Malt mashing gravity and technique

Production methods from starch to sugars.

Moderator: Site Moderator

Post Reply
Smokee
Swill Maker
Posts: 238
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2014 1:35 pm

Malt mashing gravity and technique

Post by Smokee » Mon Jun 08, 2020 6:04 am

Back in March when my company was shutting down I decided to stock up on my grains, if I was going to be staying home I figured I'd use the time to make whiskey. One of the sacks I bought was malted 6-row. I have a corn/wheat whiskey I make and use the 6-row for conversion. I've been making this whiskey for years so it's almost muscle-memory when I make it. I always get 1.060-1.065, make 2-6 gallon buckets and double-distill. No sugar is added. Yesterday, after 2-3 cocktail, I thought I try doing a single-malt style mash. I've been reading up on it over the last few weeks and it seems considerably easier than my wheated corn whiskey so I fed the family and after dinner dove into it.

I brought 6 gallons of water up to 149* and added 12lbs of the 6-row that I use for conversion in my corn/wheat recipe. Stirred it up well, wrapped the pot and let it sit for 2 hours. Came back and the temp was 144*. The mash was sweet but I still did an iodine test... no starch. When I do my usual mash I typically use more water, I held back a gallon on this malt mash and used that to sparge the grain. Prior to sparging I was at 1.050, after it dropped to 1.045.

I'm curious about the gravity, I felt I should of got a little more sugars. I've been doing some reading, it sounds like 2-row would be a better fit for this mash. When I use up this sack of 6-row I'm going to try some 2. Just curious what you guys typically get in terms of OG. I'm going to do my second mash tonight and would change up what I'm doing if there's something I might be able to tweak - with the exception of switching from 6 to 2 row.

Smokee

seabass
Rumrunner
Posts: 621
Joined: Tue Feb 26, 2013 1:08 am

Re: Malt mashing gravity and technique

Post by seabass » Mon Jun 08, 2020 6:43 am

It's definitely low efficiency. What's your process? How finely was it crushed? What kind of mash tun are you using?

2 row has a little more extract potential, but it's only a couple of percent difference. That doesn't explain your low efficiency. It's got to be process related.

User avatar
Expat
Site Donor
Site Donor
Posts: 2037
Joined: Fri Feb 24, 2012 3:58 pm

Re: Malt mashing gravity and technique

Post by Expat » Mon Jun 08, 2020 6:56 am

Smokee wrote:
Mon Jun 08, 2020 6:04 am
Back in March when my company was shutting down I decided to stock up on my grains, if I was going to be staying home I figured I'd use the time to make whiskey. One of the sacks I bought was malted 6-row. I have a corn/wheat whiskey I make and use the 6-row for conversion. I've been making this whiskey for years so it's almost muscle-memory when I make it. I always get 1.060-1.065, make 2-6 gallon buckets and double-distill. No sugar is added. Yesterday, after 2-3 cocktail, I thought I try doing a single-malt style mash. I've been reading up on it over the last few weeks and it seems considerably easier than my wheated corn whiskey so I fed the family and after dinner dove into it.

I brought 6 gallons of water up to 149* and added 12lbs of the 6-row that I use for conversion in my corn/wheat recipe. Stirred it up well, wrapped the pot and let it sit for 2 hours. Came back and the temp was 144*. The mash was sweet but I still did an iodine test... no starch. When I do my usual mash I typically use more water, I held back a gallon on this malt mash and used that to sparge the grain. Prior to sparging I was at 1.050, after it dropped to 1.045.

I'm curious about the gravity, I felt I should of got a little more sugars. I've been doing some reading, it sounds like 2-row would be a better fit for this mash. When I use up this sack of 6-row I'm going to try some 2. Just curious what you guys typically get in terms of OG. I'm going to do my second mash tonight and would change up what I'm doing if there's something I might be able to tweak - with the exception of switching from 6 to 2 row.

Smokee
The drop in SG is most likely a measurement fluke, possibly temp related. Nothing to be done now anyways.

Sounds like you're mashing a bit cold. With barley, my strike temp is 160, so with grain 155.

How fine did you grind? With corn there is more available starches so you might not have been getting full conversation. 2 PPG?
_____________________
EXPAT

Current boiler and pot head viewtopic.php?f=50&t=71855
Cross flow condenser viewtopic.php?f=87&t=47632
Modular 3" Boka - pics tbd
___________________

User avatar
8Ball
Rumrunner
Posts: 742
Joined: Tue Nov 27, 2018 9:12 am

Re: Malt mashing gravity and technique

Post by 8Ball » Mon Jun 08, 2020 7:03 am

Grind it in a corona-type mill. Step mash with proper adjuncts to support conversion and yeast activity. Stir it up good. Let it naturally cool down to pitch temp overnight on the grain. I toss in a little alpha & gluco enzymes too because I have them.

🎱
🎱 The struggle is real and this rabbit hole just got interesting.

Smokee
Swill Maker
Posts: 238
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2014 1:35 pm

Re: Malt mashing gravity and technique

Post by Smokee » Mon Jun 08, 2020 7:17 am

seabass wrote:
Mon Jun 08, 2020 6:43 am
It's definitely low efficiency. What's your process? How finely was it crushed? What kind of mash tun are you using?

2 row has a little more extract potential, but it's only a couple of percent difference. That doesn't explain your low efficiency. It's got to be process related.
I run my barley through the mill twice at the brew store, not sure what setting they use. It's not flour but cracked well. I'll post a pic tonight.

I mentioned the process in the first paragraph... I heated to 149 then added the bag and barley, stirred then wrapped and let it sit for 2 hours. My mash tun's a 10 gallon pot with spigot and I heated over propane.

Prior to sparging, I was at 1.050 at 140* so I figured it would only go up from there. Now that I think about it, I used a total of 7 gallons water for 12lbs of grain. When I planned this I was suppose to use 5 gallons and sparge with one gallon.

I always felt 1.060'ish for all-grain was what to shoot for. From my reading that's about what most distilleries got.
Expat wrote:
Mon Jun 08, 2020 6:56 am

The drop in SG is most likely a measurement fluke, possibly temp related. Nothing to be done now anyways.

Sounds like you're mashing a bit cold. With barley, my strike temp is 160, so with grain 155.

How fine did you grind? With corn there is more available starches so you might not have been getting full conversation. 2 PPG?
I'm pretty sure the drop was the additional water from the sparge, I see an error I made with it.

Now, the temp's something that I seem to find myself questioning. When I'm making my usual corn/wheat all-grain and add malt over 148-149* I end up with a poor conversion, I typically lose some sugar. I have a book that i take detailed notes, have about 7 year's worth and every time my temps were above 148-149* my OG was lower so I add my malt at around 146*. I can def try at 160* tonight.

Thanks for the feedback, fella's! This is more an experiment, something different to try, so I'm not banging my head over it. However, I like learning and trying new things so I appreciate the feedback.

User avatar
dieselduo
Rumrunner
Posts: 606
Joined: Fri Feb 17, 2012 11:36 am
Location: Florida

Re: Malt mashing gravity and technique

Post by dieselduo » Mon Jun 08, 2020 7:26 am

I usually get the strike water to 162 and mash at 151 on single malts

Smokee
Swill Maker
Posts: 238
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2014 1:35 pm

Re: Malt mashing gravity and technique

Post by Smokee » Mon Jun 08, 2020 7:32 am

8Ball wrote:
Mon Jun 08, 2020 7:03 am
... Let it naturally cool down to pitch temp overnight on the grain...
I always do this with my mash but didn't last night, not sure why (It might of been the cocktails). I'll def do this tonight, thanks! :thumbup:

Smokee
Swill Maker
Posts: 238
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2014 1:35 pm

Re: Malt mashing gravity and technique

Post by Smokee » Mon Jun 08, 2020 7:35 am

dieselduo wrote:
Mon Jun 08, 2020 7:26 am
I usually get the strike water to 162 and mash at 151 on single malts
How much water are you using? Reason I ask is that I don't think my 12 lbs grain will drop the 5 gallons of water that much. It dropped from 149* to 144*.

I'm going to use more heat tonight, thanks for the suggestion!

User avatar
dieselduo
Rumrunner
Posts: 606
Joined: Fri Feb 17, 2012 11:36 am
Location: Florida

Re: Malt mashing gravity and technique

Post by dieselduo » Mon Jun 08, 2020 8:22 am

I use 4 1/2 gals of strike water 2 1/2 gals sparge water and 14 lbs grain

Smokee
Swill Maker
Posts: 238
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2014 1:35 pm

Re: Malt mashing gravity and technique

Post by Smokee » Tue Jun 09, 2020 4:34 am

Last night I did part two, my second mash. Strike temp was 160* this time and I used 14lbs instead of 12lbs I used in the first. I left the pot alone over the night & checked gravity this morning, 1.050 @ 130*. This is pretty much what I get with my usual corn/wheat mash. I'll get home this afternoon and, after cooling, it should be around 1.060.

Since that's what I typically get, I'm satisfied... for now. I pitched Safspirit Malt yeast in the first bucket and it's bubbling hard. I typically use bread yeasts so there a lot of "new" going on for me. I started putting cherry on my last c/w run last night too. The wife said I was "stinking the house up" as she left. I replied "yah, but it's a good barley smell!". I guess I start working on the exhaust system I've been procrastinating.

Thanks again for the input!

Post Reply