Basic Thin Corn Mash

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rob3rd
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Basic Thin Corn Mash

Post by rob3rd » Fri Oct 30, 2015 10:42 am

Hey All!

The weather has taken a turn for the better here in southern Maine for the next week or so, so I decided to try a thin mash recipe that I've been thinking about. Pretty basic stuff, but I figured I'd post it anyway. Comments are always welcome.

1. Boil 2 quarts of water, add one pound of raisins and let simmer.
2. 2.5 pounds corn meal struck at 150 degrees F in two gallons of water
3. Add one teaspoon of amylase enzyme and maintain between 145 and 150 degrees F for at least 30 minutes. Stir occasionally and work out clumps if necessary.
4. Turn off heat and cool corn mash to ~100 degrees F.
5. Put raisins and water in large blender and pulverize. Cool raisin blend to ~100 degrees F.
6. Mix corn mash and raisin blend in sterilized 6.5 gallon fermenter. Aerate the mix by pouring between mash cooker and fermenter five or so times. This should clear most residue from the mash pot.
7. Prepare two packets of active dry wine yeast for pitching.
8. Dissolve five pounds of white sugar in two gallons of water (hot from the tap) in the mash boiler.
9. Add sugar water to mash making sure to aerate at least once more.
10. Add water to bring wash up to five gallons (optional)
11. When mash is between 95 and 107 degrees F, pitch yeast and stir. Seal fermenter and add airlock filled with sanitized solution.
12. Allow to ferment for at least one week.
13. When fermentation is complete, siphon the wash into still boiler (five gallon).
14. Put a mesh mash bag in a clean three gallon bucket and pour fermented solids into bag. Squeeze any remaining liquid out of solids until you only have a semi-dry wad of corn meal left in the bag.
15. Pour liquid in with the rest of the wash.
16. Run a strip run, then a spirit run with cuts. Proof to drinkable level after blending hearts cut 45-55% ABV.

Note - I have not done steps 12-15 yet. We'll see how long the fermentation takes.

The OG was 1.076, which I thought was pretty good. I used Red Star active dry wine yeast (yellow packet). I normally use baker's active dr yeast, but I wanted to give this one a try. I'll keep you posted. Cheers!

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Re: Basic Thin Corn Mash

Post by Bigbob » Fri Oct 30, 2015 2:44 pm

You could add more corn and leave out the enzymes and you'll have UJSSM or add more corn then enzymes, leave out the sugar and have an AG.
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Re: Basic Thin Corn Mash

Post by ranger_ric » Fri Oct 30, 2015 4:33 pm

I am curious as to why you do all that boiling and heating if you are just going to add sugar?
I have travelled down this road (tried the amalase it did nothing I still have almost a pound of it) and dont forget all the energy (propane or electric) you take to heat that corn and then add sugar.. Sorry to say you just made a sugarhead and at 1.076 SG it is going to have a bite !!

I recommend a Tried and True, The Original UJSSM...

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Re: Basic Thin Corn Mash

Post by rob3rd » Sat Oct 31, 2015 4:10 am

ranger_ric wrote:I am curious as to why you do all that boiling and heating if you are just going to add sugar?
I have travelled down this road (tried the amalase it did nothing I still have almost a pound of it) and dont forget all the energy (propane or electric) you take to heat that corn and then add sugar.. Sorry to say you just made a sugarhead and at 1.076 SG it is going to have a bite !!

I recommend a Tried and True, The Original UJSSM...

Carry On
RR
I guess I was doing a version of the Popcorn Sutton recipe (somewhat scaled down), but I decided on amylase enzyme instead of malt. I thought the raisins would be a good yeast nutrient. Like you said, it will have a bite. I assume UJSSM is Uncle Jesse's Simple Sour Mash, and AG is all grain? Correct?

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Re: Basic Thin Corn Mash

Post by RevSpaminator » Sat Oct 31, 2015 4:36 am

I'm sure the yeast would enjoy some raisins. I'm not sure if they are necessary but they don't hurt anything.

For more of an all-corn experience, try corn sugar instead of cane. It has a much smoother finish.
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Re: Basic Thin Corn Mash

Post by rob3rd » Sat Oct 31, 2015 5:06 am

RevSpaminator wrote:I'm sure the yeast would enjoy some raisins. I'm not sure if they are necessary but they don't hurt anything.

For more of an all-corn experience, try corn sugar instead of cane. It has a much smoother finish.
Not sure I've ever come across corn sugar, but I will look for it. Thanks.

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Re: Basic Thin Corn Mash

Post by RevSpaminator » Sat Oct 31, 2015 6:24 am

rob3rd wrote:
RevSpaminator wrote:I'm sure the yeast would enjoy some raisins. I'm not sure if they are necessary but they don't hurt anything.

For more of an all-corn experience, try corn sugar instead of cane. It has a much smoother finish.
Not sure I've ever come across corn sugar, but I will look for it. Thanks.
Often it is listed as dextrose.
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Re: Basic Thin Corn Mash

Post by S-Cackalacky » Sat Oct 31, 2015 11:24 am

I hope you'll post up when it's finished and let us know how it turns out. You might be able to mitigate the sugar bite by inverting the sugar - the verdict is still out on that one. It might also help with the bite to shoot for a slightly lower OG (1.060 to 1.0650). Instead of the amylase, some barley malt might add a good flavor component. All-in-all, it seems like a fairly sound recipe.
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Re: Basic Thin Corn Mash

Post by rob3rd » Mon Nov 02, 2015 9:35 am

S-Cackalacky wrote:I hope you'll post up when it's finished and let us know how it turns out. You might be able to mitigate the sugar bite by inverting the sugar - the verdict is still out on that one. It might also help with the bite to shoot for a slightly lower OG (1.060 to 1.0650). Instead of the amylase, some barley malt might add a good flavor component. All-in-all, it seems like a fairly sound recipe.
Hey SC!

Where from in SC? Most of my kin are around Georgetown.

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Re: Basic Thin Corn Mash

Post by rob3rd » Thu Nov 12, 2015 1:19 pm

Update:

I actually did two mashes with the above recipe. The one that I calculated with an OG of 1.076 fermented down to 1.024 before the yeast stopped working; approximately 6.5% ABV. I failed to mention that I did not bring up the volume of the mash to 5 gallons with water. So it was only about 4 gallons of mash. The reason I mention this is the second mash I DID bring the volume up to 5 gallons with added water, and the resulting OG was 1.053. The second mash is still fermenting strongly with the Safale S-05 dry ale yeast. The first mash I used Red Star active dry wine yeast

I just completed a strip run of the initial 4 gallon mash. It yielded a little under a gallon of 35% ABV low wine. The smell was actually pleasant, and what little I tasted was reasonably good. I did taste before siphoning into the still and it had a fizzy/white wine taste - probably because of the raisins? :think:

Anyway, I anticipate getting a better result from the second run in terms of volume and FG. We'll see.

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Re: Basic Thin Corn Mash

Post by S-Cackalacky » Thu Nov 12, 2015 5:42 pm

rob3rd wrote:
S-Cackalacky wrote:I hope you'll post up when it's finished and let us know how it turns out. You might be able to mitigate the sugar bite by inverting the sugar - the verdict is still out on that one. It might also help with the bite to shoot for a slightly lower OG (1.060 to 1.0650). Instead of the amylase, some barley malt might add a good flavor component. All-in-all, it seems like a fairly sound recipe.
Hey SC!

Where from in SC? Most of my kin are around Georgetown.
I grew up in the high country in the Piedmont area near the NC border. I haven't lived there in about 50 years. Spent a chunk of time in FL (east coast) and have lived the past 30+ years in VA in the mountains near WV and MD. I have a lot of kin still in the high country and some others around Myrtle Beach. Never been to your area, but would like to some day.
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Re: Basic Thin Corn Mash

Post by rob3rd » Sun Nov 29, 2015 6:20 am

Ok,

Here are some preliminary results:

1. First strip run of 4 gallons yielded a little under a gallon of around 35% ABV low wines.
2. Second strip run of 5 gallons yielded a little OVER a gallon of around 30% ABV low wines.
3. I combined them to get 2 gallons of ~32.5% ABV low wines.

Here's where I "cheated". I added the feints from a previous sugar run to the low wines to bring up the volume in my five gallon still. The heads (0.75 gallons) were around 80% ABV, and the tails (0.5 gallons) were 29% ABV.

I figured this would be the last run before it starts getting too cold here in Maine, so might as well use what I have. Packed my column, and off I went. No doubt this dramatically increased the yield.

As you could probably predict, the foreshots came off at 165 proof. Heads ran from 165 to 162. 162 held steady for quite a while. Once the proof began dropping to around 150, I began to steadily decline 5/10/15 proof per pint collected. I made the final cut when I saw cloudiness when it started dipping below 100 proof. This of course means I have plenty of usable ethanol in my tail feints for the first Spring run.

So I have one gallon of hearts, a little under a half gallon of heads, and a quart of tails. As my mentor explained to me, strip runs expand your available "hearts" for a spirit run. After my previous series of strip and spirit runs - as compared to my spirit run only experiences - I would say he's right.

Tasting notes before proofing - Even the 162 proof hearts lightly coated the tongue. There no "needle point" burning like I had with straight sugar runs. I believe a blending of the jars will get me around 145 proof. I feel diluting to below 105 will make it too watery. We'll see.....

Here are the hearts collected, 12 oz each collected in pint jars. #13 is 1/3rd full:
IMG_1963.JPG

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Re: Basic Thin Corn Mash

Post by BaxtersDad » Sun Nov 29, 2015 10:24 am

ranger_ric wrote:I am curious as to why you do all that boiling and heating if you are just going to add sugar?
I have travelled down this road (tried the amalase it did nothing I still have almost a pound of it) and dont forget all the energy (propane or electric) you take to heat that corn and then add sugar.. Sorry to say you just made a sugarhead and at 1.076 SG it is going to have a bite !!

I recommend a Tried and True, The Original UJSSM...

Carry On
RR
Well, he used 5 lbs of sugar and made up to 5 gallons, so the sugar at 1 lb per gallon contributed 1.045 of the OG. That is less sugar per gallon than many of the Tried and True recipes, such as Sweetfeed Whiskey. I am not going to list them all, but you can easily confirm that for yourself. Where he got the rest of the OG is had to quantify, but a lb of raisins is going to contribute some fermentables and so some gravity, as well as assist the fermentation. The two and a half lbs of corn meal must have contributed some gravity from conversion of the corn starch, otherwise where didt the rest of the OG come from, although it is hard to know what the corn meal actually contributed. Now, RR, your statement on enzymes not being effective really does not hold water - don't take my word for it, ask Odin or Woodshed. The best plan is the two enzyme regime. The high temp (178 dF) enzyme thins out the corn starch soup and the low temp enzyme (~150 dF) converts the starch just as well or better than malted barley does. I was amazed as I watched how the high temp worked on a Booner's Casual All Corn, the consistency changes right before your eyes. Enzymes are really the only way you can make an all corn reliably.

My only real questions here are, why fool around with corn meal at all, and why such a small quantity? Feed store cracked corn is dirt cheap. About 10 pounds of cracked corn and five gallons of water will get you just a ton of corny goodness, and it is perfectly OK to sparge with a couple of gallons and to ratchet the OG up to 1.070 with whatever small sugar addition is required. The resulting shine is really amazing. You could maybe do the same thing with 10 lbs of corn meal I suppose, not sure what the consistency would be like though, probably akin to wet concrete, and certainly not as easy to sparge, hence, the suggestion to stick with cracked corn.

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Re: Basic Thin Corn Mash

Post by MichiganCornhusker » Sun Nov 29, 2015 10:44 am

rob3rd wrote:I failed to mention that I did not bring up the volume of the mash to 5 gallons with water. So it was only about 4 gallons of mash. The reason I mention this is the second mash I DID bring the volume up to 5 gallons with added water, and the resulting OG was 1.053.
I think this is what RangerRic was getting at. If you want to use the corn as a source of fermentables, you need to cook it at higher temps, near boiling, to gelatinize it first. Otherwise there is no great benefit to heating it up to 150F and adding enzymes. You might get some limited conversion, but I don't think enough to justify the added process.

If you want to use the corn for flavoring, you can just add it to the recipe without the heating and enzyme stage, like with the UJSSM.
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Re: Basic Thin Corn Mash

Post by rob3rd » Sun Nov 29, 2015 1:07 pm

MichiganCornhusker wrote:
rob3rd wrote:I failed to mention that I did not bring up the volume of the mash to 5 gallons with water. So it was only about 4 gallons of mash. The reason I mention this is the second mash I DID bring the volume up to 5 gallons with added water, and the resulting OG was 1.053.
I think this is what RangerRic was getting at. If you want to use the corn as a source of fermentables, you need to cook it at higher temps, near boiling, to gelatinize it first. Otherwise there is no great benefit to heating it up to 150F and adding enzymes. You might get some limited conversion, but I don't think enough to justify the added process.

If you want to use the corn for flavoring, you can just add it to the recipe without the heating and enzyme stage, like with the UJSSM.
I agree that I did not get the corn to gelatinize to the point where I'm extracting the most dextrins from the corn. What alcohol I DID manage to get was mainly from the sugar, no doubt. That said, I have had success gelatinizing double the amount of corn meal at 150 and needing to use enzymes to liquify such a stiff mash. The Popcorn Sutton recipe on this forum was the reason I chose to try HALF the amount of corn; main differences being that recipe's use of "malt" instead of amylase enzyme, and the fact that he strikes the corn at a boiling temperature, then follows with the malt after cooling to 150. I believe one of the reasons that "thin mash" recipes exist is due to the difficulty in handling thick corn mashes. The PS recipe is basically a thin corn/sugar mash

My previous successes with double the corn meal did not involve strip runs. I figured if I tried the same proportions as the PS recipe, coupled with strip runs, I may have some success. All in all, this was only a marginally successful experiment. What little corn that was used wasn't maximized.

I've determined that I now will avoid fine corn meal, and try coarser grinds (cracked or otherwise) in future recipes. I'll also look at more utilization of malt, as well.

Please any other comments are welcome. Thanks to all those who have contributed to this discussion

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Re: Basic Thin Corn Mash

Post by BaxtersDad » Sun Nov 29, 2015 1:16 pm

Yes, agreed, MC - the corn will not add any fermentables if it is not boiled first, just adding either enzymes or malted barley at 150 dF won't get you any fermentables from the corn. I think what I am getting at is the assertion by RR that this is a "sugarhead" that is going to have "bite" is questionable. What I was pointing out is that this thin corn recipe uses about the same or less sugar per gallon, whether it was four gallons (1.25 lbs per gallon) or five gallons (1 lb per gallon) than a lot of the Tried and True recipes. UJSM uses 7 lbs in 5 gallons, which is 1.4 lbs per gallon, or Sweetfeed Whiskey, which is between 6 and 8 lbs in six gallons, which is between 1.1 lb per gallon and 1.3 lbs per gallon. So this is not going to be any more of a "sugarhead" with "sugar bite" than those T&T recipes. I just looked at the recipe and did the math. I' m going to get a second batch of Booner's Casual All Corn going this afternoon, the first batch turned out so tasty. I also wonder about small quantities of corn meal, when feed store cracked corn is costing something like 22 cents a lb, and 10 lbs are going to cost a whopping $2.20. I don't know how much corn meals costs but I bet it is considerably more, to get less flavor.

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Re: Basic Thin Corn Mash

Post by rob3rd » Tue Dec 01, 2015 4:54 am

Here are some post-proofing thoughts:

After proofing the distillate down to 105 proof, I found it to have a nice subtle corn taste - not a rich taste that you would find with a all grain whiskey. Definitely not a "alcohol-fuel" taste. I can only attribute this to presence of the corn in the ferment, as well as allow for the possibility that the cornmeal released some dextrins. To me, the taste does not have a "bite".

I believe this recipe would benefit from striking the corn (in whatever grind - cracked, coarse, or meal) with boiling water instead of bring up to 150 and introducing amylase enzyme. After cooling to 150, one could then add malt or enzymes to loosen the gelatinization and extract more dextrins. This would make it more like the Popcorn Sutton recipe; the caveat being that I believe that pitching yeast is prudent, while his formula depends on naturally occurring yeast and enzymes. Too risky for me.

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Re: Basic Thin Corn Mash

Post by S-Cackalacky » Tue Dec 01, 2015 6:51 am

I would suggest that cracked corn isn't the best for mashing. The mashing process will benefit from a finer grind on the cracked corn. Doesn't need to be as fine as flour. Also, if mashing with cracked corn, the ferment may take quite a bit longer due to continued conversion of starches during the fermenting process.

Someone above said something to the effect that cooking the corn would release dextrins. Cooking releases starches and in a two enzyme process, the first enzyme converts those starches to long-chain sugars (dextrins/maltose?) and the second enzyme breaks those long-chains into short-chain sugars (glucose/fructose?) that are accessible by the yeast for fermentation. Probably much more complicated than that, but that's my basic understanding of the process.
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Re: Basic Thin Corn Mash

Post by rob3rd » Tue Dec 01, 2015 7:01 am

S-Cackalacky wrote:I would suggest that cracked corn isn't the best for mashing. The mashing process will benefit from a finer grind on the cracked corn. Doesn't need to be as fine as flour. Also, if mashing with cracked corn, the ferment may take quite a bit longer due to continued conversion of starches during the fermenting process.

Someone above said something to the effect that cooking the corn would release dextrins. Cooking releases starches and in a two enzyme process, the first enzyme converts those starches to long-chain sugars (dextrins/maltose?) and the second enzyme breaks those long-chains into short-chain sugars (glucose/fructose?) that are accessible by the yeast for fermentation. Probably much more complicated than that, but that's my basic understanding of the process.
Hey SC,

That was me about the dextrins. I believe you are correct. Conversion, rather than "releasing", would definitely be a more appropriate word for the dextrins. The second stage would involve more of a molecular breakdown into simpler sucrose, which brings up a good point; use of an alpha amylase and a gluco-amylase would make these conversions and breakdowns much easier.

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Re: Basic Thin Corn Mash

Post by robb » Tue Dec 01, 2015 7:37 am

In my mashes at 175d I have a thick gruel. Above 180d you can see it gelatinize. And REAL thick. Once you watch it you will understand. Until you get full gelatinization you won't have the full potential of starches from your grains. If you are doing sugar heads it doesn't matter. People doing UJSM/sweetfeed understand. I like the high temp enzyme just to liquify for my Malt at 148d.

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Re: Basic Thin Corn Mash

Post by rob3rd » Tue Dec 01, 2015 8:38 am

robb wrote:In my mashes at 175d I have a thick gruel. Above 180d you can see it gelatinize. And REAL thick. Once you watch it you will understand. Until you get full gelatinization you won't have the full potential of starches from your grains. If you are doing sugar heads it doesn't matter. People doing UJSM/sweetfeed understand. I like the high temp enzyme just to liquify for my Malt at 148d.
Robb,

Thanks. What's your corn/water ratio? Same as UJSSM?

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Re: Basic Thin Corn Mash

Post by Monkeyman88 » Tue Dec 01, 2015 11:01 am

The usual ratio for AG is 2-3 pounds of grain per gallon of water. IIRC, UJ is only 1 pound per gallon of corn, but that is because it's just for flavour and not to provide any fermentables.

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Re: Basic Thin Corn Mash

Post by rob3rd » Tue Dec 01, 2015 11:20 am

Monkeyman88 wrote:The usual ratio for AG is 2-3 pounds of grain per gallon of water. IIRC, UJ is only 1 pound per gallon of corn, but that is because it's just for flavour and not to provide any fermentables.
Excellent. I appreciate it.

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Re: Basic Thin Corn Mash

Post by rob3rd » Fri Dec 04, 2015 4:51 am

Follow-up tasting notes:

I've A-B taste tested this side by side with a previous heavier corn mash recipe I tried (5 lbs in a gradual build up to 5 gallon mash). I ran this heavy mash through just a spirit run (no strip). This thin mash is definitely lighter on the corn taste, but the corn taste is still present. It is much more palatable than just a straight sugar recipe.

The lighter corn taste I'm sure can be attributed to 1) less corn in the mash, and 2) strip runs taking some of the flavor out. That said, my yield on the thin corn mash strips was more than double in the hearts than the spirit run only thick mash.

The one major caveat is that while both runs benefited from the use of feints, the thin mash had considerably more feints added to it in the spirit run phase.

I think this thin mash recipe is viable, but would benefit from more gelatinization (higher temps for the corn), as well as the use of malt to give a more robust flavor.

Thanks again to all who have contributed to this discussion.

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