Corn Sugar vs cracked Corn vs Flaked Corn

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distill_smith
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Corn Sugar vs cracked Corn vs Flaked Corn

Post by distill_smith » Thu May 27, 2021 9:56 am

First, I'm not sure if this is the right area, but here goes.
What is the general differences in the final product (whiskey); between using corn sugar, vs cracked corn vs flaked corn?
If the goal is simply to convert the corn to sugar, is there a down side to starting with corn sugar?
Thanks,

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Re: Corn Sugar vs cracked Corn vs Flaked Corn

Post by IMALOSERSCUMBAG » Thu May 27, 2021 10:29 am

The more you break down corn the easier it is to get the sugars out. Simple but I'm a simpleton. I would say corn sugar would be the easiest but most expensive? I have used cracked, cornmeal and flaked and don't notice a flavor difference. Corn sugar may not have the flavor but have no experience using it.

I buy whole corn and run though my grinder to make a cornmeal. I also use a power drill and a paint mixer to mix. Because mixing cornmeal by hand is a bitch. That's what I prefer.

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Re: Corn Sugar vs cracked Corn vs Flaked Corn

Post by greggn » Thu May 27, 2021 10:56 am

distill_smith wrote:
Thu May 27, 2021 9:56 am
What is the general differences in the final product (whiskey); between using corn sugar, vs cracked corn vs flaked corn?

Corn sugar (aka dextrose) will contribute no flavor to the finished product.
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Re: Corn Sugar vs cracked Corn vs Flaked Corn

Post by jonnys_spirit » Thu May 27, 2021 11:14 am

Corn meal or corn flour gelatinizes and converts the easiest and most completely when used with malts and/or enzymes. It's a little messy to work with and squeeze but the process works well and once you get through it isn't as bad as anticipated once you're done..

Hope that helps!

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Re: Corn Sugar vs cracked Corn vs Flaked Corn

Post by Twisted Brick » Thu May 27, 2021 11:44 am

greggn wrote:
Thu May 27, 2021 10:56 am
distill_smith wrote:
Thu May 27, 2021 9:56 am
What is the general differences in the final product (whiskey); between using corn sugar, vs cracked corn vs flaked corn?

Corn sugar (aka dextrose) will contribute no flavor to the finished product.
Wet-milling of corn produces corn starch for sugar after a number of constituents have already been stripped out. Used heavily in processed foods, corn sugar has already been converted with enzymes, leaving a benign sugar devoid of any real flavor or nutrition value. For this reason I have never used corn sugar, save for priming bottles in my early brewing days.

Milling whole or cracked corn to a meal produces a mash with great yields without the drawbacks associated with either flaked or corn sugar.
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Re: Corn Sugar vs cracked Corn vs Flaked Corn

Post by subbrew » Thu May 27, 2021 12:09 pm

Twisted Brick wrote:
Thu May 27, 2021 11:44 am


Milling whole or cracked corn to a meal produces a mash with great yields without the drawbacks associated with either flaked or corn sugar.
What drawbacks to flaked corn exist other than the cost in some places?

I planned on milling flaked to get better conversion but I figured it would give me move leeway as far as holding the gelatinization temp since it is already at least partly gelatinized during the rolling process. Is there some other drawback I should be aware of?

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Re: Corn Sugar vs cracked Corn vs Flaked Corn

Post by Twisted Brick » Thu May 27, 2021 12:51 pm

I have not personally worked with flaked corn. I am merely reciting what I have read here and on ADI, which is that flaked corn or any flaked grain tends to gelatinize with ease, but 'blows up' into a thick, sticky mess. How enzymes might minimize this I don't know, but merely knowing that one doesn't need (to pay for) pre-gelatinized flaked anything is enough for me to stick to unaltered, raw grains.

I would be interested to hear how milling affects your squeezing routine. I can't imagine it would increase conversion by any appreciable amount.

Holding temp is largely a function of the size of your mash's thermal mass, and keeping it insulated. I can wander back to my sanke keg mashes three hours later and the temperature drop is one to two degrees max.
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Re: Corn Sugar vs cracked Corn vs Flaked Corn

Post by subbrew » Thu May 27, 2021 1:00 pm

sounds like I need to do some experimenting this fall

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Re: Corn Sugar vs cracked Corn vs Flaked Corn

Post by contrahead » Thu May 27, 2021 2:11 pm

There is a little potential confusion about “flaked corn” that should be cleared up. There are at least two distinctly different products, that people are calling flaked corn. A brewer's supply outlet might sell 50# bags of something they call flaked corn for $69.99, that looks like a child's breakfast cereal (Corn Flakes ®). Something that has been highly processed.
cornshot002.jpg
But then you can go to a feed store and find bags of animal feed; also call flaked corn, sitting right next to the whole corn and the cracked corn. Feed corn for animals usually gets harvested after it's mature and the individual kernels have already turned as hard as rock gravel. Currently around here, whole corn is cheapest, cracked corn a little bit more @ about $14 a bag and flaked corn $2 or $3 more than cracked.

Of the 3 feed store types (whole, cracked or flaked), flaked should be the most useful to brewers or distillers. More work and processing has been done to it, allowing easier digestion for the animal; or in our case, easier digestion for enzymes and yeast. Of course after being rolled the flaked corn dries out again and hardens – but it is not nearly as difficult to work with as whole corn would be. Brewers and distillers could end some of the confusion by referring to this type as “steam flaked corn”.

I finally used up my last bag of steam flaked corn a year ago. I did not use it as is, but reduced the flakes into a meal first – with a coffee grinder. It took several months of intermittent 5 gallon batches, to process a 50 lb bag in my case. I stored the feed bag in the front seat of a modern but wrecked sedan parked under a large carport, where I thought it would be safe; but it wasn't. Mice did not get to it, but the larvae of tiny little black gnats did. I ended up cooking, fermenting and distilling some of the little bastards anyway.
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Re: Corn Sugar vs cracked Corn vs Flaked Corn

Post by Dr Griz » Thu May 27, 2021 4:31 pm

In my experience, corn sugar, flaked corn and cracked corn each offer their own benefits. Corn sugar is a great (if expensive) way to bump up gravity without so much of the “sugar head” flavor coming through in your likker — I’ve used it a lot in fruit washes. I agreee with greggn that it really doesn’t add any flavor, but in some cases that can be a good thing.

Pre-gelatinized (as contrahead rightly calls it, “steam flaked”) corn has the benefit of not requiring the kind of boiling that would wreck the enzymes of your other grains — it comes in real handy when corn is only an adjunct, like in a lager. But I find it gives you the same kind of corn pudding as flaked corn in larger doses. If I’m making a corn likker I don’t know if it adds that much extra convenience (at least once you factor in the added cost).

Maybe the biggest benefit (besides cost) of just plain old cracked corn is that you don’t have to settle for yellow dent. I’ve been having fun with Bloody Butcher lately, and am hoping to get my hands on some green and blue corn varieties this season. I don’t reckon you can get those in flaked form.
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Re: Corn Sugar vs cracked Corn vs Flaked Corn

Post by Demy » Fri May 28, 2021 12:02 pm

I think corn flakes and cracked corn are the same (in terms of flavor). Corn sugar will be flavorless. Corn malt is my first choice.

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Re: Corn Sugar vs cracked Corn vs Flaked Corn

Post by stillanoob » Sat May 29, 2021 10:26 am

I have used the steam flaked corn and it is super easy to work with and has good flavor. Hit it with boiling water, wait until it cools to 190 degrees or so, add sebamyl HTL and stir. Leave it until it hits 155 or so, the sebamyl HTL will have done its job, add your malt, wheat or whatever. I don't make a ton of whisky so the added cost of steam flaked doesn't bother me.

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Re: Corn Sugar vs cracked Corn vs Flaked Corn

Post by BrewinBrian44 » Tue Jun 01, 2021 6:59 pm

Looks like others have covered this pretty well.

In my personal experience with many batches of bourbon, fine ground corn meal works VERY well... with enzymes. It gets so thick, I couldn’t imagine not using the Seb HTL. That stuff is literally magic. Takes a solid gel and turns it to a thin liquid in 30 seconds.it’s like a million little pac mans munching away.

My 25gal batches of honeybear bourbon are stupid easy with the multi day mash process. The boiling temps in the same vessel you ferment in basically make the odds of an infection very low and time does all the work. I barely even stir it other than initial mashing in, adding enzymes and agitating while I’m running my wort chiller. I’m sure my yield would be a touch higher if I stirred more, but there’s beauty in the simplicity and allows me to spend time with the wifey.

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Re: Corn Sugar vs cracked Corn vs Flaked Corn

Post by distill_smith » Fri Jun 04, 2021 3:22 am

At my local homebrew shop I can buy corn sugar for $1/lb, so not as expensive as other grain. The shop owner suggested that if all we are really shooting for is turning corn into sugar; why not just start with sugar made from corn? Am I missing something? This logic really seems to simplify the process.

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Re: Corn Sugar vs cracked Corn vs Flaked Corn

Post by greggn » Fri Jun 04, 2021 3:29 am

distill_smith wrote:
Fri Jun 04, 2021 3:22 am
if all we are really shooting for is turning corn into sugar; why not just start with sugar made from corn? Am I missing something?

Well, you'll be missing flavor and mouthfeel. If neither are needed for your final product then, sure, it can be used as a shortcut.
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