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Distilling on the Grain


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Hey guys!  I have seen alot of people talking about distilling on the grain.  I am going to give it a go, but one or two questions first.  

-Do you some how separate out the yeast before distilling?  

-If so how do you do it?  

My concern here is as the fermentation stops and right about when yeast would start to settle out so to would the grain cap drop.  So my thought is if you are distilling on the grain you are throwing the yeast in the still also.

- Do you get any off flavors, with this?  

I have a heating oil jacketed still so I am not worried about burning the yeast or grain.  But I am concerned of possible off flavors/yeast in the distillate.  

Any thoughts and technique tips would be awesome.

Thank you.

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If you distill on the grain, there really is no way to separate the yeast by itself.  The additional compounds that do come out contribute to the complexity of the grain.  You do want to be sure you have sufficient copper contact in the system, though, dead yeast cells will release some sulfur compounds.

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Minnetonka Dan

I would like to have seen the reaction you would have gotten if you had said that to Lem Motlow or Booker Noe.  For that matter, the reaction of any Master Distiller along the Bourbon trail.

So, I  have the same question as Silk City.  

RobertS is absolutely correct.

 99% of the Bourbon in the US is distilled on the grain.  That is the absolute best way to distill white dog for Bourbon and any Corn based Whiskey.

Here is the deal.  If you push off of the grain distillation equipment towards someone doing Corn Whiskey or Bourbon and you sell them that equipment, you are doing them a major disservice.  If you tell them that luatering and off the grain fermentation and distillation is the best way to do corn based mashes, then you are either intentionally giving them the wrong info, so that you can sell them your equipment, or you are ignorant of the correct process and need to do further research.        

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Um ... I didn't say anything about distilling on the grain being "wrong", I'm not sure how either of you read that.  I am fully aware that corn mashes require distilling on the grain, I'm not sure how you leapt to lautering corn mashes from what I said.  Yeast will be fully entrained throughout a mash slurry, you aren't going to separate yeast out from a corn mash.  It will be part of what is in the pot.  That is my point.  Off flavors being in the cuts is not the same as all flavors; the grain and yeast boiling in the pot of a bourbon distillation is part of what separates bourbon character from all malt scotch character.  Are you really claiming some copper is a worthless feature for a bourbon still?

Your reactions are puzzling, I have to admit.



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I don't know, I'm trying to find what exactly your beef might be.  I do claim that with yeast present in the pot, copper is a good idea.  That is literally the only recommendation I made here, but you seem to take issue with my comment.  You tell me what's up.

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You guys seem to be talking past each other, I can't really tell whose retort is responding to whom.

To the original query, these guys all seem to be agreeing, you distill on grain for corn traditionally (i.e., distiller's beer). Dan is right, you can't really remove the yeast and leave the grain behind. Did not notice anyone actually suggesting lautering corn. Good thing, too, it is really tough to do. Dan is also right that when distilling yeast in the pot, there is a greater generation of sulfur (and ammonia, both from added protein of yeast) that can by scrubbed by the use of copper in the still, particularly in the vapor path. You can avoid burning your corn distiller's beer by dialing back the temperature of your oil bath in the bain marie. You will need very good agitation of the corn beer as well, to prevent scorching, and keep thermal transfer efficient by combining convection and avoiding formation of a settling layer cooking onto bottom and walls of the pot.

We distill our bourbon on grain, in a copper pot still heated with a water-bath bain marie at full boil.

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