Lots of work for so little/final tips on aging

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JonB
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Lots of work for so little/final tips on aging

Post by JonB » Mon Jul 13, 2009 6:26 pm

Just finished helping a buddy with a bourbon run. We started out with a 50lb bag of cracked corn, and ended up with only 1/2 gallon of potable spirits (with final cuts of 80 thru 62). Sure there were many mistakes in the mashing process, but even so I would have thought that with all that work there would be more product. We did get about 300 ml of foreshots/heads that we used in our lawn mowers, and we have about 1.5 litres of tails for next time (if there is one). Can anyone give estimate on volume that they typically get so that we know what to shoot for?

Also - this site has some terrific info on things. Following the advice, we aired out the spirits for about 24 hrs and are now ready to age with oak. I read a great post about why NOT to use chips, but to stick with oak sticks. Other last minute tips are encouraged.

BTW - there was this post that I liked about a guy tying his carboy to a sheet of plywood that hung from a tree. Every time the wind blew, the plywood would catch it and move the carboy to aggitate it. Why can't I think of genius ideas like that. It's this type of creativity which makes it so much more rewarding that just buying the stuff for drinking outright (with so much less hassle). Keep the ideas coming mates!

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Tater
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Re: Lots of work for so little/final tips on aging

Post by Tater » Mon Jul 13, 2009 6:32 pm

Last corn I made I got 2 tempered to 2 1/2 gallons drinkin likker outta a bushel of corn . used white corn .Dunder I think it was posts he gets 3. there a grain chart on parent site make for some good reading
I use a pot still.Sometimes with a thumper

blind drunk
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Re: Lots of work for so little/final tips on aging

Post by blind drunk » Mon Jul 13, 2009 6:46 pm

Is white corn dried like the yellow stuff? Who sells white corn ... in general. The feed store/garden shop here only has the yellow corn. bd.
I do all my own stunts

Dnderhead
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Re: Lots of work for so little/final tips on aging

Post by Dnderhead » Mon Jul 13, 2009 6:56 pm

white corn/maze is more of a southern taste not much difference than yellow . either can be substituted

Fester
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Re: Lots of work for so little/final tips on aging

Post by Fester » Mon Jul 13, 2009 9:42 pm

JonB, i should not be responding to your post because i had similar results. twice. so much work for so little reward. but next time i plan to make a few changes with some ideas that i've gotten from here.
1. soak the corn for 8-10 hours before i begin the boil (did not do that)
2. add a little malt to the boil (missed that one, too)
3. cook longer (next time 1 1/2 hours instead of 1/2 hour)
4. be more particular about the mashing temperature (thought "somewhere close" was ok)
5. ask Dnderhead questions until he tells me to leave him alone
6. keep trying until i can get it to work
7. order and use the whiskey yeast that has the enzymes in it
8. wear my lucky baseball cap
9. take good notes just in case i actually have success

i'm still gathering ideas and will read over everything before i try it again.
Fester

JonB
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Re: Lots of work for so little/final tips on aging

Post by JonB » Tue Jul 14, 2009 3:19 am

Thanks for all the replies. I was thinking that perhaps the ferment just isn't done, and that explains the low yield. I read that the ferment shouldn't go past 96 hrs or the secondary fermentation begins which will impart off flavors. So we would mash on Sunday, (and pitch that night), then strip on Friday night. Maybe a yeast starter would help too.

Seems like the more I read, the more I second guess everything.

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Tater
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Re: Lots of work for so little/final tips on aging

Post by Tater » Tue Jul 14, 2009 4:14 am

Dnderhead wrote:white corn/maze is more of a southern taste not much difference than yellow . either can be substituted
White corn isnt as oily as yellow
I use a pot still.Sometimes with a thumper

trthskr4
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Re: Lots of work for so little/final tips on aging

Post by trthskr4 » Tue Jul 14, 2009 5:05 am

Here's how I'd do it.

Soak the corn for 12-24 hours in a bath of backset and water. 20-25% backset or adjust with the backset to get a lower PH to around 6.
Use 1 lb. corn per gallon of water to start with but I've seen time and time again that once you go over 1.5 lbs./gallon my yield decreases.
Cook at 185-200*F for at least 1.5 hours stirring constantly unless using a double boiler setup (which will make it much easier).
Put in around 1/4 of the malted grains or some enzymes before heat up. (this will help keep it from being so pasty)
Cool to 155*F and add in 20% of the corn weight in malt (not dark malt but regular malt)
Let sit for 8 hours or so.
Remove the liquid by racking, sparging, straining or a combination and ferment. I use a cooler with a layer of hardware cloth and screen, dump in the mash and then open the valve and drain into a bucket to transfer to fermenter. It helps to have something under the screen to hold it off the bottom.
Keep everything as sterile as possible.
I never handle my mash or move it at all if it's uner 110*F as to keep out most infections. It cools to pitching temp in the fermenter and I only open it to add in rehydrated yeast in filtered water.
15 gallon pot still, 2"x18" column with liebeg condensor on propane.
Modified Charles 803 w/ 50gal boiler, never ran so far.

Dnderhead
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Re: Lots of work for so little/final tips on aging

Post by Dnderhead » Tue Jul 14, 2009 8:45 am

trthskr4
I have one suggestion ,, save the sparg water and cook the next batch with. you wont be watering down your beer
and it will add to about 2-3% to the next batch.

trthskr4
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Re: Lots of work for so little/final tips on aging

Post by trthskr4 » Tue Jul 14, 2009 1:29 pm

Yes Dnder, I forgot that one.
15 gallon pot still, 2"x18" column with liebeg condensor on propane.
Modified Charles 803 w/ 50gal boiler, never ran so far.

JonB
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Re: Lots of work for so little/final tips on aging

Post by JonB » Tue Jul 14, 2009 6:31 pm

Interesting....

We were good with the mashing (cracking the grains smaller, soaking overnight, and stirring the boil for 90 min), except we were using 9 lbs total to 5 gal of water. We'll go thinner next time. We then cooled to 150F, then added more malted barley (Vienna malt - though come to think of it, I probably should look at the enzymatic power of this malt). We'd let sit overnight and then we'd add a gallon of water, and whip it up to add air. We would then would add 12 ounces of yeast starter Safleur 05 directly to the wort - on the grains. Come stripping time, we'd siphon and then strain the wort.

So here is the process change that I'm taking away thus far from what everyone is telling me:
1) go thinner with my mash (on a Sunday)
2) strain the wort and sparge the grains.
3) Save the sparge water for the next batch (Freeze this I assume since my batches are few and far between)
4) check my malt for "power"
5) start enzymatic activity at 155F instead of 150F, and pitch after 8+ hrs.
6) After fermentation ceases, rack out the good stuff and separate on the machine (Friday).

Other suggestions?

trthskr4
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Re: Lots of work for so little/final tips on aging

Post by trthskr4 » Tue Jul 14, 2009 8:47 pm

Practice often :D
15 gallon pot still, 2"x18" column with liebeg condensor on propane.
Modified Charles 803 w/ 50gal boiler, never ran so far.

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