Mash-Off! Liquid Enzymes vs. Malt Grains

Production methods from starch to sugars.

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Mash-Off! Liquid Enzymes vs. Malt Grains

Post by MichiganCornhusker » Wed Oct 19, 2016 7:14 am

I'm making up a whiskey batch and I'm experimenting with the mashing protocol.
I'm going to mash my grains 4 different ways and see if there is any considerable difference in conversion/yield.

Grain bill is 5.5# cracked corn, 2.75# malted wheat, 1.7# malted barley, all ground fine.

All mashes will begin with "cooking" by adding 4 gallons of boiling water to the corn and/or malts.

1: Cook all grains, corn and malts, to 190F, add Sebstar HTL, add SebAmyl GL at 148F

2: Cook corn to 190F, add HTL, add malts and SebAmyl at 148F

3: Cook corn to 190F, add HTL, add malts at 148F (no SebAmyl)

4: Cook corn to boiling (no HTL), add malts at 148F (no SebAmyl)

5: der wo sacrificial malt method.

In each case temps stabilized around 180F after adding 4 gallons of boiling water to the initial grains. I then heated it back up to 190F and put into an insulating box for 4 hrs.

An advantage to method 1 is that by cooking all of the grains they will all be sanitized, no rogue yeast for funk coming into the ferment from the grains added at lower temps. Also, perhaps, more yield because of the cooking?

Method 2 is what I normally do, but that is using both liquid enzymes and malts. If malts alone produce the same results I don't need to keep buying enzymes for this grain bill. Method 3 will indicate whether or not this is the case.

Method 4 is the old school way that I used to make whiskey, will be interesting to see how it compares to yields with enzymes.

Any predictions? Anyone else have experience with these comparisons?
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Re: Mash-Off! Liquid Enzymes vs. Malt Grains

Post by ShineonCrazyDiamond » Wed Oct 19, 2016 7:29 am

I'm in. Never done enzymes, I'm a classical purist SOB. But I know how great enzymes are, and respect them.

My heart is in the many colors of the malt rainbow, and will be rooting for them. Give 'me hell, ol' boys! :twisted:
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Re: Mash-Off! Liquid Enzymes vs. Malt Grains

Post by RandyMarshCT » Wed Oct 19, 2016 7:51 am

Awesome experiment, MC. I'd wager my money on group #2, but I've never done an experiment like this. Will be following!

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Re: Mash-Off! Liquid Enzymes vs. Malt Grains

Post by der wo » Wed Oct 19, 2016 8:01 am

The FG, the fermentation speed and of course the taste will be interesting.

I think method 4 will loose, at least based on the FG, because probably it needs some malt at high temperature to convert all of the starch. You use here an optimal recipe for AG with enzymes, but not an optimal recipe for AG without IMO.

I have mashed same grain bills with and without liquid enzymes. I didn't notice a difference in taste. So I don't believe that you need maltose for a malty taste for example (a glucoamylase converted mash has much more glucose and much less maltose than a malt converted mash).
And after a while I got the same yield without enzymes too. But not with a simple recipe like your No.4. In my fermenter it would end at 1.010 or 1.020 I think, 7% instead of 9% abv for example. And this will have an influence on taste. If the enzyme converted mash is dry at 1.000 and has 9% and the malt converted has 1.015 and has 7%, there will be a difference in taste for sure. But not because one is converted with liquid enzymes and the other not.
For comparing the taste of two mashing methods you need the same FG.
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Re: Mash-Off! Liquid Enzymes vs. Malt Grains

Post by jedneck » Wed Oct 19, 2016 8:45 am

I got a side of bacon on #1.
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Re: Mash-Off! Liquid Enzymes vs. Malt Grains

Post by MichiganCornhusker » Wed Oct 19, 2016 8:53 am

der wo wrote:I think method 4 will loose, at least based on the FG, because probably it needs some malt at high temperature to convert all of the starch. You use here an optimal recipe for AG with enzymes, but not an optimal recipe for AG without IMO.
Thanks for the suggestion, der wo. I had actually considered doing a 5th example adding some sacrificial malts for the high temp cooking.
I thought that was more about the ease of handling the corn rather that to improve yield. Also, I would like to avoid a long heat-up time so I like the idea of just adding the boiling water to the corn.

If I try an example with the sacrificial malt, how would you suggest I do it? Do I need to add them at a lower temp and raise to high temp, stirring the whole time, or can I just add them after my boiling water when the mash is approx. 180F? With this grain bill, how much of the malts would you use at the high temp?

I hadn't even considered how the different mashing methods might affect FG, much less taste. I was just going to mix all the wort together at the end and ferment as a single batch.

I don't know that I can scare up 4 or 5 fermenters to continue these through separate fermentations, but I might be able to do 2 or 3.

Edit: From another thread, der wo's sac malt protocol. If I can do a 5th batch, I'll follow this:
-Water 75°C. Shut off the heat. Insulate.
-Stir in the corn.
-Stir in 1/7 of the malt (fine milled).
-Wait at least 1h and stir ocassionally.
-Heat up and boil it.
-With cracked corn I would insulate it now and rest over night.
-Now either wait until the temp is 73°C or if it is lower heat it up to 73°C again and then stir in again 1/7 of the malt.
-Wait until it is 58°C. Then stir in the rest of the malt (5/7)
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Re: Mash-Off! Liquid Enzymes vs. Malt Grains

Post by Brutal » Wed Oct 19, 2016 8:55 am

Interesting! I'm gettin' my popcorn.
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Re: Mash-Off! Liquid Enzymes vs. Malt Grains

Post by jedneck » Wed Oct 19, 2016 9:01 am

When i mash with enzymes i put all the grains malt included in with hot tap water. and bring up to boil with steam injection. the malt keeps it from gettin thick and as i use a lot of rye i believe it helps keep it from gettin gummy/slimey. Bring to boil then on way down add enzymes at appropriate temps.
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Re: Mash-Off! Liquid Enzymes vs. Malt Grains

Post by ShineonCrazyDiamond » Wed Oct 19, 2016 9:06 am

jedneck wrote:I got a side of bacon on #1.
That better not be my side of bacon you're putting up.
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Re: Mash-Off! Liquid Enzymes vs. Malt Grains

Post by der wo » Wed Oct 19, 2016 9:14 am

MichiganCornhusker wrote:If I try an example with the sacrificial malt, how would you suggest I do it? Do I need to add them at a lower temp and raise to high temp, stirring the whole time, or can I just add them after my boiling water when the mash is approx. 180F? With this grain bill, how much of the malts would you use at the high temp?
You want to start with 4gal boiling water and then you have 180F. 180F is a bit on the high side, I would prefer 165F. But for comparision take 180F. And then add 0.5# malt (no matter if wheat or barley), wait 1h (or perhaps only 30min. Because of the 180F I don't think after 30min there is more enzymatic action) and then heat it up. Another 0.5# malt again at 165F, the rest of the malt at 135F.
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Re: Mash-Off! Liquid Enzymes vs. Malt Grains

Post by amdamgraham » Wed Oct 19, 2016 9:31 am

I wanted to do everything natural for the challenge of it from the hobby standpoint so I do all grain but am feeling the pressure to change due to low yield so I look forward to your experimental results. I do 10lbs medium ground not super-fine corn. I add corn to 6 gallons near boiling water then bring up to 190F and hold it there for 1 hour stirring almost constantly. I let it cool to about 155F then pitch fine grind 2lbs 6-row or 3lbs 2-row depending on what is available at homebrew store. I wrap it all up in the same boiler pot in a blanket and let it sit overnight until it gets down to about 90F and pitch Fleischmans dry bread yeast directly into the pot (on-grain ferment) and leave it until the activity goes quiet, the grains begin to sink and the yellow malty liquid pools near the surface (about 1 week). I distill on-grain in a double boiler. My typical yield is only about 4% ABV judging by OG/SG readings. I have added Beta during conversion as a precautionary step a couple times but not seen any measurable difference in yield so I believe I am getting as much conversion as possible with this process (these ingredients, this grind and at these temperatures). I feel confident after reading the recent posts regarding Sebstar/Amyl that I could greatly increase my yield with probably a bit finer grind and two-step enzyme pitching but I lose the all-natural part that I like purely from a philosophical standpoint.

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Re: Mash-Off! Liquid Enzymes vs. Malt Grains

Post by Fart Vader » Wed Oct 19, 2016 10:06 am

This should be an interesting thread.

I'm in.
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Re: Mash-Off! Liquid Enzymes vs. Malt Grains

Post by MichiganCornhusker » Wed Oct 19, 2016 10:35 am

Thanks for the input, this is still a work in progress and I'm listening!
I've updated my original post to show the 5th batch, which I will do with sacrificial malts, and to show my tweak for the non-HTL corn cooking.

The high end temp for my HTL enzymes is 190F. But, like some of you guys, I'm rooting for the old school malt army, going it alone, to put up a good fight.
So for the batches where I'm not using liquid enzymes I'm trying to lay waste to the corn starch stronghold by cooking the corn all the way up to a full boil.
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Re: Mash-Off! Liquid Enzymes vs. Malt Grains

Post by bitter » Wed Oct 19, 2016 3:57 pm

Awesome experiment MCH. looking forward to results

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Re: Mash-Off! Liquid Enzymes vs. Malt Grains

Post by masonsjax » Wed Oct 19, 2016 4:18 pm

Great experiment, I'm also looking forward to the results.

Be sure to add the malts in at a higher temp than your target rest temp or you'll stabilize too low. I'm sure you've thought of that, but it's worth mentioning.

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Re: Mash-Off! Liquid Enzymes vs. Malt Grains

Post by shadylane » Wed Oct 19, 2016 4:31 pm

Go for it MCH
We need more experiments :thumbup:

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Re: Mash-Off! Liquid Enzymes vs. Malt Grains

Post by MichiganCornhusker » Wed Oct 19, 2016 5:57 pm

I've gone as far as I can tonight, will have full report tomorrow.

One thing that I have noticed doing these side by side is that liquid enzymes make all of life easier.

The one-two punch of the high-temp and gluco enzymes make for a very thin watery mash.
Leaving out one or the other results in a thicker soup, and mashing without either makes for a syrupy slurry that is much more difficult to strain.

But that in itself means that the mashes are different with liquid enzymes. So how does that impact flavor down the road? I admit it makes me wonder.
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Re: Mash-Off! Liquid Enzymes vs. Malt Grains

Post by rgreen2002 » Wed Oct 19, 2016 7:41 pm

YES! I can't wait for this!
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Re: Mash-Off! Liquid Enzymes vs. Malt Grains

Post by corene1 » Wed Oct 19, 2016 8:43 pm

my vote is for #2. I have tried a bunch of different ways , but I seem to get more consistent results batch to batch using the method described in #2, even when the ratios are 50-50 malted grains to unmalted grains. The neat thing about this experiment is they are working side by side so there will be a direct comparison. Looking forward to seeing the conclusion.

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Re: Mash-Off! Liquid Enzymes vs. Malt Grains

Post by Fart Vader » Wed Oct 19, 2016 11:20 pm

I too have been using method #2.
Based on pintoshine's videos however, I have been adding the HT enzyme to the cold/warm water then adding the corn and bringing the whole shabang up to temp.

Anybody else do it this way?
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Re: Mash-Off! Liquid Enzymes vs. Malt Grains

Post by Swedish Pride » Wed Oct 19, 2016 11:51 pm

when I had enzymes I used to just put boiling water on the flaked maize and throw on HTL , then malt and amyl at the right temp.

In saying that, the enzymes are fantastic, tried a lazy booners once.

How much lazier that the normal booners can you get do you say? You can get SP lazy

Hot water from the tap on to the flaked maize, was about 120f, on with both enzymes, barrel kept outside with no temp control, still got close to the same yield I normally would, think I was 4-5 ABV% lower than normal but same amount collected.
Not lots of flavor though, might be the maize but more likely the protocol.
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Re: Mash-Off! Liquid Enzymes vs. Malt Grains

Post by bilgriss » Thu Oct 20, 2016 3:23 am

Yep, I'll be watching this one.

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Re: Mash-Off! Liquid Enzymes vs. Malt Grains

Post by Jimbo » Thu Oct 20, 2016 4:29 am

Looks good MC. Id suggest extending the test to include fermentation success and FG, in addition to the OG test youre doing? The differences Ive seen with lab enzyme vs malt enzymes were in the fermentation and FG.
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Re: Mash-Off! Liquid Enzymes vs. Malt Grains

Post by MichiganCornhusker » Thu Oct 20, 2016 9:41 am

Fart Vader wrote:Based on pintoshine's videos however, I have been adding the HT enzyme to the cold/warm water then adding the corn and bringing the whole shabang up to temp.
Thanks, Fart, I'm going to add a version of this to my list. Adding corn at 100F water with HTL and heat it up to 190F. Let it rest for an hour, add the malts, and take it up to boiling. Then gluco when it cools to 148F.
Jimbo wrote:Id suggest extending the test to include fermentation success and FG, in addition to the OG test youre doing? The differences Ive seen with lab enzyme vs malt enzymes were in the fermentation and FG.
Yes, I like that idea. I plan to take the winner of the SebStar mash and the winner of the all-malt mash and do a larger batch of each through to bottling. I might even do an on and off grain version of each, so 4 whiskeys to compare.

Couple things I can say so far.

Bringing 5.5# of corn in 5 gallons of water to a boil, without any enzymes in the mix, is some sweaty business. I boiled the water first, then added the corn, then stirred like hell to keep it from scorching.
When it hits the boil, it really swells up in the pot, I had to quickly turn down the heat to avoid overflowing my 8 gallon kettle. Then held a bubbly boil for about 5 minutes.

High temp liquid enzymes are a beautiful thing. If you mix the corn & HTL into warm water and bring it up to 190F you can see the milky opaque liquid start to transform into a much more translucent golden nectar when you hit about 175F and the enzymes start to liquify the corn starches in suspension.

The sacrificial malt method works great. It keeps the liquid very thin, about the same as using the HTL enzymes. No problem bringing it up to a boil.

So far the all-malt method is putting on a great show. In fact, I'm re-doing one of the batches because the numbers seem too good.

I should be able to wrap this up later today.
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Re: Mash-Off! Liquid Enzymes vs. Malt Grains

Post by Fart Vader » Thu Oct 20, 2016 10:08 am

Sheesh MCH, looks like you're aiming for a pHD (pun intended) in enzymology!

Maybe we can get the Wizard to hand you a diploma after all this.
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Re: Mash-Off! Liquid Enzymes vs. Malt Grains

Post by still_stirrin » Thu Oct 20, 2016 12:00 pm

MichiganCornhusker wrote:....Adding corn at 100F water with HTL and heat it up to 190F. Let it rest for an hour, add the malts, and take it up to boiling. Then gluco when it cools to 148F....I should be able to wrap this up later today.
I've found that if you take the temperature of malt above mash-out temperatures (160-165*F) you start to leach tannins out of the malt. This would contribute to the tails in your mash, making it "husky" and astringent (drying). If that's desired, then go for it. As a result, I don't like to overheat barley malt. But, YMMV.
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Re: Mash-Off! Liquid Enzymes vs. Malt Grains

Post by shadylane » Thu Oct 20, 2016 1:59 pm

I've noticed the same thing SS
Except I boiled whole ground up oats
The taste from the husks wasn't pleasent

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Re: Mash-Off! Liquid Enzymes vs. Malt Grains

Post by MichiganCornhusker » Thu Oct 20, 2016 3:10 pm

Thanks, SS, the tannin thing is definitely a consideration.
I've read a lot of back and forth about how tannins carry over in the distillate, and how they affect the final spirit.
Much like running racked & clear vs. dirty, or fermenting on-grain vs. off-grain, I feel like it's one of those things I might need to explore and see if I have a preference.
I will say I'm not picking up on any off flavors come through in the sweet wort, it's delicious.

Right now I'm just sort of playing around with as many variables as I can for the mashing.
I've used different methods before, but never the same recipes.
I'm not trying to discover the "best" way to mash, but I am hoping with these side by side tests that I'll be able to put my mind to rest and pick one way that works best for me.
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Re: Mash-Off! Liquid Enzymes vs. Malt Grains

Post by shadylane » Thu Oct 20, 2016 3:21 pm

Your the man MC :thumbup:
We need people that experiment and post what they learn

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Re: Mash-Off! Liquid Enzymes vs. Malt Grains

Post by MichiganCornhusker » Thu Oct 20, 2016 4:19 pm

Well I can't finish the last one, the all-malt version, tonight. The corn is still too warm to add the malts.

But so far this is what I have:

Version 1 is the winner, SG 1.065

Version 2 & 3 are almost a dead heat at SG 1.061

The all malt I did earlier was showing some very high numbers, so I'm re-doing it.
Not really sure what I could have done to screw it up last time but will see how this one turns out tomorrow.

The heat it up from low to high, the Pint/Fart version with liquid enzymes is actually tied for first, coming in about the same as version 1, SG 1.065, but like version 1, I boiled all of the malts with the corn and I think that makes a big difference.

The sacrificial malt method came in about the same as versions 2 & 3, SG 1.062. Though I'll admit I only did one step of cooking.

I'm hoping I can post some good numbers for the all-malt version 4 tomorrow.
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