Brew bag distill on grain question.

All styles of whiskey. This is for all-grain mashes.

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GNBrews
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Brew bag distill on grain question.

Post by GNBrews » Tue Apr 21, 2020 3:44 pm

I've heard a lot of folks don't like to distill on grain, either direct fire or with immersion elements due to non-ideal heat transfer causing scorching. If one were to fill the boiler with the liquid portion of the wash to fully cover the element and then suspend a mesh brew bag full of wash-absorbed grains at least partially in the liquid for heat transfer, but not touching the energy source (heated bottom or element), would that work? I'm thinking it would require minimal finagling and be easier than steam injection. Thoughts?

It's entirely possible that this topic has been discussed before, but my searches were not fruitful.

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GCB3
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Re: Brew bag distill on grain question.

Post by GCB3 » Tue Apr 21, 2020 3:59 pm

I would not want a man-made, plastic/poly bag suspended in boiling alcohol /water mixtures. Run away, Will Robinson!

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Re: Brew bag distill on grain question.

Post by Ronh » Tue Apr 21, 2020 4:03 pm

Then forego the nylon bag and use one of the cotton bags?

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Re: Brew bag distill on grain question.

Post by GCB3 » Tue Apr 21, 2020 5:09 pm

Try it and report back.

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Re: Brew bag distill on grain question.

Post by still_stirrin » Tue Apr 21, 2020 9:05 pm

GCB3 wrote:
Tue Apr 21, 2020 3:59 pm
I would not want a man-made, plastic/poly bag suspended in boiling alcohol /water mixtures. Run away, Will Robinson!
+1.

The question posted by the OP sounds dangerous and quite unmanageable. Obviously the OP doesn’t have much experience with running a boiler and perhaps not much experience with fermentation of a mash “on the grain”. For a “distillation on the grain”, steam injection or a baine marie are the most common (successful) approaches. Other “slight of hand” methods have been kicked around before, but the unproven viabilty has precluded further discussion...hence the lack of forum threads towards that end.
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Re: Brew bag distill on grain question.

Post by seabass » Tue Apr 21, 2020 9:48 pm

What are you trying to do? What kind of washes? Maybe you could get away with a false bottom and propane, but it would be easier to do a thumper setup with water or clean wash in the boiler.

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Re: Brew bag distill on grain question.

Post by BoomTown » Wed Apr 22, 2020 2:51 pm

Odd posting...can’t get my head around what ever this posting is suggesting....
“…Let’s do this one more time....”

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Re: Brew bag distill on grain question.

Post by GNBrews » Thu Apr 23, 2020 8:19 pm

C'mon, it's not a tough concept. Instead of injecting steam or using a true bain marie, the liquid boiler charge operates as the steam source and avoids all the complications of exterior liquid level control and waste heat (bain marie) or the use of outside steam. Use a large muslin sack if you're worried about alcohol contact at temperature. It would be an easy way to distill on the grains without ever exposing the solids to a temperature above boiling wash.

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Re: Brew bag distill on grain question.

Post by VLAGAVULVIN » Thu Apr 23, 2020 8:39 pm

Dude, it works. Just use some double-layer loosy cotton gauze / cheesecloth and be happy.

And dropping the bag onto a false bottom is much easier than suspending the bag... but I know the ones who f*k with it... successully (having no false bottom).

Just an example / no knowledge of the lang required...

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Re: Brew bag distill on grain question.

Post by GNBrews » Thu Apr 30, 2020 7:03 am

Thanks, VLAGAVULVIN. That's very similar to what I had envisioned; nothing new under the sun I suppose. :)

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Re: Brew bag distill on grain question.

Post by jonnys_spirit » Thu Apr 30, 2020 7:28 am

The alembics have a false bottom option that you can insert and fold out. Might be nice to make something similar to fit a keg or milkcan style still. The traditional grappa protocol uses this and some hay above the false bottom to keep pomace off the bottom.

Not sure how this would work in an electric element fired still but am interested.

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Re: Brew bag distill on grain question.

Post by pope » Thu Apr 30, 2020 7:31 am

Vlaga it makes me so happy to watch videos of other people doing the tedious, messy tasks I'm usually doing alone.
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Re: Brew bag distill on grain question.

Post by Irishgnome » Thu Apr 30, 2020 8:36 am

GNBrews,

I do this often, only I do not use a bag. I use a brewer’s spider filled with grain, fruit, or herbs, depending on what I am making. The spider I have has a twist on top and is 100% stainless steel mesh sides.
To further prevent the possibility of scorching, I line the bottom of my still with glass marbles.
This process is highly effective in increasing the flavors and aromas.

Cheers,
Irish
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Re: Brew bag distill on grain question.

Post by jonnys_spirit » Thu Apr 30, 2020 9:43 am

Oh cool! Do you have a link for that product or any pics? How much does it hold? Marbles in the bottom of an electric element boiler - that's a great idea.

Cheers,
jonny
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i make stuff i break stuff
water into whiskey into water
just getting started in home distilling - been drinking for decades
16g copper pot still, 10l alembic, and a column or two
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Re: Brew bag distill on grain question.

Post by Irishgnome » Thu Apr 30, 2020 10:45 am

Jonny,

Last run I did, I tried adding some fresh fruit and saved the old pulp for a sugar head. Both turned out amazing!
I have added fruit pulp, grain and herbs to the spider. You can use multiple or just one.
Here is a link to the close top style that I have: https://ebay.us/udNNZ3
Multiple sizes and styles are for sale online.
I have two, one open top and one with the screw on lid.

I have used this for all grain batches, brandies and with anise seed for a batch of Greek style raki.
Images from my last batch.
IMG_3335.jpg
IMG_3340.jpg
IMG_3531.jpg
I can get 1lb. of frozen Blueberries into it.

Hope that helps!

Cheers,
Irish
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Re: Brew bag distill on grain question.

Post by GCB3 » Thu Apr 30, 2020 11:39 am

GWB, this is all good information. I’m glad that no one was talking about using a Brew In A Bag type synthetic bag in the boiler. While I ferment on the grain, I have not figured out a good way to distill on the grain. Unfortunately, my boiler top is only 8 inches in diameter and I’d never be able to get a bag with 30 pounds of grain plus it’s entrained water In or out of my rig.

Hope this thread provides you a solution. Take care and good luck.

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Re: Brew bag distill on grain question.

Post by VLAGAVULVIN » Fri May 01, 2020 7:29 am

GNBrews wrote:
Thu Apr 30, 2020 7:03 am
Thanks, VLAGAVULVIN. That's very similar to what I had envisioned; nothing new under the sun I suppose. :)
pope wrote:
Thu Apr 30, 2020 7:31 am
Vlaga it makes me so happy to watch videos of other people doing the tedious, messy tasks I'm usually doing alone.
Your humble servant, Sirs :roll:

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Re: Brew bag distill on grain question.

Post by pope » Fri May 01, 2020 7:34 am

Irishgnome wrote:
Thu Apr 30, 2020 10:45 am
I have used this for all grain batches, brandies and with anise seed for a batch of Greek style raki.
Images from my last batch.

I can get 1lb. of frozen Blueberries into it.

Hope that helps!

Cheers,
Irish
Hey Irish, good to see you. You get a big flavor boost doing the blueberries or some all grain mash?
"A little learning is a dang'rous thing; Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring: There shallow draughts intoxicate the brain, And drinking largely sobers us again." - Alexander Pope

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Re: Brew bag distill on grain question.

Post by Irishgnome » Mon May 04, 2020 4:48 am

Pope,
I have noticed a good amount of added flavor to what I have made with this method. I got the idea from running the Ouzo / Greek Raki make.
To date, I have made HBB, my oatmeal whisky and some brandy. I have compared runs with the HBB and my Blueberry Nectarine Brandy. One run with the spider and one without. I can honestly say that it creates a noticeable difference. Even got my brother involved to make sure it was not all in my head and he agreed that it created more flavor and aroma.
At this point I do not see a negative in using one, or multiple spiders during runs. The added step in the run takes minimum time and the spiders are inexpensive.
If anyone else gives this a go, I would make two batches and compare your traditional run to one with a spider.
Interested to hear if anyone else runs like this or tests the method.
Cheers all!
Irish
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Re: Brew bag distill on grain question.

Post by zach » Mon May 04, 2020 11:49 am

I've got a stainless basket, I purchased for mashing. 35 cm dia x 35 cm high
51IK0F6+1ML._AC_SL1000_.jpg
I was thinking about trying it in a kettle with an external induction heater for distilling on the grain.

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Re: Brew bag distill on grain question.

Post by dieselduo » Mon May 04, 2020 1:09 pm

Where did you get that sweet basket ?

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Re: Brew bag distill on grain question.

Post by zach » Mon May 04, 2020 2:43 pm

Amazon. The shipper didn't package it well so it showed up bent up. I did get a refund and was able to get it close to straight.

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