Best method for seperating corn from mash

Production methods from starch to sugars.

Moderator: Site Moderator

Shovelhead89
Swill Maker
Posts: 197
Joined: Fri Nov 06, 2015 1:37 pm

Best method for seperating corn from mash

Post by Shovelhead89 » Fri May 27, 2016 8:49 am

What is the best method for seperating out corn bits from a mash (sparging, false bottom, pressing, grain bag, ect.)
I will be direct steam injecting and using enzymes with an all corn grain bill in a 55 gallon stainless drum if that matters.

User avatar
still_stirrin
Master Distiller
Posts: 8207
Joined: Tue Mar 18, 2014 7:01 am
Location: where the buffalo roam, and the deer & antelope play

Re: Best method for seperating corn from mash

Post by still_stirrin » Fri May 27, 2016 9:38 am

I know it is much easier (lazy) to re-ask a question than to search, but you only needed to look about 5 threads down for a discussion of similar inquiry. If you'd look, you can learn much.

But since I'm here...here's a hotlink: http://homedistiller.org/forum/viewtopi ... 9#p7413933

You should learn how to use the HDGoogle search....there is so much info there that you (obviously) need.
ss
Attention new distillers: Cranky's spoon feed info
My LM/VM & Potstill: My build thread
My Cadco hotplate modification thread: Hotplate Build
My stock pot gin still: stock pot potstill
My 5-grain Bourbon recipe: Special K

Shovelhead89
Swill Maker
Posts: 197
Joined: Fri Nov 06, 2015 1:37 pm

Re: Best method for seperating corn from mash

Post by Shovelhead89 » Fri May 27, 2016 1:27 pm

I've spent hours searching, trust me. It usually comes down to people just saying "yea it's going to be tough either way"
Do you believe pressing/straining to be the best method for corn then? I could hang a perforated bucket or bag from the trusses of my shinehouse and let gravity strain it back into my fermentation barrel. Are false bottoms no good for corn?
How do commercial distilleries do it?

bentstick
Site Donor
Site Donor
Posts: 1444
Joined: Wed Jan 26, 2011 5:41 pm
Location: Great Lake State

Re: Best method for seperating corn from mash

Post by bentstick » Fri May 27, 2016 1:34 pm

Rack off what ya can and scoop out about 1/2 the grain with a colander and with what is left in the fermenter do a piggy back,and use up the grain and pitch the grain bed,if feel inclined,do another sugar head for a neutral/vodka type drink, three runs through and ya pretty much used up the grains and what is left you have no big loss of the usefulness of the grain.

This my practice anymore got tired of squeezing,and dealing with that mess,this my attempt to give you a constructive answer and my way of doing AG mash with out letting good grain go to waste :thumbup:
It is what you make it

User avatar
MichiganCornhusker
Master Distiller
Posts: 4440
Joined: Mon Jun 23, 2014 9:24 am

Re: Best method for seperating corn from mash

Post by MichiganCornhusker » Fri May 27, 2016 1:38 pm

Shovelhead89 wrote:It usually comes down to people just saying "yea it's going to be tough either way"
Yep. And that's all yer gonna get.
There's a wise man on here that suggests that you should never underestimate corn's ability to plug a hole.

Cracked corn strains easier, malted corn easier still.
But if you grind it up for better conversion, I've yet to see an easy way to filter it.

GAFlatwoods posted about a GeoTextile fabric that works good, and comes in larger sizes than paint strainer bags.

I broke down and built a steam stripper rig, and I'm not looking back.
I rack off the clear and use it to steam strip the dregs. Works a charm.
Shouting and shooting, I can't let them catch me...

User avatar
jedneck
Site Donor
Site Donor
Posts: 3712
Joined: Thu Jan 10, 2013 5:16 pm
Location: drive to the sticks, hang a right past the sticks amd go a couple more miles.

Re: Best method for seperating corn from mash

Post by jedneck » Fri May 27, 2016 1:43 pm

The coarser the grind the easier it is to drain. But the coarser it is the more efficiency goes down. Steam stripping is were its at. Rack the clear to the primary and dump the rest in the secondary. On a dual 15.5 keg setup should be able to run a total of 17-20 gallons.
welcome aboard some of us are ornery old coots but if you do a lot of
reading and don't ask stupid questions you'll be alright most are
big help
Dunder

User avatar
shadylane
Site Donor
Site Donor
Posts: 7230
Joined: Sat Oct 27, 2007 11:54 pm
Location: Hiding In the Boiler room of the Insane asylum

Re: Best method for seperating corn from mash

Post by shadylane » Fri May 27, 2016 2:25 pm

A mop wringer and a big mesh bag
Squeeze about a gallon at a time.
Buy 2 or 3 bags. The first one your going to bust open by squeezing too hard :oops:

rad14701
Master Distiller
Posts: 20866
Joined: Wed Dec 19, 2007 4:46 pm
Location: New York, USA

Re: Best method for seperating corn from mash

Post by rad14701 » Fri May 27, 2016 3:16 pm

Here's a thought... If you aren't planning on reusing the corn why not mix something coarser into the mix in an effort to reduce the compacting and clogging that corn alone causes...??? There should be some relatively inert material that would work... Divide and conquer... Might be worth a try... Just thinking outside the box...

User avatar
bitter
Site Donor
Site Donor
Posts: 1751
Joined: Tue Feb 03, 2015 4:51 pm
Location: Ontario

Re: Best method for seperating corn from mash

Post by bitter » Fri May 27, 2016 3:53 pm

Rice Hulls might help.. does for beer making!

B

Pesty
Site Donor
Site Donor
Posts: 320
Joined: Thu Feb 21, 2013 7:16 pm
Location: Rocky Mountains CO

Re: Best method for seperating corn from mash

Post by Pesty » Fri May 27, 2016 7:05 pm

bitter wrote:Rice Hulls might help.. does for beer making!

B
they sure do!

I use them for sparging my AG mashes with a false bottom.
I go 2 lbs of hulls per 10 lbs of grain added at the end of the mash-in. Top off my tun with water, give it a good stir then sparge and set the bed.

rubber duck
Site Donor
Site Donor
Posts: 3452
Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2009 9:33 am
Location: brigadoon

Re: Best method for seperating corn from mash

Post by rubber duck » Fri May 27, 2016 10:51 pm

shadylane wrote:A mop wringer and a big mesh bag
Squeeze about a gallon at a time.
Buy 2 or 3 bags. The first one your going to bust open by squeezing too hard :oops:
Wow that's a really good idea.

I'm not being sarcastic, if you've ever mopped a floor you will understand.
Ideas are like rabbits. You get a couple and learn how to handle them, and pretty soon you have a dozen. John Steinbeck

Shovelhead89
Swill Maker
Posts: 197
Joined: Fri Nov 06, 2015 1:37 pm

Re: Best method for seperating corn from mash

Post by Shovelhead89 » Mon May 30, 2016 7:41 am

MichiganCornhusker wrote:
Shovelhead89 wrote:It usually comes down to people just saying "yea it's going to be tough either way"
Yep. And that's all yer gonna get.
There's a wise man on here that suggests that you should never underestimate corn's ability to plug a hole.

Cracked corn strains easier, malted corn easier still.
But if you grind it up for better conversion, I've yet to see an easy way to filter it.

GAFlatwoods posted about a GeoTextile fabric that works good, and comes in larger sizes than paint strainer bags.

I broke down and built a steam stripper rig, and I'm not looking back.
I rack off the clear and use it to steam strip the dregs. Works a charm.
Do you get any off flavors distilling on the grain? I have an extra stainless drum kicking around and I'm almost done my direct steam injection rig for mashing, how much more would be involved in a making a steam stripping still?

User avatar
MichiganCornhusker
Master Distiller
Posts: 4440
Joined: Mon Jun 23, 2014 9:24 am

Re: Best method for seperating corn from mash

Post by MichiganCornhusker » Mon May 30, 2016 8:42 am

I did remember a possible great idea for separating grains from mash.
The best quickest way that I had was to dump a bout a gallon of mash in a wire mesh kitchen strainer.
If you just dump them in, the strainer would plug up, but then if you did a quick jiggle with it, it would continue to drain. Sort of a horizontal circular motion, about 4 rpm.
This works really well for separating spent grains, but won't get it totally clear. And it's very tiring on the hands and wrists after about 30#.

I had imagined maybe cutting the bottom out of a bucket, lining the bottom with wire mesh, and then hooking it up to some kind of eccentric jiggler that could be run with a drill motor.
Remember those old "exercise" belt machines that you would stand on and put the belt around your ass and it would jiggle you? Something like that, but you know, for mash.
Fat-Belt-3.jpg
Shouting and shooting, I can't let them catch me...

BoomTown
Site Donor
Site Donor
Posts: 1328
Joined: Thu Apr 19, 2012 7:41 am
Location: Virgina

Re: Best method for seperating corn from mash

Post by BoomTown » Mon May 30, 2016 10:22 am

So this was a major problem for us. I think we've made great progress though...our goal being to not spend a fortune, but recover as much clean beer from our all grain mash to run in our still.

We went to an Army/Navy surplus store and bought a bunch of Mosquito nets for bunks. The nets are the kind we used in VietNam that mounted on small posts and draped down around our cots...

I Boiled and rinsed them about 4 times to remove the pesticides that the netting is soaked in. The netting is very strong, and solution neutral.

Then I made a cardboard cutting pattern that allowed me to make bags to fit in our fermentors. I can get 4 bags from each mosquito net, if I cut carefully and sew the pieces back together right. I cut and sewed these bags with double folded seams using nylon thread. Our fermenters are 30 gallon barrels, and the bags fit all the way to the bottom and loop over the tops about 6". Our fermenting barrels have separate metal clamps which we use to hold the bags in place as we fill them.

To use them, we put a bag in a fermenter barrel (30 gallon), and dump in the hot output from a Mash Tun, then place a top on the fermentor, allow temps to drop, toss in the yeast and ferment for a week to 8 days.

When the fermenting is done, we move the fermentor to the Pig. We tie the top of the bag with a loop of nylon cord, and hook it to a small block and tackle mounted on the ceiling joists to lift the bag filled with grain till the beer drips freely down into the barrel. Usually have to let it hang overnight, I like to squirt a little hot water into the top of the bag to restart the dripping, sort of a last ditch large to get the last of the sugars. Sometimes we simply swing it over to the pig and let it drip dry there, under pressure.

At this stage, we end up with about a 15% loss of the volume, but the beer works well in our electrically fired Still, as if it were cleared and syphoned off the top of the grain.

We've gone a step further to recapture the beer trapped in the grain by making what we call our "Pig". Our Pig is two 50 gal barrels, one having the its top cut off and a drain installed at the bottom. Inside, at the bottom of this barrel, we place its cut off top as a sort of false bottom inside this drum. This false bottom has ⅜" holes drill about every 2" to let the beer drip down, and a spacer keeps the grain bag up off the bottom about 3". The drain below the false bottom lets the fluids to drain away to a collector. The false bottom keeps the grain bag from plugging it up.

The 2nd barrel is cut length wise, and the sides drilled with ⅜" holes about 2" apart up down and all around. This is placed inside the first barrel - resting on the false bottom, forming a tube and we've spaced it away from the sides of the outside barrel. We've cut the top and bottom of the interior barrel to fit tightly the inside of our tube like a solid wafer. We drop a drip drained bag of grain into the tube. The solid wafer over the top of the drip drained bag works as pressure disperser, where we set a 30gal barrel, filled half way with stone and water, on top of the wafer, to squeeze the grain in the bags. We usually place two grain bags in the pig, separated by a solid wafer so the beer drains off the sides away. (I'm thinking we might work out a better 'press' for this step, but my thoughts are not fully developed yet...)

We recover another 5 gallons of beer per cycle this way. All and all, for a 25 gallon Mash, we usually end up with about 22 gallons of beer, then we sell the distillers grains to a farmer for animal feed, which helps.

If anyone is interested, I could post pictures next week.

Boom
“…Let’s do this one more time....”

User avatar
Mikey-moo
Site Donor
Site Donor
Posts: 1498
Joined: Sat Feb 16, 2013 10:54 am

Re: Best method for seperating corn from mash

Post by Mikey-moo » Mon May 30, 2016 12:06 pm

Could you build a large 6 spoked merry-go-round style centrifuge - each spoke able to suspend a 5 gallon fermenting bucket?

It would need to be sturdy, but provided it was balanced properly it could be spun to compact the trub and allow a larger proportion of the mash to be drawn off.

Or would that be prohibitively expensive compared to other methods?
Best place to start for newbies - click here - Courtesy of Cranky :-)

If you have used this site to save money by making your own top quality booze at home then please consider donating a couple of dollars to help keep this site running. Cheers!

BoomTown
Site Donor
Site Donor
Posts: 1328
Joined: Thu Apr 19, 2012 7:41 am
Location: Virgina

Re: Best method for seperating corn from mash

Post by BoomTown » Mon May 30, 2016 12:46 pm

Mikey-moo wrote:Could you build a large 6 spoked merry-go-round style centrifuge - each spoke able to suspend a 5 gallon fermenting bucket?

It would need to be sturdy, but provided it was balanced properly it could be spun to compact the trub and allow a larger proportion of the mash to be drawn off.

Or would that be prohibitively expensive compared to other methods?
gave that some thought, but the balance thing seems to be a big issue...centrifugal force is a major problem ...
“…Let’s do this one more time....”

User avatar
bitter
Site Donor
Site Donor
Posts: 1751
Joined: Tue Feb 03, 2015 4:51 pm
Location: Ontario

Re: Best method for seperating corn from mash

Post by bitter » Mon May 30, 2016 2:28 pm

Another option is a nice steam stripping setup. Make a striping run on the grain... and the run the low winds in your flute. That is the easiest.... also the most costly.

If you r doing UJSSM then not a big deal... to leave some.... If its an all grain you could do a gumball on the leftover... that would mean minimal loss.. and give you a sugarhead to increase output of your grain.

B

User avatar
ga flatwoods
Master Distiller
Posts: 3189
Joined: Tue Feb 19, 2013 6:40 pm
Location: SE GA Flatwoods

Re: Best method for seperating corn from mash

Post by ga flatwoods » Mon May 30, 2016 5:13 pm

th-3.jpeg
th-3.jpeg (10.43 KiB) Viewed 8750 times
This ia a one hundred pound shrimper's basket. It is rigid and tough slotted all around and in the bottom. The four ounce nonwoven needlepunched geotextile cloth I used draped in this would work excellently to drain the mash with a clear finish. The handles are strong enough to support the weight to allow it to drain. As I have said before, this is "The best all grain straining method I have found to date!"
Ga Flatwoods
The hardest item to add to a bottle of shine is patience!
I am still kicking.
Ga Flatwoods

WIski
Site Donor
Site Donor
Posts: 724
Joined: Thu Feb 23, 2012 6:39 pm

Re: Best method for seperating corn from mash

Post by WIski » Mon May 30, 2016 5:25 pm

Siphon off the clear beer and use a paint strainer bag and a mop squeezer to get the rest. I can do 50 pounds of grain in 20 minutes. Let the separated liquid settle for a day or two and siphon off the clear again. This is a simple economical method that eliminates ball busting and hurling juice everywhere. :eugeek:

Shovelhead89
Swill Maker
Posts: 197
Joined: Fri Nov 06, 2015 1:37 pm

Re: Best method for seperating corn from mash

Post by Shovelhead89 » Mon May 30, 2016 10:04 pm

bitter wrote:Another option is a nice steam stripping setup. Make a striping run on the grain... and the run the low winds in your flute. That is the easiest.... also the most costly.

If you r doing UJSSM then not a big deal... to leave some.... If its an all grain you could do a gumball on the leftover... that would mean minimal loss.. and give you a sugarhead to increase output of your grain.

B
I'm leaning towards a steam stripping still. Can you point me in the right direction on building one? Can't seem to find any good build threads. I already have 90% of what I'd need to build one I think.

User avatar
still_stirrin
Master Distiller
Posts: 8207
Joined: Tue Mar 18, 2014 7:01 am
Location: where the buffalo roam, and the deer & antelope play

Re: Best method for seperating corn from mash

Post by still_stirrin » Tue May 31, 2016 4:09 am

Shovelhead...just search for steam stripper. Its easy to find if you LOOK. You NEED to learn how to use the HD Google search function. You will not be spoon fed anymore.

And here's a BIG hint: there is a steam mashing & distilling forum.
Attention new distillers: Cranky's spoon feed info
My LM/VM & Potstill: My build thread
My Cadco hotplate modification thread: Hotplate Build
My stock pot gin still: stock pot potstill
My 5-grain Bourbon recipe: Special K

User avatar
MichiganCornhusker
Master Distiller
Posts: 4440
Joined: Mon Jun 23, 2014 9:24 am

Re: Best method for seperating corn from mash

Post by MichiganCornhusker » Tue May 31, 2016 4:17 am

Here is a link to my setup.
http://homedistiller.org/forum/viewtopi ... 92&t=60248
It's really just a big glorified thumper. Jed, Shadylane, and Brutal, have all posted lots about using steam.
Take a look at Shadylane's Bain Maire rig, too.
Shouting and shooting, I can't let them catch me...

Shovelhead89
Swill Maker
Posts: 197
Joined: Fri Nov 06, 2015 1:37 pm

Re: Best method for seperating corn from mash

Post by Shovelhead89 » Tue May 31, 2016 9:57 am

still_stirrin wrote:Shovelhead...just search for steam stripper. Its easy to find if you LOOK. You NEED to learn how to use the HD Google search function. You will not be spoon fed anymore.

And here's a BIG hint: there is a steam mashing & distilling forum.
Yea I've went all through that forum, thanks.
You know the whole point of a forum to ask questions and get answers and especially on this topic there are very few answers out there and the topic titles don't always lend themselves to being easily found. If you don't want to and can't provide useful information feel free to omit yourself from my threads.

Shovelhead89
Swill Maker
Posts: 197
Joined: Fri Nov 06, 2015 1:37 pm

Re: Best method for seperating corn from mash

Post by Shovelhead89 » Tue May 31, 2016 9:58 am

MichiganCornhusker wrote:Here is a link to my setup.
http://homedistiller.org/forum/viewtopi ... 92&t=60248
It's really just a big glorified thumper. Jed, Shadylane, and Brutal, have all posted lots about using steam.
Take a look at Shadylane's Bain Maire rig, too.
Thank you for the link, very much appreciated.

Johnnywhiskey
Site Donor
Site Donor
Posts: 134
Joined: Thu Mar 07, 2013 9:48 pm

Re: Best method for seperating corn from mash

Post by Johnnywhiskey » Tue May 31, 2016 12:43 pm

Just to throw in my 2c, but if you are going to separate the liquid from the grain before fermentation, lauder it like a beer with a false bottom. Unmalted corn and rye is definitely stickier than malted barley, but I can do 10 gallon batches without too much difficulty--just sparge with as hot water as possible. And I have a pretty high grain bill per gallon. I usually do 27-30 lbs per 10 gal with 1 lbs of rice hulls. This weekend I did a 10 gal / 28 lbs batch and sparged with about 8 gallons of water and ended up with about 14 gallons of wash at 1.051. If things get really stopped up I drain off as much liquid as I can while mixing up the grain bed. When nothing is left add boiling water, mix up and drain everything again. It's not how you would want to make your beer, but gave me a decent recovery for a wash.

I tried separating after fermentation a few times and it was a pain. And in the end I think the recovery was less than the lauder method because you don't wash the grain and a lot of liquid is still trapped in the grains.

Certainly the best recovery would be to ferment and distill on the grain, and if I had the time and space I would build a still that could handle grain--bain marie or steam distilling. Of course with either you need to be very cognizant of the mash's ability to puke and plug up the still head--or plug the steam wand in the mash.

I would be very interested in any first hand experience with the flavor difference between distilling on and off the grain.

User avatar
bitter
Site Donor
Site Donor
Posts: 1751
Joined: Tue Feb 03, 2015 4:51 pm
Location: Ontario

Re: Best method for seperating corn from mash

Post by bitter » Tue May 31, 2016 1:26 pm

I have tasted both on and off grain distillations but not hte same recipe so hard to compare.

From what I seen distilling on the grain does give more flavor across but it can increase the tannins.

This site has a pic of a local setup to me that distills on the grain.
http://www.northof7distillery.ca/#!ourdistillery/c18bc" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" rel="nofollow

There product is very good also.

B

User avatar
rgreen2002
Site Donor
Site Donor
Posts: 1288
Joined: Sun Dec 08, 2013 2:57 pm
Location: Northeastern USA

Re: Best method for seperating corn from mash

Post by rgreen2002 » Wed Jun 01, 2016 6:21 pm

ga flatwoods wrote:
This ia a one hundred pound shrimper's basket. It is rigid and tough slotted all around and in the bottom. The four ounce nonwoven needlepunched geotextile cloth I used draped in this would work excellently to drain the mash with a clear finish. The handles are strong enough to support the weight to allow it to drain. As I have said before, this is "The best all grain straining method I have found to date!"
Ga Flatwoods

Ga... I believe you are talking about the PET Needle-Punch Nonwoven? http://www.ktnonwoven.com/pet-needle-pu ... woven.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" rel="nofollow from the Best press...no press thread.

Oddly enough when I put the PET Needle-Punch Nonwoven into the google search I get a lot of hits for pond underliner. This can't possibly be the same stuff could it? It does look a lot like the ebay post stuff you mentioned in that thread... :think:

Hope I didn't hijack! :mrgreen:
HD Glossary - Open this
A little spoon feeding *For New & Novice Distillers - start here
BEST WAY TO GET ANSWERS FROM HOME DISTILLER
"In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is."

User avatar
raketemensch
Site Donor
Site Donor
Posts: 1994
Joined: Sun Nov 09, 2014 2:10 pm
Location: Tralfamadore

Re: Best method for seperating corn from mash

Post by raketemensch » Fri Jun 17, 2016 7:40 pm

It probably is the same stuff. I believe what ga flatwoods found was pavement underlayment. I used it earlier this evening, to strain out a gumballhead, and it's great.

BoomTown
Site Donor
Site Donor
Posts: 1328
Joined: Thu Apr 19, 2012 7:41 am
Location: Virgina

Re: Best method for seperating corn from mash

Post by BoomTown » Sat Jun 18, 2016 5:11 am

raketemensch wrote:It probably is the same stuff. I believe what ga flatwoods found was pavement underlayment. I used it earlier this evening, to strain out a gumballhead, and it's great.
So how can we buy small amounts, like 10 to 20 yards of the stuff? And what does it cost?

Boom
“…Let’s do this one more time....”

User avatar
rgreen2002
Site Donor
Site Donor
Posts: 1288
Joined: Sun Dec 08, 2013 2:57 pm
Location: Northeastern USA

Re: Best method for seperating corn from mash

Post by rgreen2002 » Sun Jun 26, 2016 8:53 am

What do we think about this...?
Storm Drain Sentinel
Storm Drain Sentinel
Found here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0025 ... BXPQYG1CTZ" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" rel="nofollow

In the last line of the product description: "Made of 8 ounces polypropylene, non-woven geotextile fabric. It's disposal dependent on the nature of pollutants being collected. Should be in accordance with local, state and federal regulations."

The polypropylene (not polyester which is what the stuff ga flatwoods originally posted on) should easily withstand low ABV mash/wash at ambient temps.
HD Glossary - Open this
A little spoon feeding *For New & Novice Distillers - start here
BEST WAY TO GET ANSWERS FROM HOME DISTILLER
"In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is."

Post Reply