and mashed with enzymes from Novozymes. Fermented and stripped on the grain in a Carl pot still. During each of our stripping runs, especially in later stages, we get little gobs of white oily/waxy/fluffy stuff coming out of the parrot's beak with the low wines. They have a mildly unpleasant smell. They dissolve when they make it into the low wines tank and don't reappear in any of our subsequent distillations. Any idea what this is? We have not been removing it and our high wines turn out fine, as does the gin. We could try filtering it out, but I'm suspecting it might ultimately contribute to our mouthfeel. Curious.

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Interesting. I've seen similar stuff with a soft red winter wheat, but I assumed it was from the anti-foam I was using...I only saw it in stripping.

If you aren't using an anti-foam like FermCap, then my next guess would be large amounts of epicuticular waxes from the wheat. I don't know which varietal you use, so it's hard to track down whether it's due to a larger volume of docosonols and policosonols from the grain itself. They are mildly solvent in ethanol. I don't really have much knowledge or education when it comes to wheat composition, I just remember studying wax platelet formation and we discussed epicuticle waxes on grain at the time...I know they exist, that's about it!

I'll ask my botanist Aunt about it...maybe she knows something.

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Interesting. I've seen similar stuff with a soft red winter wheat, but I assumed it was from the anti-foam I was using...I only saw it in stripping.

If you aren't using an anti-foam like FermCap, then my next guess would be large amounts of epicuticular waxes from the wheat. I don't know which varietal you use, so it's hard to track down whether it's due to a larger volume of docosonols and policosonols from the grain itself. They are mildly solvent in ethanol. I don't really have much knowledge or education when it comes to wheat composition, I just remember studying wax platelet formation and we discussed epicuticle waxes on grain at the time...I know they exist, that's about it!

I'll ask my botanist Aunt about it...maybe she knows something.

Thanks. We do use Fermcap (and some EVOO for the yeast), but we get the white foam even when we occasionally forget the Fermcap and we got it before we started adding EVOO. It does have a bit of a waxy taste/feel, so your idea is probably right.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks. I strongly suspect you are right that it improves the mouthfeel. We are running an experiment now. In yesterday's stripping run, we strained most of the white foam out. We'll see if there is a noticeable difference in today's high wines.

Follow-up: the high wines with the white fluff strained out did seem a bit thin on the tongue, so the oil or wax in it does seem to improve the mouthfeel. We will not try to remove it from our process.

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Straining some of that oil out can help control astrigency in the finished spirit. I've found that the spirit can have a slightly rancid finish on a high wheat mash bill if I let all of that stay in, but I was working with a vodka so it may be less of an issue with a gin.

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