First all barley adventure

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First all barley adventure

Postby Dancing4dan » Sun Sep 26, 2021 2:53 am

Up until now all mashes have been at least 50% corn. Cracked corn from a feed supplier or flaked corn from a local brew shop. Prior to distilling I had no experience at all. Have never done a beer kit or otherwise.

Talk about a learning curve learning to mash using corn! Flaked corn is easier than cracked corn but it can turn into a pretty solid mass in a big hurry.

On Thursday the corn got left in the bag and this is what went in the mash…

Pale malt 10 pounds
Peat, apple, cherrywood smoked malt 30 pounds
Black malt 1 pound
Quick rolled oats 1 pound.
16 gallons water. One Camden tablet.
Alpha amylase 1 Table spoon
Glucose amylase 1 Table spoon

Enzymes were used because I have them.
Black malt was very old but had been vacuum packed and was in the freezer.

Yeast starter 1/2 L converted mash with SG 1.084 (I use metric and Imperial measurements. I think it’s a Canadian thing) with 2 Table spoon distillers yeast, 2 Table spoon Flieshman’s bakers yeast and 1 teaspoon of Turbo. My theory is that each yeast does better under different conditions that develop as the mash ferments.

Ferment is on grain. BIAB 800 micron. Normally I don’t check SG because using enzymes the conversion of the starch continues after fermentation is well under way. I have checked SG of my corn mash’s but by the amount of alcohol produced it is easy to confirm conversion continues after yeast is pitched. I consider Fermentation done when Co2 production has stopped.

This recipe and yeast combo resulted in a violent fermentation. :scared-eek: I mash and ferment in a 20 gallon Blichmann engineering SS pot. They sell a silicone seal that wraps around the lid and pot on the outside to do this. The BIAB inflated and lifted the lid right out of the seal! I had to pull the bag and using zip tie ensure the grain was tightly wrapped in the BIAB. Put a SS colander between the bag/ ferment and the lid. My lid has a 2” tri clamp installed. Had to leave this open to allow sufficient venting. Blichmann uses a very small air lock that plugs pretty easily. (Will have to fix that…)

The fermenter pot sits in a livestock water trough. The trough has a thermostatically controlled 300 watt heater. This prevents the ferment from getting to cold and stalling out. Holding temp at 75* F.

Compared to corn the MASH was real easy! 16 gallons of water with 2.5. 20L pails of milled barley. It NEVER got thick! :handgestures-thumbupleft:

Looking forward to seeing / tasting how this turns out.
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Re: First all barley adventure

Postby howard » Sun Sep 26, 2021 11:18 am

i'm on the same steep learning curve with grain/corn/DP/enzymes so there's a couple of things that contradict my very limited knowledge.
surely the pale malt in the grain bill would have more than enough DP/enzymes, so there is no need for any extra.
there would be no continuing conversion by enzymes at the fermentation temp of 75f/23C.(according to my info :? )
what is the dosage of your enzymes?
the high temp enzyme i use is 0.12-0.2ml/Kg of grain
i've no idea what the battle would be like between the 3 different yeasts, i wonder which one won. let us know how it turned out.
confused of perth :think:
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Re: First all barley adventure

Postby Dancing4dan » Sun Sep 26, 2021 2:19 pm

Common thinking is that enzymatic action stops at a certain temperature. Not in my experience. It slows down but does not stop. I believe conversion continues although at a much slower rate even after heat is pitched. ETOH production beyond what is expected from a SG at start of fermentation demonstrates this to be true.

Again it is common belief to think of yeast as being competitive. That’s a human way of looking at things. As long as there are plenty of resources yeast will coexist. Conditions being available sugar, PH within desired range, appropriate nutrients, etc, multiple yeast strains will coexist. Then as conditions alter to favour the proliferation of one over another a end predominant yeast will flourish. But on the way multiple yeast can contribute to fermentation. A high alcohol tolerant yeast may not really flourish until after bakers yeast and distillers yeast have reached their environmental limits.

I don’t believe it is one yeast being dominant over the other. That isn’t how multiple yeast exist in nature. Or any organism for that matter. We think survival of the “fittest” as being survival of the strongest. That wasn’t Darwin’s thinking. The “fittest” in Darwinian terms is the one organism able to reproduce most successfully.

The yeast that is most able to reproduce will be predominant. However, other yeast will be present, contributing to fermentation and when conditions favour their reproductive cycle, they will flourish. As conditions in the ferment change so does the opportunity for different yeast to flourish change.

Until resources are depleted yeast will largely coexist and contribute to fermentation. Once resources are depleted…. The ferment is done! Time to distil!

Old school moonshiners didn’t even pitch yeast! They just produced a mash and exposed it to wild yeast present in nature. And that was not ONE yeast type.
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Re: First all barley adventure

Postby bluc » Sun Sep 26, 2021 3:38 pm

Just like sourdough bread. Can be hit and miss but making sourdough bread has taught me its quite consistent using wild yeast..
Sourdough starter is just cultured wild yeast/bacteria mix..
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Re: First all barley adventure

Postby Dancing4dan » Mon Sep 27, 2021 12:45 am

howard wrote:i'm on the same steep learning curve with grain/corn/DP/enzymes so there's a couple of things that contradict my very limited knowledge.
surely the pale malt in the grain bill would have more than enough DP/enzymes, so there is no need for any extra.
there would be no continuing conversion by enzymes at the fermentation temp of 75f/23C.(according to my info :? )
what is the dosage of your enzymes?
the high temp enzyme i use is 0.12-0.2ml/Kg of grain
i've no idea what the battle would be like between the 3 different yeasts, i wonder which one won. let us know how it turned out.
confused of perth :think:


Hey Howard. I agree. There is no need for the additional enzymes. I used them because I had them.

About the “battle” of the yeast, I’m not sure a battle exists. More like a party. Would be interesting to know who passed out last! :laughing-rolling:
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Re: First all barley adventure

Postby Clickeral » Mon Sep 27, 2021 8:51 am

Dancing4dan wrote:Common thinking is that enzymatic action stops at a certain temperature. Not in my experience. It slows down but does not stop. I believe conversion continues although at a much slower rate even after heat is pitched. ETOH production beyond what is expected from a SG at start of fermentation demonstrates this to be true.

Again it is common belief to think of yeast as being competitive. That’s a human way of looking at things. As long as there are plenty of resources yeast will coexist. Conditions being available sugar, PH within desired range, appropriate nutrients, etc, multiple yeast strains will coexist. Then as conditions alter to favour the proliferation of one over another a end predominant yeast will flourish. But on the way multiple yeast can contribute to fermentation. A high alcohol tolerant yeast may not really flourish until after bakers yeast and distillers yeast have reached their environmental limits.

I don’t believe it is one yeast being dominant over the other. That isn’t how multiple yeast exist in nature. Or any organism for that matter. We think survival of the “fittest” as being survival of the strongest. That wasn’t Darwin’s thinking. The “fittest” in Darwinian terms is the one organism able to reproduce most successfully.

The yeast that is most able to reproduce will be predominant. However, other yeast will be present, contributing to fermentation and when conditions favour their reproductive cycle, they will flourish. As conditions in the ferment change so does the opportunity for different yeast to flourish change.

Until resources are depleted yeast will largely coexist and contribute to fermentation. Once resources are depleted…. The ferment is done! Time to distil!

Old school moonshiners didn’t even pitch yeast! They just produced a mash and exposed it to wild yeast present in nature. And that was not ONE yeast type.


The misconception of enzymes stopping at a certain temp is from the beer world and is due to mashing out/boiling the wort. This is why unboiled wort ferments out drier, as the enzymes are able to keep working.

Different enzymes will convert different things so that yeast can process them. Yes you can have multiple yeasts in the same ferment but typically the stronger one will process the available resources first
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Re: First all barley adventure

Postby Dancing4dan » Fri Oct 01, 2021 1:03 am

This fermented dry in three days. That was pretty quick. Looked like it was boiling for first two days.

I pulled the BIAB and did a steam stripping run to get a total of 4.5 gallons of low wines from 15 gallons. Stripping stopped when output was hitting 8% ABV on the refractometer. First gallon was 50%.

Would be able to recover more if I kept grain in while steam stripping but I don’t have a way to dispose of Backset with grain at this time. So the grain gets pulled before steaming. Not sure a BIAB would stand up to steam or if it would leach some chemical. Nylon bag.

Hopefully will get the spirit run in this weekend.

The smoked malt / black malt made an interesting flavour. Product from spirit run will likely be send to blend additional flavour into other batches.
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Re: First all barley adventure

Postby bluc » Fri Oct 01, 2021 1:21 pm

Very nice :handgestures-thumbupleft:
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Re: First all barley adventure

Postby Wellsy » Fri Oct 01, 2021 5:46 pm

3 Days, how Fantastic is that. 2 batches a week with a day of drinking thrown is as well, got to love that.

Be careful mate, Australia just announced travel bans are lifted next month you might be getting a few visitors to sample your efforts. A lot of us will be following your example as we head into the warmer months
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Re: First all barley adventure

Postby RuddyCrazy » Fri Oct 01, 2021 6:34 pm

yea just been upto my shed and my second generation is just about finished, :scared-eek: checked the SG with my refractometer last weekend and 1085 was the starting SG and on checking today it's down to 1003 :scared-eek: but as normal I will leave it a week so the grains settle as I have to get that Quince ferment done to clear the space around my boiler.
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Re: First all barley adventure

Postby Dancing4dan » Tue Oct 26, 2021 2:02 pm

Thought I should give some follow up info on this post.

Fermented on grain. Removed grain prior to distilling. Used the boiler to steam strip. The low wines came out amber with a pretty strong aroma of smoke and … something else. :-| Possibly from the black malt? Or the wood smoked malt. While the low wines were sitting I noticed a some black residue forming and the amber colour significantly decreased. Also some white cloudy residue. I filtered it all through coffee filters. It all cleared up except one 1/2 gallon. The last that came off the strip run.

Anyways I finally got the spirit run done today. Actually redone. I built a new 2” X 45” copper stuffed column a while ago. Made the mistake of adding my sight glass with ceramic rings below the column. Used a short section of SS with a plate full of holes to retain the ceramic rings. Was a bad idea! Flooded column! The SS section with plate didn’t allow drain back to pot to occur. Seriously smeared heads and tails. :oops: :oops:

It all went back into the pot. Minus the initial 600 cc of Fors and heads that came off before flooding started on the first run attempt.

Reran it all again today through the copper packed column minus the rushing rings and offending SS siv plate section. Produced 750cc heads, 5.75 L @ 170 proof heads and 1 L tails @ 160 proof. After the tails came along I stripped 1 L sweet water. I tried for a second but it is real bitter.

Things learned… 1) Rehydrate yeast with water not mash. The violent ferment was likely a result of over pitching and rehydrating with sweet wash… I think. 2) when doing the stripping run it foamed and puked. Thumper was to full and was driving it to fast.
3) don’t use one of these to retain ceramic rings! Serious choke point! 4) 1/4 inch cotton rope makes pretty good column insulation. :handgestures-thumbupleft:
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Re: First all barley adventure

Postby bluc » Tue Oct 26, 2021 3:24 pm

What was the raching section for?
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Re: First all barley adventure

Postby RC Al » Tue Oct 26, 2021 7:00 pm

In my limited experience, if your distillate isnt clear, something's very wrong, even when stripping.

I have scorched a bunch of stuff trying to one step steam all grain to finnished product via 3 plates, lots of scorching, i daresay thats what you have :?
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Re: First all barley adventure

Postby bluc » Tue Oct 26, 2021 7:31 pm

:text-+1: puke or scorch..
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Re: First all barley adventure

Postby Dancing4dan » Tue Oct 26, 2021 10:46 pm

No way it could scorch using only steam to heat during stripping. It was real foamy during strip run as evidenced by the residue in pot lid and lower column. The thumper was overfilled and it foamed and puked. A puke on stripping run goes not concern me to much since it gets cleaned up with spirit run still.

The end product is clean and clear AFTER the spirit run.

Raching ring section was an attempt to gain more reflux during the initial spirit run.

Raching rings were removed and distillate was put back into the spirit still and redistilled after the column started to flood.

In the end it is some nice white dog. Just took a few turns getting there.
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Re: First all barley adventure

Postby bluc » Wed Oct 27, 2021 8:48 am

Nice :handgestures-thumbupleft:
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