First corn whiskey mash - any good?

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TheJollyBrewer
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First corn whiskey mash - any good?

Post by TheJollyBrewer » Wed Jun 19, 2019 2:27 pm

Hi guys, I'm new to stillin (only run three) but have been full mash beer making for over 20 years. I'm looking to make my first corn whiskey mash this weekend and wanted to get peoples opinions of what I'm planning as it differs quite a bit from normal beer brewing. The easiest form of corn for me to get is flaked maize (I have 18kg). But I've read that this has less flavour than whole or cracked corn. So I was thinking of adding some frozen sweetcorn and cornflakes. Can you have a look at this and let me know what you think and if you'd recommend any changes?

30 litres (8US gallons approx)
7 litres (1.85 US Gallons) backset from sugarshine from spent grains from last beer mash (all pale malt)
6kg flaked corn (13 lb)
500g cornflakes (1.1 lb)
500g flaked rye (1.1 lb)
1kg sweetcorn (2.2 lb)
2kg Pale ale malt (4.4 lb)

Mix all corns and rye with 30 litres (10 US gallons) of boiling water and boiling backset and add high temperature enzyme. Insulate and allow to drop to 63ºC (145ºF) then add barley malt. Wrap up again and allow to drop to 25-27ºC (77-80ºF) then aerate with hand held blender and add still spirits whiskey yeast which has enzymes - amyloglucosidase enzyme (AG). Aiming for an og of about 1.065 - 70

Notes: I'll belnd up the sweetcorn and crush the cornflakes before mashing with the rye and flaked maize.

This is the yeast

https://www.lovebrewing.co.uk/whisky-pu ... ing-yeast/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" rel="nofollow

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Re: First corn whiskey mash - any good?

Post by Twisted Brick » Wed Jun 19, 2019 4:04 pm

Flaked corn is already pre-gelatinized so doesn't need to see boiling temps. (190F is good). It will thicken up considerably, and try to apply your HT enzyme at it's optimum temp. This may help explain some stuff.

You have 2.25lbs/gal grain without the 'adjuncts', which is plenty. For my first mash I would skip the corn flakes and sweet corn and concentrate on your mashing technique. Tracking starting and final gravities (you know this stuff) will help you learn how much grain to use in the future.

Not knowing your water chemistry, 1.85gal of backset may be a lot. It too, doesn't need to be boiling. I add my backset (1/2gal for 12gal bourbon mash) straight from the fridge after corn gelatinization. This helps drop the mash to saccharification temps.

This particular yeast was addressed a little while ago here. The feeling here at HD is that Turbo yeasts are inferior and to be avoided. You'll do better with bakers yeast (Fleishmann's, RedStar).

Good luck with your first distiller's mash!
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Re: First corn whiskey mash - any good?

Post by HDNB » Wed Jun 19, 2019 4:32 pm

watch the backset amount with the HTL enzyme at dough in stage, it deactivates below 5.6 and thats a lot of acid to throw at it.

i usually add backset after the HTL step (grain + water at my place =ph6, which is right in the middle of the ph range for HTL ) to lower to 5.2 for the GL enzymes to do their thing...they are ok at lower PH
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Re: First corn whiskey mash - any good?

Post by TheJollyBrewer » Thu Jun 20, 2019 1:43 am

Thanks for the feedback guys. Ok I'll drop the backset to just 5 litres and add once the enzyme has done it's stuff. I'll also drop the SW and flakes, see how it all goes. I'll use the yeast as I've used the Rum version and it's really good (great aromatics while fermenting) so interesting to see how the whiskey version goes. It's my understanding, and I may be wrong here, that the issues with the turbo is creating such high strength alcohol in the first instance. I'm not expecting more than about 6-8% abv so hopefully this wont be an issue. Also I think the yeast strain itself is different, just the nutrients are similar. but there seems to be considerably less in the packet so presumably this is because a typical turbo wash needs more nutrients whereas a whiskey mash would have more nutrients from the grain.

Another thing I forgot to mention - I was going to ferment on the grain. Is this recommended? You'd never do this in beer brewing but from what I've read and seen there are people who do and people who don't....

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Re: First corn whiskey mash - any good?

Post by fizzix » Thu Jun 20, 2019 3:01 am

TheJollyBrewer wrote:...Also I think the yeast strain itself is different, just the nutrients are similar.

Another thing I forgot to mention - I was going to ferment on the grain. Is this recommended? ...
I'm pretty sure that's NOT a turbo. Another member (Allmyexsliveinhell) has used it and made that distinction.
-------------------------------
I ferment on the grain and always have. Squeezing that shit out can make you lose your religion, though.
After the ferment, I auto-siphon what liquid I can, then squeeze the rest with this:
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Re: First corn whiskey mash - any good?

Post by TheJollyBrewer » Fri Jun 21, 2019 7:01 am

Well I've mashed it, just cooling at the moment. It seems to have worked. I mashed in the corn & rye, dedcided to use the cornflakes because I'm impulsive, but used 750g as that was the box size. Added enzyme and gave it a good stir. When it had cooled to about 68ºC I mixed 6 litres of it with 2kg of pilsner malt, left that to sit for 30 minutes then added it all back into the main mash. Seems to have good conversion and an og of 1.65 but I'll double check this when it has cooled. Hopefully I'll be able to add yeast later tonight. Very exciting.

I've not added backset yet, I'll add it before adding the yeast.

Thanks for all your advice guys.

I'm off now to find a mop wringer bucket thingy.

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Re: First corn whiskey mash - any good?

Post by BaxtersDad » Fri Jun 21, 2019 7:56 am

TheJollyBrewer wrote:Well I've mashed it, just cooling at the moment. It seems to have worked. I mashed in the corn & rye, dedcided to use the cornflakes because I'm impulsive, but used 750g as that was the box size. Added enzyme and gave it a good stir. When it had cooled to about 68ºC I mixed 6 litres of it with 2kg of pilsner malt, left that to sit for 30 minutes then added it all back into the main mash. Seems to have good conversion and an og of 1.65 but I'll double check this when it has cooled. Hopefully I'll be able to add yeast later tonight. Very exciting.

I've not added backset yet, I'll add it before adding the yeast.

Thanks for all your advice guys.

I'm off now to find a mop wringer bucket thingy.
I hope you meant an OG of 1.065 rather than 1.65!

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Re: First corn whiskey mash - any good?

Post by TheJollyBrewer » Fri Jun 21, 2019 11:31 am

Ha ha yes. 1.065

It’s still at 59C so I’ll measure it finally when I pitch yeast. Just added 5l backset.

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Re: First corn whiskey mash - any good?

Post by OtisT » Fri Jun 21, 2019 12:19 pm

Sounds like things are going well for you. This is not a problem, but you know that adding more liquid will be lowering your OG below 10 65. 10 65 is not too high, so next time you could consider mashing with 5 liters less water, then when you add 5 liters of backset you will have an OG of 10 65. Or you could mash with backset from the beginning. I often do this so I can boil my backset and kill any infections that may have sprouted. I see there are warnings about using it up front due to PH. If you are using a lot, relative to the overall volume, you may opt for adding after conversion.

Again, what you are doing is not a problem. I am simply bringing this up so you could increase your yield a bit next batch if you want. Otis
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Re: First corn whiskey mash - any good?

Post by TheJollyBrewer » Sat Jun 22, 2019 12:17 am

Woo hoo! 1.072 even with the backset! I think the high temp must have thrown the hydrometer off.

Otis, I get what you’re saying. I’ll keep that in mind next time.

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Re: First corn whiskey mash - any good?

Post by TheJollyBrewer » Fri Jul 05, 2019 12:58 am

It's been two weeks since I made this and not had a chance to run it (not sure when I will so....). It's pretty warm here and it's still fermenting. The yeast had the AMG enzyme in it and it seems to have pretty much broken everything down and fermented it. FG seems to be at 0.085! I didn't even know this was possible. So if that's correct I have and abv of about 12% which is fine by me. It smells good, no off flavours etc, but I've not tasted it yet. I'm happy leaving it until I can run it as at that ABV it should keep spoilage organisms at bay.

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Re: First corn whiskey mash - any good?

Post by decoy » Fri Jul 05, 2019 1:27 am

TheJollyBrewer wrote:It's been two weeks since I made this and not had a chance to run it (not sure when I will so....). It's pretty warm here and it's still fermenting. The yeast had the AMG enzyme in it and it seems to have pretty much broken everything down and fermented it. FG seems to be at 0.085! I didn't even know this was possible. So if that's correct I have and abv of about 12% which is fine by me. It smells good, no off flavours etc, but I've not tasted it yet. I'm happy leaving it until I can run it as at that ABV it should keep spoilage organisms at bay.
I had a plum wash I made, it too was about 12%, was busy so I let it sit got back some 2 weeks later and it turned to plum cider vinegar :(
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Re: First corn whiskey mash - any good?

Post by TheJollyBrewer » Fri Jul 05, 2019 6:07 am

Ok you've convinced me. Must make time....

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Re: First corn whiskey mash - any good?

Post by nateboussad » Mon Aug 26, 2019 7:44 am

I wasn't going to use any backset in this recipe but definitely will try another run and keep a generational run going. I had another question about pre-mashing as well. I was thinking about adding some malted barley to the cracked corn as I heat it up so it doesn't become a big glob.










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Re: First corn whiskey mash - any good?

Post by TheJollyBrewer » Mon Sep 02, 2019 2:58 am

I ran this last night. 27 litres of about 10% abv. Some very interesting fruity smells to start with, then fairly mild hearts. I collected right down to cloudy tails which smelled a bit funky and even smokey which was surprising. I still need to do the cuts from about 16 jars.

One thing is I'm not really sure what this should taste like, not having actually tasted anyone elses moonshine/corn liquor before. Can anyone give me any pointers? What to look for in the cuts, what to avoid etc?

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Re: First corn whiskey mash - any good?

Post by still_stirrin » Mon Sep 02, 2019 6:15 am

TheJollyBrewer wrote:
Mon Sep 02, 2019 2:58 am
...I'm not really sure what this should taste like, not having actually tasted anyone elses moonshine/corn liquor before.

Can anyone give me any pointers? What to look for in the cuts, what to avoid etc?
First off, I assume you’ve collected and eliminated the foreshots that smell like green apples (acetylaldehyde), that familiar smell in young Budweiser beers.

1) Early heads smell (and taste) like solvents as the keytones come through. They’ll smell like paint thinner (acetone) and they’ll give you a nasty headache if consumed.

2) The heads will smell like fingernail polish remover (ethyl acetate)...it’ll smell fruity and sweet. Kind of an inviting smell, but still a nasty headache maker. Be careful with these jars...there is alcohol that can be recovered in the cask through oxidization and reduction of the esters, but it takes time. The taste will leave a “burn” in your mouth (and beyond). Don’t get greedy. I put these jars into the feints.

3) As you get to the late heads and early hearts, it’ll start to smell slightly sweet and much less solventy. You may be inclined to keep these jars in your cuts, but consider how much of it you do. There still are some residual solvents and acetates that will give you a headache if consumed to excess. But, these jars do contribute some fruitiness to the heart cut especially from brandies and fruit ferments.

4) The hearts are slightly sweet and have a minimal smell except for the light alcoholic notes. Also, if the proof is high, you’ll notice a tingling on your tongue as the alcohol numbs your taste buds. Be careful if the proof is high as it can do tissue damage.

5) As you get to the late hearts and early tails you’ll notice the smell and taste begins to get “organic”, that is the grain flavors will become more pronounced. This is when the fusel oils start to come through because of the higher boiling point/lower volatility. Again, some of this flavor is nice to keep and blend back in to the hearts for more flavor. But be careful to not use too much as it will quickly overcome the delicate ethanol character.

6) Tails can be cloudy, especially for all grain ferments. This is because of the amount of oils present in the grains (and the amount and type of grains used). These take on a noticeable cardboard or “wet dog” quality and don’t taste very good. If you’re going to cask age the spirit for a long time, then some of these may increase the flavor. But use very sparingly (I prefer to put them into the feints jar instead).

7) Finally, once you get past the tails and near the end of the run, you’ll get some “sweet water” when the product clears up and the proof nears to water. This will smell quite neutral but taste slightly like sugar water...because that is what it is. I sometimes use a little sweet water to temper high proof hearts down to cask strength. Or, you could simply call it “done”

These are very broad strokes of paradigms I’ve noted. I suggest you grab a notebook and transcribe your perceptions as you sample your cuts. Note the smell and try to describe it in terms of generally known smells. Same thing for the tastes. Be descriptive.

And when making cuts, start at the middle jar and work your way down first before approaching the heads, as they’ll screw up your senses. Also, take your time with the process. Drink lots of water and let your nose stabilize between jars.

Finally, try to NOT make your cuts based upon the collection proof. Try to choose the very best of the jars to keep. And as you gain experience, you’ll sense outlying jars that can be (partially) blended back in.

Imagine you’re a master chef judging a recipe from a new restaurant. Or, you’re a beer judge at a homebrew competition. You’ve got to be selective and very critical of your senses. Practice makes this easier and enjoyable.
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Re: First corn whiskey mash - any good?

Post by TheJollyBrewer » Wed Sep 04, 2019 5:51 am

Wow, thanks that's really helpful. I've taken the foreshots and stored away from the rest. First jar smells pretty fruity,a little like pear drops. Like you said, nice but I can smell the headache. All the other jars were aired for 24 hours and I've now closed them up as I've not had time to blend yet, but I'll look over your notes and see how they compare.

When I closed up the jars they smelled quite different from when fresh so I'm sure some of the more volatile smells have gone. There are more aromas in there than I first thought and I think I can work out which jars start to go into tails. I'll update when I've blended these in a couple of days.

Thanks again, really apreciate the time and detail.

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Re: First corn whiskey mash - any good?

Post by TheJollyBrewer » Mon Sep 16, 2019 1:56 am

So I did two blends of this.
1. Pretty much exclusivley hearts. It's so nice. Smooth, tasty and way too drinkable. I'll keep this white. Diluted to 50% ABV.
2. Quite a wide cut with a little bit of fruity heads and then some more spiky tails. Idea here is I'm going to age this for a year or so on some toasted and chared american oak. It's a little funky at the moment but I think it will mellow and taste pretty good with some time.

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Re: First corn whiskey mash - any good?

Post by Farside » Sun Apr 12, 2020 2:57 pm

I'm making my first corn whiskey, and I have never even tasted corn whiskey. I'm in the process of running three batches of wash through stripping runs before I do 1 spirit run with the low wines.

Out of curiosity, I took a portion of the middle of my hearts in one of the runs, added some oak, and let it sit for a month (yes it's taking a while).

So I immediately identify corn on the nose, and in the flavour. I also have a strong influence of corn plant (as in the stalks and leaves rather then the corn) which I'm not exactly a fan of.

Do y'all think that undesirable corn vegetative flavour will dissipate during the spirit run?

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Re: First corn whiskey mash - any good?

Post by Chauncey » Sun Apr 12, 2020 3:06 pm

fizzix wrote:
Thu Jun 20, 2019 3:01 am
TheJollyBrewer wrote:...Also I think the yeast strain itself is different, just the nutrients are similar.

Another thing I forgot to mention - I was going to ferment on the grain. Is this recommended? ...
I'm pretty sure that's NOT a turbo. Another member (Allmyexsliveinhell) has used it and made that distinction.
-------------------------------
I ferment on the grain and always have. Squeezing that shit out can make you lose your religion, though.
After the ferment, I auto-siphon what liquid I can, then squeeze the rest with this:
Makes life easier.

mop bucket2.jpg
Well my name did get changed but yea ive used it. Not s turbo for sure but ive really concluded its pretty much a ripoff as most still spirits products seem to be. The alc tolerance is supposed to be 14 percent but i really wouldn't go over 9 or 10 percent abv. Im pretty lit right now but i can reflect more later. Also i concur with the sentiment to remove the sweetcorn and flakes and focus on mashing technique. Time, temp, ph are all things to watch closely in this case tho.
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Re: First corn whiskey mash - any good?

Post by Chucker » Wed May 20, 2020 5:29 am

I’ve been fermenting on the grain for years but I’d never bothered to squeeze out anything. I’ll siphon as much of the liquid as practical without worrying about the incidental sludge that comes along. From a 70# grain load with 32-35 gallons of water that will easily get about 12-15 gallons of beer.
My still pot is a 16 gal keg so it gets charged with no more than 12 gallons at a time. From the first rack I’ll do a strip run with the cooling turned off of the ccvm head. Back to the fermenter I’ll add 10 gallons of water and let it resettle overnite. I’ll then siphon that back off and charge the still with that, low wines, feints, and whatever else from the first rack. This will be a spirit run with full control applied.
While there’s still liquid remaining in the slop I figure that the dilution made by adding the water back makes any further recovery impractical; diminishing returns for the effort. So it just gets composted. If this was commercial it wouldn’t be economical but without those aspects to consider it’s more efficient, IMO, to get another batch prepared than it is to recover the low yield fraction.

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