My eyes are Bleeding!! Confused on Mash/Fermentor

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My eyes are Bleeding!! Confused on Mash/Fermentor

Postby Chef » Sun Jan 14, 2018 3:40 pm

Hello All, Yes, my first post, but I have read enough to have my eyes bleed
and the constant mental conservations with myself (honestly about 200+
hours, over several months) on this site and several others to have a very
clear understanding of my planned build and equipment needs.

So here is my confusion and hope to have someone clarify it for me. I plan
on building a Pot still, my pot will be a 10gal. Stainless steel pot with a
lid with a 2 inch copper column about 20 inches tall with a 90* then a 45
down to a liebeg condenser, which I hope to be a modular system for growth
(slobber box or thumper), much like the plans shown here on this site. I
thought the pot could be both my brew/mash pot as well as my still pot. So
this is where my questions comes from. I keep reading that we want to make
sure the mash is only in stainless or glass during ferment, then rack off
to a glass carboy to settle, or directly back into the still to run, but
yet so many people are using Brute garbage cans, blue barrels (food grade)
or brewing buckets for their ferment vessels. Which is correct?

My designs have changed over the months of reading but this "NEVER use
plastic" statement keeps popping up. So, if someone would be so kind to
help me settle this mental conservation with myself that would be a huge
help. I am honestly just gathering equipment at this point and do not plan
on attempting this build for several more months, even more time to read
and obsess over the information, but the thought of needing something other
than my original 10 gal pot is holding me up or at least causing a mental
stopping point.

I guess I will ask a follow up question at this point as well, Assuming
that I will be needing a second vessel to ferment in, What is the
liquid/volume of a standard 5 gal recipe of mash. Lets say Sweet Feed
Standard recipe. I would think this standard recipe would fit easily in a 8
gallon pot/vessel, After ferment, how much liquid will be pulled off to
run? I believe the answer will be close to 3.5 gallons +/- So maybe I am
building a still with to much capacity. I started with a 5 gallon pot for
my still, but jumped to 10gal. simply because I was needing the volume for
the mashing/fermenting process.

I Thank whom ever will assist a noob with this sort of question, seems
elementary I am sure, but Never use Plastic, is a powerful phrase. Thank
you, Chef
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Re: My eyes are Bleeding!! Confused on Mash/Fermentor

Postby fizzix » Sun Jan 14, 2018 3:59 pm

High potency alcohol and plastics is forbidden.
But HDPE plastic containers are OK for wash and mash ferments because the alcohol by volume is so small.

If you can go 10 gallon, do it! Next-size-itis may forever haunt you otherwise.

Generally you want to fill your boiler to about 80% so you have head room. I frankly just do it by sight.
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Re: My eyes are Bleeding!! Confused on Mash/Fermentor

Postby Chef » Sun Jan 14, 2018 4:20 pm

So Fizzix, HDPE is ok, So (Sweet Feed style Recipe, I will make my own) you have to bring the mash to lets say 170 for 90 minutes for the corn then down to 150, add the other grains and sugar/molasses and let it steep while it cools just before you add the yeast at 90*, transfer the mash to the plastic (HDPE) container and then add the yeast. Am I correct in this? If so then my still pot is the only cooker I need, if not then I think I need 2 big pots.
Seriously, thank you for answering, I have a mental block at this point in the process, probably because I am over thinking but none the less a mental block!
Thank you!
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Re: My eyes are Bleeding!! Confused on Mash/Fermentor

Postby Pikey » Sun Jan 14, 2018 4:20 pm

fizzix is dead right - plastic (Food grade) - is often stamped somewhere on the container HDPE (High Density Poly Ethylene) - In Europe, there is often a little heart shaped triangl with a "2" in it) - That is perfectly safe and sound for beer and wine making and therefore is sound for our needs. - You can have 10 ferments going at once and run one every day if you ferment in plastic.
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Re: My eyes are Bleeding!! Confused on Mash/Fermentor

Postby fizzix » Sun Jan 14, 2018 4:37 pm

Chef wrote:So Fizzix, HDPE is ok, So (Sweet Feed style Recipe, I will make my own) you have to bring the mash to lets say 170 for 90 minutes for the corn then down to 150, add the other grains and sugar/molasses and let it steep while it cools just before you add the yeast at 90*, transfer the mash to the plastic (HDPE) container and then add the yeast. Am I correct in this? If so then my still pot is the only cooker I need, if not then I think I need 2 big pots.
Seriously, thank you for answering, I have a mental block at this point in the process, probably because I am over thinking but none the less a mental block!
Thank you!

That looks like a good procedure. Add the gelatinization chart below to your arsenal of tools. Corn gel temp is the top listing.
What kind of yeast? Bakers likes it warm at 90°. Others can be less.

chart2.JPG
Gelatinization Chart

And your mental blocks mean you're doing this right. If one is not confused at first in this hobby, they're not doing their homework.
You will master this!
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Re: My eyes are Bleeding!! Confused on Mash/Fermentor

Postby BayouShine » Sun Jan 14, 2018 5:19 pm

Chef wrote:So Fizzix, HDPE is ok, So (Sweet Feed style Recipe, I will make my own) you have to bring the mash to lets say 170 for 90 minutes for the corn then down to 150, add the other grains and sugar/molasses and let it steep while it cools just before you add the yeast at 90*, transfer the mash to the plastic (HDPE) container and then add the yeast. Am I correct in this? If so then my still pot is the only cooker I need, if not then I think I need 2 big pots.
Seriously, thank you for answering, I have a mental block at this point in the process, probably because I am over thinking but none the less a mental block!
Thank you!

If you're going making a wash like the T&T sweetfeed, you don't have to cook your grains. The added sugar will be your fermentables and the grains will be for flavor.

If you plan on going the AG route, then you'll have to cook the corn and use malted grains for conversion.
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Re: My eyes are Bleeding!! Confused on Mash/Fermentor

Postby fizzix » Sun Jan 14, 2018 5:37 pm

Thanks for the senior input Bayou. I just figured he may as well practice a grain procedure since he had them.
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Re: My eyes are Bleeding!! Confused on Mash/Fermentor

Postby Tater Patch Kid » Sun Jan 14, 2018 5:45 pm

You run the risk of burning your grains if you try them in your boiler
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Re: My eyes are Bleeding!! Confused on Mash/Fermentor

Postby BayouShine » Sun Jan 14, 2018 6:06 pm

fizzix wrote:Thanks for the senior input Bayou. I just figured he may as well practice a grain procedure since he had them.

It'll work either way.

For some reason though, I've been seeing a few posts where folks have been starting the process for an AG mash, then skip the starch conversion step and add sugar. :econfused:

Maybe it's the AG snob in me. :twisted:
But, if you're going to do all the extra work to cook the grains, finish the job and add a little sugar at the end to bump the mash up if you feel that you missed on your conversion. It'll save a lot of headaches and confusion down the road.
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Re: My eyes are Bleeding!! Confused on Mash/Fermentor

Postby rgreen2002 » Sun Jan 14, 2018 8:09 pm

Just an FYI if you are planning on using a Brute can (and I recommend you do...just not a colored one like green or some crap). Brute trash cans are LDPE or low-density polyethylene. These are still food safe just not as sturdy as, or maybe they are "more flexible than", HDPE. HDPE can also withstand a higher temp than LDPE. This is why I steam mash in an HDPE barrel but I can also make washes in a Brute! Check it out:

LDPE Physical Properties: Value:
Tensile Strength: 0.20 - 0.40 N/mm2
Notched Impact Strength: no break
Thermal Coefficient of Expansion: 100 - 220 x 10-6
Max. Continued Use Temperature: 65 oC (149 oF)
Melting Point: 110 oC (230 oF)
Glass Transition Temperature: -125 oC (-193 oF)
Density: 0.910 - 0.940 g/cm3


HDPE Physical Properties: Value:
Tensile Strength: 0.20 - 0.40 N/mm2
Notched Impact Strength: no break
Thermal Coefficient of Expansion: 100 - 220 x 10-6
Max. Continued Use Temperature: 65 oC (149 oF)
Melting Point: 126 oC (259 oF)
Density: 0.941 - 0.965 g/cm3

(source: http://www.plasticmoulding.ca/polymers/polyethylene.htm )

Also, check out: http://www.virtualweberbullet.com/plast ... #foodgrade regarding food grade and plastic types.

As for your other questions you can certainly get away with only one pot for boiling water for washes and as a boiler! Stay away from aluminum for making washes and boilers as it pits and corrodes and isn't so good. Stainless or copper are the big "go to" metals here. I agree with fizzix in going bigger, very few people here have ever said "...man, I wish that I went smaller"

With regards to yield. If you are making a 5-gallon wash that ferments to let's say 10%, then that is about .5 gallons of TOTAL alcohol. Also, realize that that 0.5 gallons of alcohol are not drinkable. It includes fores, heads, hearts, and tails. So the real return on a 5 gallon still is very small which is the reason many people start small and say "Damn...I gotta go bigger". Just to let ya know.

I like that you're really thinking things through Chef... be safe out there! :mrgreen:
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Re: My eyes are Bleeding!! Confused on Mash/Fermentor

Postby TDick » Mon Jan 15, 2018 2:24 am

Chef wrote:Hello All, Yes, my first post, but I have read enough to have my eyes bleed.
I guess I will ask a follow up question at this point as well, Assuming
......
that I will be needing a second vessel to ferment in, What is the
liquid/volume of a standard 5 gal recipe of mash. Lets say Sweet Feed
Standard recipe. I would think this standard recipe would fit easily in a 8
gallon pot/vessel, After ferment, how much liquid will be pulled off to
run? I believe the answer will be close to 3.5 gallons +/- So maybe I am
building a still with to much capacity. I started with a 5 gallon pot for
my still, but jumped to 10gal. simply because I was needing the volume for
the mashing/fermenting process.

I Thank whom ever will assist a noob with this sort of question, seems
elementary I am sure, but Never use Plastic, is a powerful phrase. Thank
you, Chef


Hi fellow N :mrgreen: :mrgreen: B
I bought a 5 gallon pot still a few months ago and I'm already wondering about upgrading.

In my reading, I don't remember which Old Pro said it but it makes a lot of sense.
It's as "easy" to make a 15 gallon mash as it is a 5 gallon mash. Make enough to make 3 stripping runs, then you'll have enough for 1 spirit run.
I have a 20 gallon Sterilite container ($7) and a 12 gallon Igloo container ($15) but you'll need something bigger for a 10 gallon.
Good Luck!
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Re: My eyes are Bleeding!! Confused on Mash/Fermentor

Postby Chef » Mon Jan 15, 2018 4:44 pm

WOW!!! I thank you all for the response, Yes, I have been making plans and changing them as I read and learn more. I have truly read more on this site than I have read anything else in the last 10 years.....You all have truly blessed the new comers with knowledge and insight that in the days prior to the internet might have taken a few generations!!! I thank you for passing on skills and more importantly, "Our Heritage". I am a History Buff, so this is more than just a simply hobby, it is a History Quest for me...I know I can do this, because cooking has been my life for almost 40 years. Making it correctly and with the finesse, well..that is what I am trying to learn and challenge myself...I am a Bourbon Drinker and have been impressed by the families that have made a kingdom out of their moonshine past...I am not looking to be one of them, but understanding the process and the trials and tribulations of it all is the excitement for me....So thank you for being kind enough to jump in and assist!!!! So, to give you my thoughts, yes, a ten gallon pot still... I am going to have a 10 gallon pot just to ferment in as well, the 10 gallon still. I love the gelatinization chart, Fizzix, I had made notes about this but the chart is excellent, As to adding grains, I see the need to add 2 or 6 row barley to the mix but am very interested in the amylase enzyme, I actually have to take this enzyme pretty much daily, so I was really surprised to see it pop up here. So Again, I am blessed by all of your responses and look forward to this process and the learning it will provide!!!!
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Re: My eyes are Bleeding!! Confused on Mash/Fermentor

Postby rgreen2002 » Mon Jan 15, 2018 5:30 pm

Chef wrote: Fizzix, I had made notes about this but the chart is excellent...


The website that the chart comes from has a world of information in it as well:

http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php?ti ... Conversion

Also, take a look at the Wiki page... it has recently been redone and is looking great! http://homedistiller.org/wiki/index.php/Main_Page
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Re: My eyes are Bleeding!! Confused on Mash/Fermentor

Postby Truckinbutch » Mon Jan 15, 2018 9:59 pm

BayouShine wrote:
fizzix wrote:Thanks for the senior input Bayou. I just figured he may as well practice a grain procedure since he had them.

It'll work either way.

For some reason though, I've been seeing a few posts where folks have been starting the process for an AG mash, then skip the starch conversion step and add sugar. :econfused:

Maybe it's the AG snob in me. :twisted:
But, if you're going to do all the extra work to cook the grains, finish the job and add a little sugar at the end to bump the mash up if you feel that you missed on your conversion. It'll save a lot of headaches and confusion down the road.

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Re: My eyes are Bleeding!! Confused on Mash/Fermentor

Postby TDick » Mon Jan 15, 2018 11:36 pm

BayouShine wrote:
fizzix wrote:Thanks for the senior input Bayou. I just figured he may as well practice a grain procedure since he had them.

It'll work either way.

For some reason though, I've been seeing a few posts where folks have been starting the process for an AG mash, then skip the starch conversion step and add sugar. :econfused:

Maybe it's the AG snob in me. :twisted:
But, if you're going to do all the extra work to cook the grains, finish the job and add a little sugar at the end to bump the mash up if you feel that you missed on your conversion. It'll save a lot of headaches and confusion down the road.


I'm with 'chou Bayou. When I'm watching "that show" and all the Moonshiners are adding sugar in with the corn, I'm wondering, "Why don't they just add Amalyse instead of sugar and convert the corn?" Maybe I'm missing something, it must be more cost effective to use the sugar.

Also, there IS a thread stopped 3 years ago that may be a more appropriate place to continue those discussions:
http://homedistiller.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=53826


:wtf:
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