buddyjeff wrote:I did use sugar. I did 5 gallons water and 13 pounds of sugar and 4 pounds of corn meal to one packet turbo yeast. What should it be or is this correct. This is my third time making mash. The first was not drinkable. The second was not so bad mixed with Apple juice or sugar free ice tea. ........
I guess buddyjeff I'm a little confused too. What you are suggesting now (5lbs of sugar, 4lbs of cornmeal)...is different than what you posted previously...as you can see above. I can only give you advice on the information you post.
The issue here is sugar. Not that it's bad to use it in and of itself (there's lots of sugar recipes, etc)...but using TOO MUCH of it. 13lbs in 5 gals is too much sugar and would only be good for something like fuel. One lb per gal (as you now suggest) is more like it. So, lets first clear up a few terminology things that may help you understand things:
Mash: is (as Dnder says) when you use cooked grains for starch. Then you convert those starches to fermentable sugars by mashing in malted grain (usually barley malt) which has "enzymes". This is optimally done between 140-150F. In this case, the fermentable sugar comes directly from the grain itself. For flavor, this is the best you can do for a whiskey.
Wash: the sugar is directly added to produce the alcohol, and grains are used primarily for flavor. It is usually not cooked although sometimes the sugar is "inverted" by boiling it with some form of citric acid until it turns a straw color.
Thin-Mash: is sort of a combination of the 2. You do a smaller mash of grains, then add sugar and water to bring the starting gravity up to where you want.
So, what you are talking about is a "wash". And one of the best ones I know to get good whiskey flavor is UJSM (Uncle Jessie's Sour Mash). It's in our proven recipe's forum. It's not that different from what you are doing now, but we are going to add one element you may not be familiar with.
7lbs of cracked corn, 7lbs of sugar, to 5gals of water. Use plain old bakers yeast. Just mix it up, and let it go. The one thing you want to make sure of is you use good water. I filter mine to make sure no chlorine, etc in it. When it ferments out, it will clear and look like golden liquid sitting on top of all the trub in the bottom. Siphon or dip that out down to the corn bed. You'll see some of the used up corn turns dark. Scoop that out and replace it with as much as you scoop out. Put a couple gals water to cover your trub.
Now here's the basic sourmash/backmashing procedure: Run off your 5gals of wash down to 1 gal of low-wines. Save that. When your still cools a bit (but still good and warm), take 1 gallon of the left over slops in the still pot (the sour, smelly leftover stuff) and pour it in a bucket with your 7lbs of sugar. Melt the sugar good (add water if needed to dissolve it). Pour that in your fermenter, and top up the water back to 5 gals and give it all a good stir. No need to pitch anymore yeast. The yeast is still there on the bottom under your corn. It will take off again within a day. Each time you do this, you'll be adding flavor to each subsequent run. By the 3rd or 4th generation...it will be notable. The ferments smell great when they are done. It clears very well, and cooks up great. You can keep this going indefinitely by replacing the corn as you go, and make sure you don't use more than 1 gal of slops to backmash with. That's because it lowers ph and eventually could slow the ferment. Over time it will slow a bit, but churn along. If it gets too slow, do a couple rounds without backmashing just to get the ph back up.
Now, if you want to use "corn meal" instead, I'd do it a bit differently: First I'd use 5lbs of corn meal instead of 7lbs. Put that in the bottom of your fermenter and pour about 1 to 2 gallons of hot (almost boiling) water over it. Stir it up good till it gets thick. Let that sit open to air till it gets sour. (you'll know when..about a day). Pour hot water over it again and stir it up, break it up good. Pour in your 7lbs of sugar and stir it in good till it's all dissolved. Top it up with cold water. Make sure it's cool before pitching your yeast first round.
After that, just backmash it same as above. Add a handful of cornmeal or other grain (barley is good), etc..each round.