Popcorn Sutton's Corn Mash Recipe (from his book)

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Popcorn Sutton's Corn Mash Recipe (from his book)

Postby Usge » Mon Dec 07, 2009 1:24 pm

In Popcorn Sutton's book, "Me and My Likker" he makes reference several times to a basic moonshine recipe with a few different variations that he used when he was "puttin up a barrel of beer". On the whole, and it first glance, It appeared to be a pretty basic southeastern recipe so I thought I'd give it a whirl and see what's what. These old recipes are based on "barrel" size (50-55 gals). So, I'll give the recipe in a way that you can subdivide it out for other volumes. The basic recipe is as follows:

25lb coarse ground white corn meal — 1/2 volume of your barrel/container
50 lbs of sugar — 1lb sugar per gallon of water of total volume
1 gallon of malt — can be corn, barley, rye or combination. A gallon container of corn is about 6.5lbs. Might be different for barley or rye. I use a gal ziplock freezer bag full.
(variation on this recipe includes the addition of a couple gallons of wheat bran to cap it off) I didn't mention the water amount because it's basically measured by how full the barrel is. It's slightly short of 50 gals because you have to leave enough room in the top so the 50lbs of sugar won't over fill it. But, if you are making "less" than 50 gals of mash, you can just use the full volume of water cause you will have room. The impact of this on the recipe is negligible.

Boil the water and pour it over the cornmeal to cook it in really good. When it cools enough that you can hold your hand in it (about 140-150f) stir in your sugar and malt and stir it up really good. Leave it for a day..then check it to see if its working. It should have capped up and be sizzling/frying on the top. Then you stir it in one last time and leave it to work off.
____________________________________________________

Here's a few notes from my own experiments with it....I first started making thin mashes based on the same basic corn/sugar/malt amounts. But, I did it a little different. I poured only part of the water over the corn to heat/cook it into a thick batter. Then thinned it good. And put the malt (barley in this case) in when the temp got to 150 to mash it in. I let that sit/mash for a while to get some conversion. Then, I put in the sugar and filled it up with cool water. I checked that the next day, and it did not start working. I left it for another day..and then used WD distillers yeast with AG on it to get it going. My thinking was that the malt would do a better job converting this way. And it worked fine (conversion). But it didn't cap up afterward which I just attributed to being indoors, etc.

In his book...Popcorn says that many people use the "shortcut" of adding yeast...instead of making "malt" — implying here the malt he uses is stuff he malts or makes himself. He says the malt (any kind or combination of corn, barley, rye) is what makes it work — so he's using it here in place of "yeast". So, I made some corn malt (and some of you know that was a LONG process for me). It wasn't perfect...but it was my best attempt yet. Dried it up good, filled a gallon ziplock bag, and ground it up fine.

In giving popcorns recipe a whirl, I had to adjust a couple of things. First I had to adjust the recipe amounts...for 20 gals recipe (cause my barrel is only 30 gals) — easy enough. And then, because my largest pot only holds 7 gals, I boiled 7 gals of water, and poured it over the corn in the barrel and stirred it in good and let that cook in while the next 7 gals was heating up. etc. The last few 6 gals I used cool water and thrashed it all together good with my mash paddle. By the time I got the sugar in and melted good, the temp was down to 135 or so (I was alittle low here) ...so I quickly tossed in the ground malted corn, and gave everything a good stir. Covered it. I checked it this morning...and I'll be damn. A nice cap sitting on top just frying away. Still have my yeast packets sitting to the side. Didn't need them at this point.

The smell is very different than the thin mash I made with barley malt and using WD yeast. It smells kind of sharp, but more like toasted or roasted corn. The recipe will break down just fine for any volume amount....but for the malt, since it's being used as it is....I'd use 1 gal for anything between 20-50 gals. That's particularly so if you are like me and your malt doesn't really sprig as evenly as it should. I don't think you have/need to sub-divide the gallon of malt...unless you are only doing 5-10 gals. Then I'd use 1/2 gallon or so of malt. That's it for now. Have to wait and see how it turns out in the end. But, what I can say is...I've tried several times to get a mash to start working without using yeast and this is the first time I've ever gotten it to work. And it worked just like he said it would. Give it a try!
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Re: Popcorn Sutton's Corn Mash Recipe (from his book)

Postby blanikdog » Mon Dec 07, 2009 6:36 pm

Gonna have to try this

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Re: Popcorn Sutton's Corn Mash Recipe (from his book)

Postby buzz_333 » Fri Feb 05, 2010 9:41 pm

How did this turn out Usge? Was there a big difference in flavor compared to a yeast mash?
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Re: Popcorn Sutton's Corn Mash Recipe (from his book)

Postby Usge » Mon Feb 08, 2010 8:33 am

Yes. Its much more earthy, more sour, and it has a tinge of "flower pollen" — think honey suckle — nose to it that is fascinating. "BUT" the wild yeast wasn't strong enough and it developed a bacterial infection after about day 4 that brought it to a screeching halt..with whitefilm/bubbles on top. I cleaned it up..and restarted it with a helping of WD yeast...and that got it going again, so I don't know how much the addition of WD contributed to things. There's some residual off-taste from the bacterial infection as well, but it's definitely an interesting flavor profile. It took 3 weeks for the first 20 gals to ferment....I dunno...it just kept bubbling very slowly and the hydro showed it wasn't done so I let it go. After that, it took another week or two to run it 5 gals at a time. I put some water in it to cover lees and left it. The infection came back and I cleaned it up again, then it seemed ok to sit for a while and the infection did not return.

I'm just on the 2nd round now. I added some dry/ground malted corn (about 4lbs) and 20lbs sugar to it (for 20gal water), and I used 1 pack of WD whiskey yeast to try and help get it going and reduce the chance of the bacterial thing coming back and to sweeten the profile just a bit. It's frying on the top with a nice cap right now. I probably won't be keeping this yeast to restart next one..given it's been compromised by bacterial infection. But, I like this recipe and plan on experimenting more with it. Your success with the wild yeast is probably going to depend on where you live. But, I can tell you for sure...his recipe works as he says.
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Re: Popcorn Sutton's Corn Mash Recipe (from his book)

Postby buzz_333 » Mon Feb 08, 2010 5:50 pm

Thanks for the reply and update Usge. I may have to give it a try after I get a few mashes under my belt!!!
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Re: Popcorn Sutton's Corn Mash Recipe (from his book)

Postby Samohon » Fri Mar 12, 2010 5:04 am

Thanks Usge... Will give it a try when I get home, but will have to scale the recipe dow somewhat...

Thanks again Man...
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Re: Popcorn Sutton's Corn Mash Recipe (from his book)

Postby 0re0 » Sun Mar 28, 2010 5:23 pm

recipe does seem simple enough
I would like to try this one myself.

may just give it a shot in a few weeks
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Re: Popcorn Sutton's Corn Mash Recipe (from his book)

Postby Whitedog » Thu Apr 08, 2010 11:57 am

I noticed that you dried your malted corn, have you thought about trying it green? I have done a batch with green malt and did a secound generation off it, i was real pleased all around with fermenting time and distillate taste. I am creating some malt now and will document all the way through with pics, then post. Thanks for sharing the info!
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Re: Popcorn Sutton's Corn Mash Recipe (from his book)

Postby Usge » Tue Apr 13, 2010 10:58 am

Haven't tried green malt in the recipe whitedog. But, I definitely know it has a different smell/taste than when it's dried. (ie., grassy vs nutty). Most of the fermenting time was cause the natural yeast got overwhelmed (most likely by the sugar) and then by bacteria. Iv'e got a hybrid wild/WD whiskey yeast I'm using since and it ferments dry in a week...seems to handle the higher alc fine.
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Re: Popcorn Sutton's Corn Mash Recipe (from his book)

Postby Whitedog » Tue Apr 13, 2010 12:02 pm

I know the grassy smell that your talking about. I will have to dry some and see how it turns out. I understand from TV, Discovery or something of the like, that if corn isn't malted then the oils need to be dipped off the top while soaking in the vat, after cracking ofcourse. Ever heard anything like that? I bet ole Popcorn never done such!!
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Re: Popcorn Sutton's Corn Mash Recipe (from his book)

Postby Tater » Tue Apr 13, 2010 6:40 pm

Corn oil was reason grandpa preferred white corn over yellow.But would use what ever was available.Ive heard him tell of oil being thick enough on yellow corn to dip it off.Otherwise an felt hat for a filter when he ran it would remove any oil coming across with likker.To me dry corn malt adds an earthy taste while green corn malt has more of a grassy slightly rye like taste.
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Re: Popcorn Sutton's Corn Mash Recipe (from his book)

Postby Whitedog » Wed Apr 14, 2010 6:24 am

Thanks for the explanation, Tater.
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Re: Popcorn Sutton's Corn Mash Recipe (from his book)

Postby Usge » Wed Apr 14, 2010 6:45 am

Popcorn never mentioned corn oil that I recall...but I've heard that before elsewhere. He just says to use white corn cause it's better. It seems a little "softer" to me too (starchy?). And it definitely has a different note to it. And taters right that drying malt smells "earthy"......malting corn smells like sod (grass and dirt). But, after it dries, that seemed to go away some and it had a roasted/nutty smell to it when first fermenting. The wild yeast kicks in and things get more sour in a hurry. Popcorn always used "felt" roll in a funnel to strain everything he ran when it came out. He didn't specifically state why that I recall...I just remember seeing him do it...on DVD/TV.
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Re: Popcorn Sutton's Corn Mash Recipe (from his book)

Postby Dnderhead » Wed Apr 14, 2010 7:08 am

felt will absorb oils and let the "water"/alcohols pass.if you use white felt, you can see the "spots" of oil.then you can wash and reuse the felt.
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Re: Popcorn Sutton's Corn Mash Recipe (from his book)

Postby Usge » Wed Apr 14, 2010 7:24 am

Dunder, will it absorb fusels? ie., cleaning up tails?
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Re: Popcorn Sutton's Corn Mash Recipe (from his book)

Postby Dnderhead » Wed Apr 14, 2010 7:59 am

I thank it does to an existent but does not make up for bad cuts. It mite be worth trying on something like rum witch tends to be oily if you use "feed" molasses, most of the "fusel oils" are not "oils" their higher alcohols . but it whould not hurt anything if you used it to filter
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Re: Popcorn Sutton's Corn Mash Recipe (from his book)

Postby Usge » Wed Apr 14, 2010 8:14 am

Thanks Dunder. Yes, most felt fabric I've seen online, etc., is blend with rayon, polyester. Natural wool felt with no dye, etc., hard to find.
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Re: Popcorn Sutton's Corn Mash Recipe (from his book)

Postby SmokyMtnWhiskey » Wed Apr 21, 2010 11:17 am

Someone trying this recipe for the first time should probably "cheat" and actually use yeast. Right, Usge?
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Re: Popcorn Sutton's Corn Mash Recipe (from his book)

Postby Usge » Wed Apr 21, 2010 2:13 pm

Sure. It's not really cheating...just a different taste. At least it will minimize chance for infection.
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Re: Popcorn Sutton's Corn Mash Recipe (from his book)

Postby Dnderhead » Wed Apr 21, 2010 2:45 pm

most of the "old recipes" did not care about infections that just added to the "character"
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Re: Popcorn Sutton's Corn Mash Recipe (from his book)

Postby Tater » Wed Apr 21, 2010 4:06 pm

Old timers here would say long as dogwoods were in bloom didn't need any yeast.And mash usually keep going till cold weather before ya had to use store bought They also were using wooden containers that Id bet would keep a yeast culture going.Goldens ponds recipe in tried and true doesn't add yeast and again from talking with him Id bet some yeast is managing to live on paddles and wooden containers .Old distillin book I read talked about making your own yeast by making rye malt and getting it started with wild yeast and keep feeding it more rye malt till was happy with it. Seems they said they filtered off liquid of cooked rye malt and used that .Setting it in open area to get yeast .Ive suspected that there's likely a lot of yeast spores floating around fermenters .Especially those outdoors like shiners would of had.
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Re: Popcorn Sutton's Corn Mash Recipe (from his book)

Postby Usge » Thu Apr 22, 2010 11:26 am

Dnderhead wrote:most of the "old recipes" did not care about infections that just added to the "character"


:lol:
Yep. Like ass and flowers.

tater,
Yes, i've heard of that (rye starters). I did one once with just organic rye flour and warm water. It worked ok, but it wouldn't hang with a high amount of sugar/alc. Also heard of using rye "berries"....and even grapes. They also say...DME (dried malt extract) from the beer supply store works a treat. This one I have now was started totally off wild yeast. Then, it got overwhelmed and I had to help it out with some WD whiskey yeast. From there, I've recycled it. It's pretty easy to keep it going once you get a good strain that can handle the sugar. When I restart my mash/barrel, I just save a pint of the white/lees in the bottom and dump it in the next barrel. Worked fine so far.
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Re: Popcorn Sutton's Corn Mash Recipe (from his book)

Postby blind drunk » Thu Apr 22, 2010 3:10 pm

Tater -

Ive suspected that there's likely a lot of yeast spores floating around fermenters . Especially those outdoors like shiners would of had.


I've been baking in the same 500 square foot shop for almost 5 years now using only sourdough starters. All I have to do is leave a flour and water mix uncovered and the thing's puffed up in no time. Even my left over flour paste puffs up in a day or two, and that's outdoors in a separate shed building :shock: Before, in a sterile home kitchen, it took a lot more effort to get a starter going and it wouldn't alway take. bd.
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Re: Popcorn Sutton's Corn Mash Recipe (from his book)

Postby Azframer » Mon Nov 15, 2010 2:47 pm

In the lead post on Popcorns recipe he did not use any I mean any yeast. I think the recipe the guy( don't know if it was Usge) must not have used a wooden fermentor or enough malted corn or both. I think Popcorn was educated by life more than school so I don't think the gallon of malted corn is right for 25 lbs of coarse ground white corn. I have seen some video of a shiner making it as well and said that he did not use yeast either. He placed a burlap sack 1/4 full into a stream to let it malt. That would be around 2-3 times as much malted corn. I hope I am not stepping on any toes in posting this being a novice and all. But if you are going to use a recipe by a man such as Popcorn do him some justice and don't use the yeast. Then you can say you really made some of Popcorn's Likker.
My first ferment is done (All Bran) 1st run that was a success. Next run will be UJSSM. Correct me if I am wrong.
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Re: Popcorn Sutton's Corn Mash Recipe (from his book)

Postby Tater » Mon Nov 15, 2010 3:42 pm

old timers around here claimed ya never needed to add yeast long as dogwood trees were in bloom.Golden pond another oldtimer like popcorn seldom used yeast either.If your making mash in same containers especially wood over and over and using same wooden paddle in same area Id think yeast strain would survive.
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Re: Popcorn Sutton's Corn Mash Recipe (from his book)

Postby Azframer » Mon Nov 15, 2010 4:26 pm

Yea but yeast does not just appear from nowhere, how does this happen in your opinion? Does it come from the malted corn or is that strictly just for the enzymes. These I guess could come from the barrels being that they came from commercial distillers I guess, and just survived from batch to batch.

Edit= Well I guess them coming from barrels can't be cause the barrels would have held distilled Likker. So then I am still stumped at this.
My first ferment is done (All Bran) 1st run that was a success. Next run will be UJSSM. Correct me if I am wrong.
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Re: Popcorn Sutton's Corn Mash Recipe (from his book)

Postby Caprimulgus » Tue Nov 16, 2010 1:39 pm

There's air born yeasts like every where.
Nobody puts baby in the corner....
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Re: Popcorn Sutton's Corn Mash Recipe (from his book)

Postby Usge » Wed Nov 24, 2010 7:19 am

az, the guy you are talking about (with bag of malted corn in the stream) is Jim Tom, and he uses a different recipe...it's all malted corn/sugar/water that's not cooked. Popcorn cooked his meal in, then made a thin mash out of it. Malted corn adds flavor...but the main portion of the alc comes from the sugar. The one thing he did that I could not find was that he always capped his barrel with a gallon of wheat bran.

And for the record..I did start the recipe without adding yeast. It bubbled right away just as he said it would but it didn't take hold strong enough, petered out, and was on the verge of going bad. I saved the batch by tossing in distillers yeast. I've run it many times since...and done it with store bought yeast..and using wild yeast. The wild yeast is definitely more sour and unpredictable in my experience. That's all I can go by. The amount of malt corn is correct (at least as to what Popcorn suggested in his book).

I often reuse yeast from my containers to start the next batch. Beyond that, wild yeast is everywhere and will start to ferment sugars it can find....(ever leave a glass of orange juice out for a few days?). Just opening your container to the air will expose it to wild yeasts that can kick it off. That's particularly true in the woods/hills/trees, etc. but even in an apt. Different yeasts..will impart different flavors to your mash/wash. Wild yeasts tend to be...well..wild and often unpredictable. You can make your own starters though to try and hone it down a little bit. I would suspect also that malting corn outdoors in a creek and leaves, is more likely to pick up a strong dose of wild yeast than malting the corn in an apt in a clean plastic bucket. YMMV.
Last edited by Usge on Wed Nov 24, 2010 7:56 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Popcorn Sutton's Corn Mash Recipe (from his book)

Postby Azframer » Wed Nov 24, 2010 7:55 am

Thanks Usge, I have done a ton of reading since the post above and have found out about using wild yeast. For better results in using it, it would be best to get it from Juniper berries. If you were just going to cover your mash with cloth and catch airborne yeast that it is best to do it from October-May because it will give you an undesirable taste from May- October. I guess it has to do with everything pollinating at that time.
My first ferment is done (All Bran) 1st run that was a success. Next run will be UJSSM. Correct me if I am wrong.
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Re: Popcorn Sutton's Corn Mash Recipe (from his book)

Postby moonshinernthemakn » Sat Nov 27, 2010 2:06 pm

i just recently got a 25 gallon copper still with the thump kep and all..i would really like to try this recipe..so please help me here and explain it to me as simple as possible..how much and what all will i need for my 25 gallon still..what ingredients..so on n so on..all help is really appreciated
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