steam stripping on the grain

Steam powered cooking and distillation devices.

Moderator: Site Moderator

Post Reply
User avatar
jward
Site Donor
Site Donor
Posts: 110
Joined: Mon Mar 30, 2020 2:06 pm

steam stripping on the grain

Post by jward » Sun Dec 20, 2020 6:55 pm

Looking for some clarity. It seems like I read that one shouldn't distill yeast to avoid off flavors. Also, if you ferment on the grain and distill on the grain it seems like the yeast goes into the boiler for distillation too. Am I missing something? My best guess is that while it may be a best practice to leave the yeast and any other junk from the wash behind in the fermenter, but if you distill on the grain then it's not in the cards to leave the yeast and one has accepted that. It may be some yeast varieties are more prone to throw off flavors when distilled and one avoids those when distilling on the grain. Maybe yeast don't contribute off flavors.

Getsmokin
Swill Maker
Posts: 223
Joined: Wed May 08, 2013 4:33 pm

Re: steam stripping on the grain

Post by Getsmokin » Sun Dec 20, 2020 7:20 pm

I feel it's more a factor of direct heat vs indirect heat. Direct heat with will cause different flavors than indirect. Steam stripping on the grain hasn't caused any adverse flavors in my experience. Side note 99% of commercial Bourbon is distilled on the grain.

User avatar
TimothyChurch
Novice
Posts: 56
Joined: Fri Sep 12, 2014 2:24 pm
Location: Texas!

Re: steam stripping on the grain

Post by TimothyChurch » Sun Dec 20, 2020 9:14 pm

I have a jacket still so most of my batches are done grain-in. Hell, even my rums are typically done with trub and solids mixed to some extent. Overall I haven't had any off-flavors due to the yeast.

I do find that batches done with the grain and yeast tend to have more of an effect on my copper plates. I know that one of the main reasons for copper is to help to reduce sulfur from the yeast and fermentation. I'd assume that as long as you have enough copper in there to cancel out the byproducts of the yeast it would be fine.

I know large bourbon distilleries have large copper baffles for precisely that reason and they change those out every year or so due to the effect of the yeast.

User avatar
Twisted Brick
Distiller
Posts: 2101
Joined: Sat Mar 09, 2013 4:54 pm
Location: Craigh Na Dun

Re: steam stripping on the grain

Post by Twisted Brick » Mon Dec 21, 2020 12:52 am

I think it's different for everybody.

Early on I squeezed my bourbon ferments and charged the still with the cloudy wash. After a year of (jar) aging I sampled a few drams and they had the unmistakeable taste of (SafAle) yeast so now I clear my squeezed ferments, leaving a pretty thick cake of custard behind.
“Always carry a flagon of whiskey in case of snakebite, and furthermore, always carry a small snake.”

- W.C. Fields

My EZ Solder Shotgun
My Steam Rig and Manometer

User avatar
jward
Site Donor
Site Donor
Posts: 110
Joined: Mon Mar 30, 2020 2:06 pm

Re: steam stripping on the grain

Post by jward » Mon Dec 21, 2020 8:13 am

Thanks, Getsmokin. Thanks, TimothyChurch. I am still thinking about how to get enough copper into an all SS still. Thanks, Twisted Brick. Are you steam stripping when you pick up the SafAle in the product?

User avatar
Twisted Brick
Distiller
Posts: 2101
Joined: Sat Mar 09, 2013 4:54 pm
Location: Craigh Na Dun

Re: steam stripping on the grain

Post by Twisted Brick » Mon Dec 21, 2020 9:43 am

jward wrote:
Mon Dec 21, 2020 8:13 am
Thanks, Twisted Brick. Are you steam stripping when you pick up the SafAle in the product?
No steam (yet). 11gal keg pot still charge on natural gas.

Cool cat on your Avatar.
“Always carry a flagon of whiskey in case of snakebite, and furthermore, always carry a small snake.”

- W.C. Fields

My EZ Solder Shotgun
My Steam Rig and Manometer

tombombadil
Swill Maker
Posts: 355
Joined: Wed Dec 18, 2019 2:55 pm

Re: steam stripping on the grain

Post by tombombadil » Tue Dec 22, 2020 3:47 pm

Every commercial bourbon maker distills without removing the yeast.

It looks like the scotch producers do it as well. They're fermenting off the grain, but I haven't seen any evidence to suggest they're letting their beer clear before stripping it.

Come to think of it, I've never heard of any commercial producers intentionally removing the yeast before striping.

They just pump it over and run it right?

I don't taste it in my likker but I haven't been doing this very long.

Prairiepiss
Master Distiller
Posts: 16571
Joined: Sat Dec 18, 2010 7:42 am
Location: Somewhere in the Ozarks

Re: steam stripping on the grain

Post by Prairiepiss » Mon Jan 04, 2021 6:07 pm

Most of the time it’s said to not because. Either the yeast and stuff can scorch To the bottom of a boiler using fire. Or scorch to an electric element. The scorching of the yeast is what you give you a nasty taste.
It'snotsocoldnow.

Advice For newbies by a newbie.
CM Still Mods
My Stuffs
Fu Man

Mr. Piss
That's Princess Piss to the haters.

User avatar
MichiganCornhusker
Master Distiller
Posts: 4464
Joined: Mon Jun 23, 2014 9:24 am

Re: steam stripping on the grain

Post by MichiganCornhusker » Mon Jan 04, 2021 7:30 pm

I've made whiskey with steam and I've made whiskey with fire.

I've done the side by side comparisons, and there is a substantial difference in flavor between running clear, racked ferment, and cloudy stuff including yeast, trub, and grain.

I'm not saying that if I ran it all together it would taste like yeast, or have "off" flavors, but when I run them separately I much prefer the cleared ferment. It's not even close. I couldn't care less how commercial whiskey is made.

It's an easy thing to do. Next time you run a batch just pull off the cleared ferment and run that, then squeeze the rest and run that cloudy. Keep the two runs separate and see how they taste after the spirit runs. If you think it's all good, just mix them together, nothing lost.

I built a steam stripper just so I could say goodbye to all the straining and squeezing. I was not happy with the results and I do not strip on grain anymore. I am still squeezing, straining, and racking. I prefer the product that way.

It's not about whether the clear is "better" than the cloudy, or on-grain, that is a subjective choice, but to suggest that a spirit made from a clear racked ferment is the same as one from clear, grain, yeast and all, well that's just not true.
Shouting and shooting, I can't let them catch me...

SaltyStaves
Trainee
Posts: 856
Joined: Sun Jun 14, 2015 5:18 pm
Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Re: steam stripping on the grain

Post by SaltyStaves » Mon Jan 04, 2021 8:54 pm

Scotch distillers will literally pump an active ferment straight from the washbacks into the wash stills in order to keep to their schedules.
They don't care about those pesky washes that don't finish, because the volumes that they are working with will nullify any variation/anomaly.
Many have a fermentation regime that has a longer fermentation (hours) over the weekend, but come Monday morning, if the yeast ain't finished...Tough! Its gettin stripped..

We don't have the same concern and we can be patient. Or not.
I like to get ever last bit of sugar but get in front of any infection that might steal too much alcohol. Sometimes your hand is forced and you just have to run it.

malt_lover
Novice
Posts: 22
Joined: Sat Apr 04, 2020 3:47 am

Re: steam stripping on the grain

Post by malt_lover » Tue Jan 05, 2021 12:13 pm

Couldn’t have said it better. Just because a commercial company is doing it, doesn’t make it ok, otherwise why would we be into this.

Post Reply