Frito wrote:I guess I'm wondering if I should even use the water cooler for my mash. Sounds like you want to simmer the corn for 30 minutes and then add to mash tun with grain and then mash like normal (also adding enzymes I would guess at this time).
That is exactly what you want to do. Also, doing the iodine test is helpful as usual.
Frito wrote: I wonder if my false bottom will allow me to strain the wort off the grain/corn or if it will get stuck.
Should I just pour it all including the grain into my fermenting bucket and ferment on the grain?
no need for the false bottom. Just ferment on the grains. This will allow the conversion to continue during fermentation as mentioned above. It will also ensure that all of the sugar gets fermented, no need to worry about efficiency.
Frito wrote:If I do this, how do I ensure that I will end up with 5 gallons of fermented liquid at the end and not, say 2.5 or 3 gallons?
use 5 gallons of water plus whatever your grain absorption rate and you'll be good to go. Remember, unlike beer this is not your final product so if you're a little low in alcohol it will only cost you a little more propane/electricity during distillation, it won't adversely effect the end product. Most folks feel the quality is better with lower alcohol content because you aren't stressing the yeast.
Frito wrote:What is the benefit of fermenting on the grain? I'm not clear on that. Does the grain continue to mash during fermentation?
yes, they continue to convert and you won't be leaving ANY sugars behind so it will ALL be available during fermentation. Also, the less viscous fermented mash is more easily removed from the grain leaving less total waste as well.