uncle jesse's simple sour mash method

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Re: uncle jesse's simple sour mash method

Postby Husker » Sun May 11, 2008 5:49 pm

That type of filter will remove almost none of the yeast solids (but will strip out the corn). UJSM (especially the first run or 2), can handle a little extra time IF kept under air lock.

When I run mine, it is on about a 1 week cycle (with 2 batches going). I do 3 days or so in primary, then siphon off into a carboy, add cooled backset and fire up the primary again. The carboy will sit for 3 days or so (to clear some), then into the still. When I drop that into the still I wash the yeast dregs, and put the new 3 day old primary into the carboy (and restart the primary). Then strip distill, and cycle again.

Thus, I have 2 runs going in tandom, and both get about a week of time to do their magic. The final wash is done fairly well, and somewhat clear (not perfectly clear, but 80% clear).

That is just my method, others can certainly do things differently, and still have great results. With this sour mash method, it really is hard to screw it up.

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Re: uncle jesse's simple sour mash method

Postby punkin » Mon May 12, 2008 12:05 am

If you're only going for a few days i'd leave it and do it when you get back.

I run my UJSM similar to my beer, wait till it's finnished and give it a day or two. i don't rack or anything like that, just drain it through the grain cake.
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Re: uncle jesse's simple sour mash method

Postby Centimeter » Mon May 26, 2008 12:46 pm

I have a 9.5 gallon pot still and I usually strip ~7 gallons of wash with it. Each stripping run is taking me ~4.5 hours. Considering that I'm doing this four times and then a 4 hour spirit run, I am spending a hell of a lot of time distilling. I'm looking for ways to increase the speed of the stripping runs. I'm currently using two 3000W 240V elements at 120V (2 x 750W) for the strip because I heard that this reduces the possibility of charring. I was wondering if anybody has used 1500W 120V elements to strip UJSM. If so, have you noticed any issues with charring? Have any of you guys had issues with charring at all with this mash? I was thinking that it seems rather thin to char to an appreciable extent. Once again, thanks UJ for this recipe!
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Re: uncle jesse's simple sour mash method

Postby sconly » Sun Jun 01, 2008 3:13 am

got one of these going earlyer as soon as i added the yeast it started bubbling cant wait to try it all i need is to build my pot still
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Re: uncle jesse's simple sour mash method

Postby Centimeter » Sun Jun 08, 2008 5:44 pm

I've been doing a ton of UJSM mashes and I've been having some troubles. I first strip four 25 liter ferments down to 20% using my pot still with 3000W. This leaves me about 6 gallons of low wines. I then charge my pot still with the 6 gallons and bring it to a boil with 3000W...now the tricky part. At first, I ran it really slow (~3-6 drops per second). For the first two gallons or so of distillate, it was very harsh and acrid finally mellowing out at ~70% leaving a nice smooth grain flavor. However I only got about 1/2 gallon on the tasty fraction before tails started in. Seeing as this was a six gallon charge, I thought that this was a little ridiculous so I took all of my distillate and distilled it a third time at about the same rate and finally got a mostly smooth product. In total, I got about a gallon of smooth distillate out of four 25 liter ferments with a total distillation time of about 25 hours.

I made a goal to improve the process so I fermented up four more 25 liter batches (3rd generation) and did the stripping runs the same as before. I then ran air through the 6 gallons of distillate for about half a day. I charged my still up with the aired out low wines and ran it really slow (< 2 drops per second) for about one liter then cranked the heat up so that I was putting out about 1.8-2 liters per hour. Once again, the distillate was harsh and acrid for the first two gallons or so and then mellowed out at ~70%. This time I got about 2/3 of a gallon of smooth distillate. :x

What's the deal here? How come the majority of the distillate is so harsh no matter how fast or slow I run it? Is it supposed to taste acrid and then get mellowed out during aging? This isn't even all of my runs...I reran both of these runs too before finally sticking with what I got and putting it on oak. I've been collecting all of the spirit runs in 400ml fractions and allowing them to air out for >24 hours before mixing. Am I being too picky? Does your guy’s white dog taste dandy right out of the still? If so, what kind of flavor does it have? Any help or insight would b very much appreciated.
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Re: uncle jesse's simple sour mash method

Postby trthskr4 » Sun Jun 08, 2008 5:59 pm

Well, the amount you're getting sounds about right to me. I triple distill all my UJSM's now and with 3 gallons of low wines, tails and all I add in 2 gallons of filtered water and yesturday I decided to add in a little bit of baking soda to the still just to see what I'd get...beautiful, smooth and aroma of corn all through the run without that harshness in the first bit as usual. Airing and aging on oak will smooth or mellow it out a bit, but doing it the way I have been doing it lately makes it smoother than say Jack Daniels or Jim Beam straight out of the still and they've been aged on oak for years. I can't stand a harsh whiskey, it's gotta be smooth and I can't find anything I can afford that gives me what I'm looking for, so I'm determined to make it.
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Re: uncle jesse's simple sour mash method

Postby Centimeter » Sun Jun 08, 2008 6:07 pm

Very good information. Good to hear that I'm not alone. What abv of low wines do you charge your still with for the spirit run on both the second and third distillation? What ratio of baking soda do you add to your runs and do you only add it to the spirit run?
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Re: uncle jesse's simple sour mash method

Postby Husker » Sun Jun 08, 2008 6:44 pm

I never add soda to a spirit run on any type of flavored drink (rum, whiskey, etc). Add it when making a neutral.

When I ran UJSM, I was making 11-12% washes. My low wines ended up about 38% or so, and the spirit run after cuts was pretty close to 65%

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Re: uncle jesse's simple sour mash method

Postby Dnderhead » Sun Jun 08, 2008 7:29 pm

Seams that a lot of people want to make 80-90% alcohol then wonder why there's no flavor and it "bites" your distilling out all the flavor to git the
high alcohol. if you run it off at 60%more or less you will have much more flavor and not have to add so much water some of that "bite" is alcohol it burns the soft tissue of the mouth (try on a scrap/cut and you will see) (60% is a good place for flavor and generally good for ageing at also)
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Re: uncle jesse's simple sour mash method

Postby trthskr4 » Sun Jun 08, 2008 7:53 pm

Husker and Dndr, I have an 18" column on my pot and 1 SS scrubber. My normal UJSM stripping runs start usually at 74% after fores, and my tails usually start to come over at around 50%. Would cutting my column down to nothing get my abv down or do I want it down. For a spirit run I dilute down to just below 40% and it comes over at around 80-85% with a little flavor but the really good stuff comes in at around 60% to 50% or somewhere in between but it's short lived before tails come through. I'm really still learning and experimenting to find my personal sweet spot. I can blend and dilute then age (I have only had a short time to age) and get a product as good as some off the shelf. I'm after the sho nuff back room private stash stuff better than top shelf. I don't drink alot so I'm not after quantity as much as quality, I drink about a fifth of whiskey a year, I've got time to make that much top notch stuff.

Oh and according to the parent site (there's a good explanation of why there) never add baking soda to your wash, only add it to distillate before a spirit run with no new wash in it.


I added almost a quarter cup to 3 gallons of 55% watered down to below 40%,so roughly 5 gallons total, not as much as for a neutral, the parent has some recommendations for 3 TBsps (I think it's tablespoons) per litre of spirit. It said it would help with the heads and it did. I can still use the later hearts to flavor it up as everything below 70% was still very flavorful. Husker I don't know if it's right, I trust your judgement, I was just trying to find a solution to my particular problem with the soda. I may have just gotten lucky this time and it actually worked for me, even a broke clock's right twice a day. :wink:
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Re: uncle jesse's simple sour mash method

Postby Dnderhead » Sun Jun 08, 2008 8:15 pm

yes cutting column will help considerably if you want flavor and if your "water" it down between runs your leaving flavor in the water when you run again
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Re: uncle jesse's simple sour mash method

Postby Centimeter » Sun Jun 08, 2008 9:51 pm

Alright Dnder, you've sold me. I spent all today trying to convince myself to crank it up higher but I just kept telling myself that the harshness will give out with just a little bit more. What can I say…I started out in this hobby a few years back doing strictly neutral on a reflux still. Old habits I guess. I saved the low wine backset, so I'm going to throw everything back together, insulate my column and crank it right up to 1500W. I think you're right about the proof being too high. I get a real nice flavor profile right around 70% to 55% but by then I've already stripped out most of the alcohol trying to get rid of the acrid heads. I hope that the fast distillation rate wont cause that acrid flavor to carry through the whole run. Would it be a good idea to start it off slow for a pint or two and then crank it up just to try and clear out the heads a bit? Anyhow, I'll give it a go in the next couple days and report back with the results.
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Re: uncle jesse's simple sour mash method

Postby Husker » Mon Jun 09, 2008 4:12 am

trthskr4 (and others running a short column). If you are getting such high ABV's as 70% on your stripping run (with tails at 50%), then crank up the heat. I also run my strips until there is almost nothing left at all (all the way to the bottom of the tails). I use the spirit run to clean things up, and run at about 75% the speed in the spirit run. If you run TOO fast there, you will likely bring over tails for the entire run (spoiling your product).

As for the usage of soda in a flavored spirit, are there others who have tried? If so, was your ending flavor profile "right". I use soda in my cleanup runs (pretty much only make neutral from cleanup from other projects). It certainly compresses the heads, and adds that VERY distinct cut off between heads and body, which helps get more neutral body. I was assuming that the addition of soda (or other salts), was for making neutral. I could be wrong, and if so, I am definitely open to improvements.

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Re: uncle jesse's simple sour mash method

Postby trthskr4 » Mon Jun 09, 2008 4:34 am

Thanks Husker and Dndrhead, I will try that as I at least double distill everything and lately on corn I've been triple distilling it. Had a few shots last night with a little sip of Sprite and though it was light on the oak it was good.

I think I have been stuck in the mindset that running slow produces a better product no matter if it's a stripping or spirit run.
The soda definately made a distinction on my head cut. It compressed what is normally 3 pints or so of the rubbing alcohol odor and burning the nose upon a smeel to about half a pint. The parent site did suggest it for that very reason and that's why I tried it on a whiskey and not a neutral as it is intended for.
I run my tails down to 30% except on a sweet run for an UJSM and I run down to 20%.
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Re: uncle jesse's simple sour mash method

Postby Dnderhead » Mon Jun 09, 2008 7:31 am

by the way you should talk to jetzon (if hes ever around)he just went through the same thing
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Re: uncle jesse's simple sour mash method

Postby punkin » Mon Jun 09, 2008 1:00 pm

Might seem a silly question CM, but you are watering this stuff down to 40% before tasting aren't you?

Only ask cause it seems to me that i'm doing things very similar to you and don't have that problem at all.

My strips on ujsm start out at 68-70% and run down to 20% or under. I strip at 4-5 litres an hour.
My spirit run sits at 3 litres an hour.

Some actual cuts from straight corn ujsm as follows;

20l spirit run including feints (6th of april 08)

150ml 4shots @ 86% discarded

heads collected in .5l bottles...

5 bottles (2.5l) returned to feints.
6th bottle included when tasting next day.

hearts collected in 2l bottles

4 bottles collected for hearts (8l)

tails collected in .5 l bottles down to 58% and then run into feints jar down to 20%

Only the first jar used the next day (.5l at 67%)

Total was 9l at 81% (with PLENTY of flavour thank you) waterdown with 3l spring water to make 12l at 64%.

Never had a knocker complain about my ujsm yet.

I've learn't a little more about cuts since then, and i'll now collect down to 40% or so for sampling. I'll sample all of the tails as there will usually be one or even two jars in the early or middle tails that are unpallateable but a couplea jars after that will be the buisness.
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Re: uncle jesse's simple sour mash method

Postby Matty3241 » Wed Jun 11, 2008 4:06 am

wow there is so much infomattion on this Mash it is way over wealming for a newbie lokie me aka novice if anyone can really simplyfi this for me that would be great. I have the orignal frementing recipe

For a 5 gallon mash:

5 gallons soft, filtered water.
7 lbs cracked corn. 6-8 pieces/kernel is the proper crack. If using bird feed, make sure it is perishable, or in other words is free of preservatives.
7 lbs of granulated sugar.
1 tbsp yeast (distillers yeast if available.)

but i would like to make a 25L UJSM and i codnt not undestand how to distill (and how much to take off for cuts) this wash for the life of me i do have a pot still if anyone can give me the basic instruction or full instruction from start to finish in the Newbie text (simple lol) that would be great

thanks heaps
cheers matty
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Re: uncle jesse's simple sour mash method

Postby trthskr4 » Wed Jun 11, 2008 6:48 am

Matty, the UJSM is (IMO) the most simple thing you can do in the distilling. You measure out the quantity of the contents and put them in your fermenter, when that gets done you put it in your still...oh damn, that's where the art comes in, now is the tricky part that no one here can tell you exactly how to do it. You can get theory and some pretty close estimates depending on your set up. The best thing you can do here is "do it" then see what you get, then do it again and see what you get after awhile you will come to understand some things, they may not be correct and they may be opposite of what they should be. Then you have a starting point to build on knowledge. I will give you a piece of advise from one Newbie to another, don't lock anything in stone in your mind right now except safety, safety, safety. Be smart and vigilant, but as far as the nuts and bolts of distilling go I gaurantee you'll get one or 2 cross threaded at first so don't lock it in, keep good notes and good hygiene practices. Read the parent site thoroughly, keeping in mind everything but especially things like chemical reactions and interactions and if you put this thing in your mash it'll kill you or poison you or do this or do that, but some of the entries are made by other human beings with a totally different rig than you've got, they aren't infallible. Get some experience to build on and tweek, stay with one mash with the same grain bill until you get something good and get it consistantly then move to something else. I'm sure there are others who agree with me and some who may not, but I wish I had this knowledge in the beginning. There's other things I'm sure you should know but they aren't coming to mind right now so maybe someone else can expound on them or these. Good luck, all the best.
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Re: uncle jesse's simple sour mash method

Postby kullas » Thu Jun 19, 2008 7:59 pm

Ihis stuff is great :D im on my 4th gen and the more i make the better it gets. this last run i thought i had messed up. was running and taisting as i went along and started going week way to early was good taste but week. i put my proof hydro in it and was at 140 proof. great stuff here
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Re: uncle jesse's simple sour mash method

Postby jcrawf » Sun Jun 29, 2008 7:06 pm

I just finished my 'sweet run' of ujsm and my ABV seems about right. The flavor, however, is unexpected. Its not harsh, even at 120 proof but the taste and smell really reminds me of Skoal chewing tabacco. I'm running a pot still with a 45 degree downward condensor. Is it possible that I'm just carrying too much flavor over? Would a second run tame it down a bit? I am planning on doing a sour mash with it, I just became impatient and wanted to try it.
As per Jesse's instructions, I'll be using all of it as feints for my sour run, just want to know if I'm on the right track.
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Re: uncle jesse's simple sour mash method

Postby CoopsOz » Sun Jun 29, 2008 11:06 pm

You are on the right track....the first gen is always too "corny" for me, the flavour settles down after a couple of generarations. Stick with it.
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Re: uncle jesse's simple sour mash method

Postby jcrawf » Mon Jun 30, 2008 5:03 am

Good to know. Thanks Coops. This forum is a great resource for getting into the hobby.
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Re: uncle jesse's simple sour mash method

Postby punkin » Tue Jul 01, 2008 11:35 am

On the other hand CC, it works just fine if you do 6 or 8 gens, save up enough spirit to last a while, then freeze some backset to start your new batch off next time.

Ps. save your feints too :wink:





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Re: uncle jesse's simple sour mash method

Postby jim049707 » Thu Jul 03, 2008 10:58 am

Unle Jesse, used you sour mash recipe my first time out last year. I still have a gallon aging and am quite happy with the results. Can a person use the same sour mash technique with rye or wheat?
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Re: uncle jesse's simple sour mash method

Postby CoopsOz » Thu Jul 03, 2008 2:49 pm

jim049707 wrote:Unle Jesse, used you sour mash recipe my first time out last year. I still have a gallon aging and am quite happy with the results. Can a person use the same sour mash technique with rye or wheat?



Although you asked UJ specifically, the answer is yes. Sugar is for alcohol and the grain is for flavour and yeast nutrients.
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Re: uncle jesse's simple sour mash method

Postby frikz » Mon Jul 14, 2008 2:40 pm

Just started my first 5 gallon batch of Uncle J's sour mash.

Do you guys ever wash or boil the corn before adding it in order to sterilize it? Didn't do it myself, but the question came up while mixing everything together cause it looked kind of messy ;)
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Re: uncle jesse's simple sour mash method

Postby Hawke » Mon Jul 14, 2008 3:02 pm

Frikz,
Some do, some don't.
Personally, I do rinse mine as the only cracked corn I can get has soy oil added. I heat some water to around 150*F, dump the corn in, then skim the oily foam and bits of cob off the top. Then run it through a strainer with a hot spray from the faucet. Have done it both ways, can't really tell a big difference in the outcome.
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Re: uncle jesse's simple sour mash method

Postby frikz » Thu Jul 17, 2008 2:35 pm

Measured the SG a minute ago and it's still around 1060 although I added the yeast 72 hours ago. Seems to be going very slowly, should I perhaps add more yeast? Started with 3.5 kg (~8 pounds) of sugar and an equal amount of corn for a total volume of 6 gallons and used 1 package (5 g) EC-1118. I think the mash smells allright, but it still tastes very sweet after 3 days and it doesn't bubble very fast (room temp around 18 deg C by the way). Would adding a decent amount of regular baker's yeast be a good idea?

Update: just added 18 grams of baker's yeast, I'll see how it turns out. Does the total amount of yeast, 23 g (18 g baker's + 5 g 1118), seem allright?
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Re: uncle jesse's simple sour mash method

Postby Aussie Beamophile » Thu Jul 17, 2008 8:47 pm

I have my fourth generation of UJSM fermenting at the moment.

It has been 75% corn, 25% malted barley, and 25% rolled rye from the start.

The first two ferments were 20L and the last two have been shifted into a 60L fermenter (thanks punkin for your help).

The second ferment was racked and distilled on the day my Great Niece was born so I did a "low and slow" run with ultra conservative cuts and ened up with about 1.5L of good hearts that are on charred oak. This will get bottled and put away soon for one of her milestone birthdays.

The second of the two 60L brews will be stripped tonight and tomorrow all the low wines feints etc will be loaded up for a spirit run. Woooooohoooooo finally something to drink.

I'll report back next week on my progress.

Cheers
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Re: uncle jesse's simple sour mash method

Postby StabbyJoe » Fri Jul 18, 2008 12:29 am

Were you sampling while typing? :lol:
Maybe you mean 75%, 25%, 25%?
Or maybe 75, 12.5, 12.5...
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