Bain Marie, still scorching?

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Bain Marie, still scorching?

Postby abardente » Tue Dec 10, 2013 7:11 pm

I got a Bain Marie from Portugal in order to distill on the grain, and it seem to work pretty well, no more scorching on the inside bottom of the pot as with the standard single wall pot still I used to have BUT it still seems like there is a little bit of scorch with the grain residue that is left on in sides of the still as the liquid level recedes. I'm getting tiny reddish brown particles and generally cloudy distillate. Stopping the run, removing the cap, stirring and re-starting seemed to have fixed it on one run. On other runs it stayed cloudy until the end.

I'm wondering if anyone who has used a double boiler like this can tell me if I need to keep the water level lower than the inner mash level to keep the sides of the inner pot from getting too hot and cooking the residue to the point where it dries out, browns and launches tiny particles into the rising vapor OR maybe there's a good way to prevent a grain cap from forming at all so no there's no residue being left along the sides of the inner pot?

I'm not sure why this cap forms. I suppose the heat is driving more CO2 out of the grains and floating them up again. It always falls at some point before the run is over. I always let my mash ferment until it is 'finished' by the standard definition here, and that takes about a week or less, maybe leaving it 2 or 3 weeks would help? I leave my beer in the fermenter for 3 weeks until long after it has 'finished', as in no change in SG, but then I've read that yeast keeps doing other stuff for many days after it's converted all sugar to alcohol. Or maybe it's something else?
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Re: Bain Marie, still scorching?

Postby pounsfos » Wed Dec 11, 2013 2:47 am

someone will come along soon who does do grain recipes

but in a nutshell, strain your mash and don't distill with grains in your still
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Re: Bain Marie, still scorching?

Postby brantoken » Wed Dec 11, 2013 5:28 am

Sound to me like you running your still to fast, it sounds like it's puking.
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Re: Bain Marie, still scorching?

Postby abardente » Wed Dec 11, 2013 9:19 am

brantoken wrote:Sound to me like you running your still to fast, it sounds like it's puking.


Yeah I'm pretty sure I was running it too fast, I wan't used to this new banjo burner, it gets really hot. On the other hand I didn't see any signs of actually 'puking' as I understand it
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Re: Bain Marie, still scorching?

Postby abardente » Wed Dec 11, 2013 9:20 am

pounsfos wrote:someone will come along soon who does do grain recipes

but in a nutshell, strain your mash and don't distill with grains in your still


I've heard the straining corn is not very easy, I've never tried it myself
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Re: Bain Marie, still scorching?

Postby bellybuster » Wed Dec 11, 2013 10:06 am

what are you using as a heat transfer medium? water? Pretty hard to scorch anything when the max temp you can throw at your wash is boiling point.
Isn't the whole reason for double boiler so you can distill on the grain without scorching??
is it scorched or just cooked on grain stuff? is it above the water line of the double boiler??
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Re: Bain Marie, still scorching?

Postby brantoken » Wed Dec 11, 2013 10:23 am

for future reference, signs of puking:
cloudy distillate
solid particles coming out of vapor path of still.

Could also be that it is just dirty.

It may have puke once some time in the past and it hasn't all been cleaned out yet.
It may have baked in place. Don't know what your still looks like......
A good cleaning with citric acid is always a help. Soak it if you have too.
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Re: Bain Marie, still scorching?

Postby abardente » Wed Dec 11, 2013 1:12 pm

bellybuster wrote:what are you using as a heat transfer medium? water? Pretty hard to scorch anything when the max temp you can throw at your wash is boiling point.
Isn't the whole reason for double boiler so you can distill on the grain without scorching??
is it scorched or just cooked on grain stuff? is it above the water line of the double boiler??


Yeah this thing is designed to use water for transfer, I wouldn't think of putting anything else in. It's mostly sealed off so there's not much evaporation.

There's no black scorching, just seems a little over cooked and brown above the inner liquid level. I had the water level higher, I think maybe it should be lower. All the little bit of nastiness that came through seemed to come out in the spirit run in the heads.
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Re: Bain Marie, still scorching?

Postby abardente » Wed Dec 11, 2013 2:34 pm

brantoken wrote:for future reference, signs of puking:
cloudy distillate
solid particles coming out of vapor path of still.

Could also be that it is just dirty.

It may have puke once some time in the past and it hasn't all been cleaned out yet.
It may have baked in place. Don't know what your still looks like......
A good cleaning with citric acid is always a help. Soak it if you have too.


I figured that if it puked it would be pretty obvious with a lot of residue up into the hood and goose neck. The last time I made sure everything was very clean above the inner liquid level.
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Re: Bain Marie, still scorching?

Postby abardente » Mon Dec 16, 2013 7:30 am

I tried again and this time I got no signs of puking, just a little oily residue floating on top, but not at all cloudy, smelling and looking nice and clean the whole time down to 20%.

The main thing I did differently was to first use high flame to quickly heat the open still up to 160F and then turn the flame off for about 15 minutes while I let it chill out a little and sprayed the inside with clean water to wash down any residue and encourage the grain cap to fall some more. After that I capped and pasted it and started it up again very gently until I finally got some foreshots dripping out and then started to slowly crank up the heat until the end of the run.

In the past I was getting it to about 160F and just capping with the flame still on. I remember seeing vapor coming out of the worm right after capping, maybe that's another definition of puking. It didn't seem right at the time and I'll be very sure to avoid that situation from now on.
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Re: Bain Marie, still scorching?

Postby abardente » Mon Dec 16, 2013 7:46 am

brantoken wrote:Could also be that it is just dirty.

It may have puke once some time in the past and it hasn't all been cleaned out yet.
It may have baked in place. Don't know what your still looks like......
A good cleaning with citric acid is always a help. Soak it if you have too.


I realize now that the main drawback to distilling on the grain is that it can get messy trying to get all the grain out of the still afterwards. I made a point to clean it out really well since there was some corn over all the insides after dumping it out and the Bain Marie has a ledge on the inside where junk can get deposited.

I think it's worth it to not have to strain or squeeze the grain and wind up with a more flavorful drink.
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Re: Bain Marie, still scorching?

Postby FreeMountainHermit » Tue Dec 17, 2013 2:52 am

abardente, may I ask what size your still is and your overall thoughts on its quality as well as ABV of your finished product ?


Thank you, FMH.
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Re: Bain Marie, still scorching?

Postby Odin » Tue Dec 17, 2013 4:07 am

Keep your grain mash level under the water jacketed boiler level and you will be fine.

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Re: Bain Marie, still scorching?

Postby abardente » Tue Dec 17, 2013 6:57 am

Odin wrote:Keep your grain mash level under the water jacketed boiler level and you will be fine.

Odin.


It seemed to work well last time and the water jacket boiler level was lower. They say to only fill it up 3/4 which will always put the level lower than the 6gal of water and grain that goes inside.
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Re: Bain Marie, still scorching?

Postby Odin » Tue Dec 17, 2013 7:38 am

If it works well, why do you get scorching issues?

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Re: Bain Marie, still scorching?

Postby abardente » Tue Dec 17, 2013 8:25 am

FreeMountainHermit wrote:abardente, may I ask what size your still is and your overall thoughts on its quality as well as ABV of your finished product ?

Thank you, FMH.


It's the smallest one, 30L, http://www.copper-alembic.com/ns/produc ... roduct=258

For this last mash I had OG 1.068 and FG 1.003. I got nearly a gallon of low wines at almost 80 proof out of it

It's really a beautiful piece though the workmanship seems a little rough around the edges, I had water leaking out of the top of jacket and vapor leaking out of the hood where the brass handle was attached BUT last time I didn't notice either of these issues, like the tiny leaks were fixed by a little corrosion. Also the thing arrived dented in more than one place, they say it's all Fedex's fault and they have a claim in and say it will take many months. If I get a replacement I might sell this one, it seems to work just fine now, in fact this design seems to work extremely well, but be sure to have a high BTU flame for it, even if it would fit on my stove top it would take forever to heat up and I wouldn't be able to power through the tails like I did.
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Re: Bain Marie, still scorching?

Postby abardente » Tue Dec 17, 2013 8:27 am

Odin wrote:If it works well, why do you get scorching issues?

Odin.


It wasn't scorching, just puking, so I adjusted my technique and last time it worked very well. The puking seemed like scorching to me though I didn't notice any actual burnt grain when cleaning the still, sorry for the confusion.
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Re: Bain Marie, still scorching?

Postby Prairiepiss » Tue Dec 17, 2013 8:49 am

I'm sory but what is happening to you really can't be avoided.

Distilling On the grain. It is gona foam. That foam will collect on the sides. Then as you run the still the liquid level in the boiler drops as you take off product. Leaving a wider amount of foam to collect on the sides. Then the heat is just going to bake it on there.

Cook some noodles in a pot on the stove. See what collects on the sides of the pot.

It's gona happen.
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Re: Bain Marie, still scorching?

Postby abardente » Tue Dec 17, 2013 9:38 am

Prairiepiss wrote:I'm sory but what is happening to you really can't be avoided.

Distilling On the grain. It is gona foam. That foam will collect on the sides. Then as you run the still the liquid level in the boiler drops as you take off product. Leaving a wider amount of foam to collect on the sides. Then the heat is just going to bake it on there.

Cook some noodles in a pot on the stove. See what collects on the sides of the pot.

It's gona happen.


Again I was able to avoid it on the last run, maybe I didn't make it clear enough but the last run was successful! :D :D :D It felt great to finally get it to work! Won't be able to try it again for about week.

And yes it foamed like crazy when I was heating it but I sprayed down the sides a couple of times and it had dissipated mostly by the time it reached 160F and I let it cool off for a little while. This foam seems to dissipate and eventually disappear during the run and I think that initial heating it with high flame got more of the foam out earlier. I did notice some residue on the insides after the run but it didn't seem to bake on very much this time, maybe because the jacket water level was much lower than the mash level inside. I'm not sure if the sides of the inner pot get hotter below the jacket water line or above it from the vapors or if they would be about the same. The jacket is mostly sealed so there's a little pressure in there when running.
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Re: Bain Marie, still scorching?

Postby Prairiepiss » Tue Dec 17, 2013 9:45 am

It's called a hot break. That is where the foam created when it first starts boiling. Falls to the bottom and no longer foams.
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Re: Bain Marie, still scorching?

Postby abardente » Tue Dec 17, 2013 10:02 am

Prairiepiss wrote:It's called a hot break. That is where the foam created when it first starts boiling. Falls to the bottom and no longer foams.


Thanks for the term, I guess it comes from boiling wort for beer, I've seen this when I make my ale, made a mess one time by neglecting it :oops:

Most of the foam with this grain seemed to form around 110 to 130 degrees, it was already dissipating after that and was a lot less when I reached 160F. Misting the top with cold water seemed to help a little also, maybe not as much with the boiling beer.

I wonder if the type of grain involved matters, maybe the protein content, that run was 8 lbs feed corn, 2 lbs 6-row. Next week I'll have one with 7 lbs malted corn, 2 lbs malted rye and 2 lbs 6-row.

I also wonder if I lowered the heat and simmered it at 160 for a little while the foam might dissipate more, or if I just left the flame off for longer, it was off for 15 mins last time.
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Re: Bain Marie, still scorching?

Postby Prairiepiss » Tue Dec 17, 2013 10:05 am

Rye is a known foamer.
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Re: Bain Marie, still scorching?

Postby abardente » Tue Dec 17, 2013 10:08 am

Prairiepiss wrote:Rye is a known foamer.


I think I read that somewhere, good thing I'm not using too much of it... I'd be very careful if I tried to make a real rye whiskey this way with this still
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Re: Bain Marie, still scorching?

Postby abardente » Thu Dec 19, 2013 10:09 am

I just read that you can reduce foaming by adding a tbs of butter! any you old timers around here heard of that :?: I've got lard and coconut oil I could try also
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Re: Bain Marie, still scorching?

Postby MitchyBourbon » Thu Dec 19, 2013 12:34 pm

rtalbigr wrote in the Puking thread:

Odin has stated the two primary causes of puking, residual carbonation for fermentation and proteins. 


If proteins are a contributing factor in foaming you might be able to reduce it during mashing. Do a protein rest for 15 minutes around 115 - 130 F. This will only be beneficial if you are using 25% or more unmalted grains.
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Re: Bain Marie, still scorching?

Postby abardente » Thu Dec 19, 2013 12:51 pm

MitchyBourbon wrote:
rtalbigr wrote in the Puking thread:

Odin has stated the two primary causes of puking, residual carbonation for fermentation and proteins. 


If proteins are a contributing factor in foaming you might be able to reduce it during mashing. Do a protein rest for 15 minutes around 115 - 130 F. This will only be beneficial if you are using 25% or more unmalted grains.


Yeah I was just thinking about protein rests, I just put aside a mash to let cool from 150F on down under wraps, it should probably hit that range for a while, or does it need that rest before conversion?

I believe this is the thread: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=43989
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Re: Bain Marie, still scorching?

Postby MitchyBourbon » Thu Dec 19, 2013 1:21 pm

I don't think you can go past 130, the protease enzymes would be denatured.

Yes, that is the thread. I had not experienced foaming that I had conclude came from protein. But I have done protein rests in an effort to reduce trub from corn.
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Re: Bain Marie, still scorching?

Postby abardente » Thu Dec 19, 2013 1:25 pm

MitchyBourbon wrote:I don't think you can go past 130, the protease enzymes would be denatured.

Yes, that is the thread. I had not experienced foaming that I had conclude came from protein. But I have done protein rests in an effort to reduce trub from corn.


ok too late this time, but the mash is 100% malted: corn, wheat and barley, so maybe it wouldn't have helped anyway
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Re: Bain Marie, still scorching?

Postby frunobulax » Thu Dec 19, 2013 2:52 pm

You can try this stuff too........ http://www.northernbrewer.com/shop/fermcap-s-1-oz.html I've never used it, but I've read it works well.
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