Flaked corn for Bourbon

All styles of whiskey. This is for all-grain mashes.

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Delecto
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Flaked corn for Bourbon

Post by Delecto » Sat May 02, 2020 9:10 pm

I’m an experienced home beer brewer. I’ve done 5 distillations, no major flaws. I’ve done one bourbon. It turned out ok, but I didn’t get the conversion I expected. I’m using flaked corn because I don’t want the hassle of gelatinising. I’m thinking I need to soak the corn at about 180* for an hour or so before adding the malted barley. Those are my only two grains.

Do you think not soaking the corn last time was the issue? How would you do a bourbon using flaked corn?

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Re: Flaked corn for Bourbon

Post by 8Ball » Sun May 03, 2020 5:03 am

This is how I do unmalted & malted grains. Use two pots. Step mash your malts in one pot. For your unmalted grains (flaked corn in your case), bring the temp up to almost boiling, add grains, stir and let settle at 190F. Add SebStar HTL and maintain 185-190F x 60 mins. Let cool to 175F then transfer to the pot with the malted grains. If you time it right, you can add the 175F corn to the malts at the end of the first step mash (112Fx30 min), and hit the second step mash temp range (120-125F). Then on to the third step (up to 140-149F x 90 min). I add some SebStar Amy-G as well. Keep the pot covered and let it drift down naturally to pitch temp, I let it go over night. Pitch plenty of yeast and ferment on the grain, let it finish. Strip and spirit with wide cuts. Age for a long time on white oak.

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Re: Flaked corn for Bourbon

Post by Delecto » Sun May 03, 2020 5:53 pm

Thank you. I'm curious though. Why ferment on the grain? What does that accomplish?

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Re: Flaked corn for Bourbon

Post by Twisted Brick » Sun May 03, 2020 6:33 pm

Grinding corn to a meal/flour ensures maximum conversion rate and shortest mash time. Fermenting on the grain eliminates the hassle of sparging (virtually impossible with flour/meal - guaranteed to get stuck); Fermenting on the grain ensures optimal flavor development.

The only hassle with squeezing the finished ferment to separate the alcohol from the spent grains is the manual labor involved in squeezing the finished ferment to separate the alcohol from the spent grains. BTW - squeezing corn after fermentation is demonstrably easier (thinner liquid) than squeezing prior to fermentation - plus its a helluva lot more sanitary after fermentation with the much lower resulting pH.

Do some more reading, it'll begin to make more sense.
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Re: Flaked corn for Bourbon

Post by Delecto » Sun May 03, 2020 7:21 pm

I will! I appreciate it.

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Re: Flaked corn for Bourbon

Post by bluefish_dist » Mon May 04, 2020 5:22 pm

I started with flaked corn, but moved to cracked as it sparged better. Yes, yield is lower, but that just means you use a little more. I did a long soak at the 180 range with hitempayse 2xl then once it got to 150 then added the malt. Would let it cool naturally, might take 6-8 hrs. To go from 180-150. Even then I moved to only 55% corn due to how hard it was to sparge.
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Re: Flaked corn for Bourbon

Post by BrewinBrian44 » Mon Jun 08, 2020 5:33 pm

I’ve used flaked maize for my last 4 bourbon mashes for the same reason as the OP. I’ve had good results with less effort by using it, but the cost is pretty steep vs just buying some decent bourbon off the shelf.

Can’t beat 50lbs cracked corn for 8 bucks at the feed store! I guess for some, time is money! I have a feeling it’ll be pretty rewarding taking such raw ingredients and making tasty whiskey!

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Re: Flaked corn for Bourbon

Post by arentwejusthere » Wed Jun 10, 2020 1:33 pm

I used cracked corn. Followed one of the T&T recipes with extremely minor deviation and ended up with a 65% efficiency without much hassle. So:

12 gallons of boiling water added to 17.5lbs Cracked corn, left to steep over night.
In the morning my temp was in the 146f. Added 5lbs of 6-row and 3lbs of Malted Rye. Left to steep for 3 hours. OG 1.052. FG was 1.018. I probably could have fermented it down to 1.010 or so, but the pellicle was getting pretty thick.

Squeezing the liquid out of the corn wasn't nearly as awful as I thought it would be.

My usual AG brewing efficiency is 75%. So at $7.60 out the door a 50lbs sac of cracked corn I'll take the 10% hit over paying flaked corn prices.

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Re: Flaked corn for Bourbon

Post by Delecto » Thu Jun 11, 2020 3:20 am

How did the pellicle effect the end product?

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Re: Flaked corn for Bourbon

Post by Chucker » Thu Jun 11, 2020 4:25 pm

I’ve been fermenting on the grain using cracked corn that I regrind about as fine as I can using a corona mill. I’ve never bothered with trying to squeeze as it seems like it’d be very time consuming and really messy, not to mention really difficult to get the solids mass out in a controlled fashion.
What I’ve settled on is to let it settle out and rack off the clear liquid. This is the stock for a strip run. I don’t worry about siphoning off a little of the lighter mass with it and it never seems to cause any burning issues in my propane fired kettle.
While the strip is running I dump some water back into the settled mass. Usually 10 gal or so. This will resettle overnight and I can rack it off the next day. This, along with any remaining wash that wouldn’t fit in the strip run, previous feints, and the low wines from the strip run are then done as a spirit run.
If I start off with about 30-35 gal of water in my fermentation I’ll generally get 12-15 gal in the first rack; just a bit too much for my keg still. The water added back to the grains should effectively dilute the remaining by a little less than 1/2 so the 2nd rack should extract a bit less than 1/2 of the available alcohol. I could repeat the process but I figure it is more efficient to get another batch started instead of the tiny volume I could recover from another dilution. The yield I’ve been getting has been right in line with my estimations and I’ve been pleased with the quality.

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Re: Flaked corn for Bourbon

Post by arentwejusthere » Mon Jun 15, 2020 3:38 pm

YSO191 wrote:
Thu Jun 11, 2020 3:20 am
How did the pellicle effect the end product?
We'll see. So far I've been fine with what came off, but I'll need a few more runs to produce enough to run a final pot run for aging. I do think it added some spice and floral notes on top of the corn notes the white dog was getting.

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Re: Flaked corn for Bourbon

Post by Canuckwoods » Thu Jul 09, 2020 3:06 am

I haven't squeezed in a couple of years. I use a bucked with a drain cock on the bottom with a hose into a carboy I put my BIB bag in the bucket and pour my fermented mash into it suspend the bag and let it go overnight. just about everything is drained out and it gives time for the wash to settel in the carboy.

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