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What type of corn y'all using for your bourbon / corn mash?


Packersfan1964

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Doing our first bourbon runs and bought flaked corn from BSG. It has definitely been a son-of-a-bitch to work with. Have you guys had more success using corn flour or cracked corn? We've been heating up to 190F and adding HiTempase, it's been working but a pretty low yield.


Thanks as always!

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What's your mash regimen?  What's your grain bill?  How many pounds/gallon.   Guessing the problem isn't the corn.  But just guessing without lots more info. Also I've never used flaked corn but my understanding is that it's been gelatinized in the flake process and you don't have to go to 190 with it. That's probably the upper end of your enzymes capabilities if not completely denaturing it all together.  But like I said. Just guessing without more info. 

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Yep, the flaked stuff wants to be polenta, the flour is even worse.  You get to a point where you think you should just go out and buy some spoons, and invite the neighborhood in to help you clean up the mess.

You are adding HTAA twice?  On the way up, and on the way down?  Adding on the way up keeps it from turning to a solid mass, once you've achieved full gel, you'll need to add it again once you start cooling, as a good portion of the enzyme has probably been denatured at the high temp.   What is your malt to unmalted ratio, and what malt?  Or alternatively, are you using any additional enzyme in addition to the Hitempase?

Your flaked yield should be very high, nearly total - if you are using HTAA and Glucoamylase and fermenting on the grain.

 

 

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I agree with Scrounge. No need to heat to 190 as flaked corn is fully gelatinized.  Cracked corn and corn flour must be heated to 190 to gelatinize, hence the lower cost per pound. Silk is also correct.  Adding HTAA on the heat up is very helpful, maybe around 130 degrees.  But that depends on the specific temp range of your enzyme, best to get a hold of the temp and pH ranges of your HTAA and Glucoamylase.  There are several good discussions on this forum about enzyme mashing, this is one I ran into

And yes, corn is still a bitch to work with no matter what,

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1.       Pump 100 gallons of filtered water to bring the PH from 8.1 to 5.8 to 6.0

2.       Add corn (150lbs) to cold water

3.       Raise water & Corn to a boil ADD HITEMPASE AND  HOLD 190-203 FOR 30 MINUTE

4.       DROP TEMP TO 152 ADD AMYLO 300 AND REST (Stop Agitation) AS TEMP FALLS THROUGH 150 RANGE OVER 60 MINUTES

5.       When temperature drops 149F mix in remaining grain and Gluco-Amylase

a.       Add Barley  (30lbs)

b.      Gluco Amylase (1 TSP per 23L water)

c.       Stir for 5 minutes

d.      Slowly agitate for an hour to 90 minutes

6.       Pump to fermentation tank and crash cool to 90F

7.       Measure SG

8.       Pitch Yeast

 

Originally we were just going to raise the temp to 165 and add malted barley (after it dropped to 150F) but our consultant said it is better to raise to 190F and use barley flakes.

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" No need to heat to 190 as flaked corn is fully gelatinized. "

 

This is what I thought but then I was told otherwise. I'm going to do a 5 gallon test batch today and see if I can fully convert with the recipe above, but forget about going to 190 and stop at 165.


Thanks

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What have your SG and yield been?  I think you really just need a couple of tweaks to optimize your process, it's not off.

Would recommend adding the corn and hitempase cooler, and agitate on the heatup.  Do not add Hitempase to boiling liquid, you'll denature it very quickly.  You'll have an overall faster process by letting the corn hydrate some during the heatup period.  It's not like cracked that doesn't do much before you hit gelatinization temps.

I would add a second dose of Hitempase after your temperature hold, but at a lower temperature, especially if you are holding above 180.  I would add the second dose no higher than about 170.

I would also lower the temp at which you add your glucoamylase, try 135.  You do not want any GA to denature as you want enough of it active throughout the fermentation.  Above 140 it will quickly denature.  At 152 you will probably only get 15-20 minutes out of it, and then it's just scrambled eggs.

 

 

 

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I've never found corn to be too bad. We source our corn from a grain elevator about 45 mins north of Indianapolis. The process is similar to what others have said,

 

mix corn and water at about 2lbs / gallon (I have gone as high as 4 lbs as an experiment)

adjust ph; add ht alpha am.

heat to 190 / hold until negative starch

lower to about 170 / add "other grains" 

add gluco am

sach rest (add b glucan if it's rye-gooey)

cool to pitching temp

pitch yeast

This is from memory but it's close to being correct. All grain ground to flour.

 

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Your SG is in the ballpark for the info you provided...  150 pounds of flaked corn in 100 gallons of water will give you:

~1.045 at about 75% efficiency - which is about average
~1.060 at about 100% efficiency - which is unlikely

Now, realize that your enzymes are active throughout fermentation, so your starting gravity is only partially indicative of your final alcohol yield.

 

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4 hours ago, ColoradoDistiller said:

Indy - how long are you holding the initial heat up to get negative starch?

I'd guess 45 mins to an hour. Honestly we don't really check before 45 minutes so that's a poor answer. Next time I'll take a reading at 30 mins.

 

4 hours ago, ColoradoDistiller said:

Are you using an iodine test or something different?

 

Yup. Simple CVS / Walgreen tincture of iodine.

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26 minutes ago, bluestar said:

We do 300 pounds flaked corn with enough water added to make 150 gallons. 35 lbs of malt.

Bluestar... I'm curious as to why you use flaked maize as it's so much more expensive that ground. Yes, I understand that the steaming process gelitinizes the starch but I can't imagine (granted I've not run the numbers) that it's financially advantageous.  How many gravity points does a pound of flaked maize in a gallon of water contribute? Do you use any enzymes at all or just barley?

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4 hours ago, Silk City Distillers said:

Now, realize that your enzymes are active throughout fermentation, so your starting gravity is only partially indicative of your final alcohol yield.

 

Would you mind expanding on that? How do the activity of enzymes during fermentation effect yield? Is there something else I should be looking at beside my SG reading?

 

Thanks,

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Unless denatured during mashing, Alpha Amylase and Glucoamylase will continue to be active during fermentation.  The enzymes (primarily glucoamylase) are able to continue to convert dextrin as well as slowly hydrolyze any remaining ungelatinized (raw) starches throughout the fermentation process.  This means that while your SG measurement is correct at the time you took it, that the actual yield will be higher than your potential alcohol (starting gravity - final gravity) would lead you to believe.

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1 hour ago, Silk City Distillers said:

The enzymes (primarily glucoamylase) are able to continue to convert dextrin as well as slowly hydrolyze any remaining ungelatinized (raw) starches throughout the fermentation process.

This is where beer folks get confused (me included). Initially when I made single malt / 100% barley spirit (this was in my garage experimentation stage) I brought my wort to a boil as I would with beer.  That served to sterilize the wort, a part of which was denaturing the enzymes that would continue to work even during fermentation.

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Exactly - unfermentable sugars, residual sugars and dextrins - these are incredibly important in beer - mouthfeel, body, flavor.

I would imagine adding glucoamylase to your favorite beer recipe, post boil, would make it drier, thinner, and increase the alcohol content - you might even think it ruined the beer.

 

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Indyspirits,

 

Why do you drop to 170 for other grains?  Why not add all at once or is malt one of those cereal grains?  I ask because I will add corn and rye or wheat all at once, run up to 190 then drop to 150 to add in malt.  I do not do separate temp steps for rye and corn though. I have never had any problems doing this.  

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16 hours ago, indyspirits said:

Bluestar... I'm curious as to why you use flaked maize as it's so much more expensive that ground. Yes, I understand that the steaming process gelitinizes the starch but I can't imagine (granted I've not run the numbers) that it's financially advantageous.  How many gravity points does a pound of flaked maize in a gallon of water contribute? Do you use any enzymes at all or just barley?

We use some additional enzymes, but malt is the major contributor to enzymes. We save on time, labor, energy, and space by using pre-gelatinized corn, that for our specific set up, compensates the additional cost. Sure, if we modified our operation and expanded our equipment, we could take advantage of cheaper ground corn. Everything is a trade-off.

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35 minutes ago, bluestar said:

 Everything is a trade-off.

Isn't that the truth! We still mash in our still. I'd love a proper mash tun but it's simply NITB at this time (not in the budget).  Question for you: at on time I looked at steam rolled corn from our local farm co-op. It was quite a bit less expensive (around $11 / 50 lbs) than flaked maize from BSG. What I couldn't determine is if the steaming process had gelatinized the starch and thus wouldn't require a gel step.  The gentleman at the co-op kept stating it was "pre-digested" (this was animal feed) which I assume to mean the starch had been converted. Did you ever look at anything other than flaked maize for your corn component? If you google "steam rolled corn" you'll see what I am referring to.

 

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Our locally available steam rolled oats are not completely gelatinized, they need to ride along with cracked corn for a full cereal cook.  If it's representative of other steam rolled products, I would do some testing to understand if it is fully gelatinized.   I would imagine steam rolling grains to improve digestibility in cattle might have a different set of goal posts than whiskey.

 

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3 hours ago, Silk City Distillers said:

 I would imagine steam rolling grains to improve digestibility in cattle might have a different set of goal posts than whiskey.

 

Well put!

 

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On June 14, 2016 at 10:24 AM, indyspirits said:

Isn't that the truth! We still mash in our still. I'd love a proper mash tun but it's simply NITB at this time (not in the budget).  Question for you: at on time I looked at steam rolled corn from our local farm co-op. It was quite a bit less expensive (around $11 / 50 lbs) than flaked maize from BSG. What I couldn't determine is if the steaming process had gelatinized the starch and thus wouldn't require a gel step.  The gentleman at the co-op kept stating it was "pre-digested" (this was animal feed) which I assume to mean the starch had been converted. Did you ever look at anything other than flaked maize for your corn component? If you google "steam rolled corn" you'll see what I am referring to.

 

I am not sure what pre-digested means. We don't buy anything labeled as that. Our corn is sometimes called flaked or other times steam rolled, they are the same thing. It is yellow hard dent food grade. That is different than yellow hard dent feed grain. Both are field corn, but the food grade is high in starch and the feed grade is high in protein. Protein is waste for a distiller, so you want food grade. It is pre-gelatinized with steam heating and cracked/flaked with rollers. There are many versions of it, even from a single millhouse. 

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