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Best AG Whiskey Grain Bill and Mashing Technique

This is for the "What in the world is that?" category. You have something different, something odd or just putting things together in a different way?. Tell us about it and let us comment, laugh, or puke....

Best AG Whiskey Grain Bill and Mashing Technique

Postby okie » Fri Mar 09, 2018 7:05 pm

I have only mashed all single malt before and never worked with corn.
I have a request to make a few batches of whiskey to be used in an experiment and it has to be as close as I can to what the majors do. So no sugar, etc. and no sour mash.
I can buy flaked corn that's easier to mash or should i get cracked corn? I am thinking of corn 70% Wheat 14% Barley 16%
Please let me know if you make whiskey this way, what to expect.
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Re: Best AG Whiskey Grain Bill and Mashing Technique

Postby Zymurgy Bob » Fri Mar 09, 2018 7:51 pm

Does "what the majors do" include hi-temp enzymes. If so, I'd go that route in a heartbeat. If those enzymes are prohibited, I'd hafta think really hard about it.
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Re: Best AG Whiskey Grain Bill and Mashing Technique

Postby okie » Sun Mar 11, 2018 6:33 pm

I'm going to try flaked corn. Only 65% the rest malted grain. I hope that works. I'll do a small batck of 12 gallons first.
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Re: Best AG Whiskey Grain Bill and Mashing Technique

Postby Tdick » Sun Mar 11, 2018 7:23 pm

okie wrote:I have only mashed all single malt before and never worked with corn.
I can buy flaked corn that's easier to mash or should i get cracked corn? I am thinking of corn 70% Wheat 14% Barley 16%
Please let me know if you make whiskey this way, what to expect.

I read your post and replied "on another forum" but since it is something of a universal question, I thought I'd post it here as well but with a link to the recipe from another source:

This forum has been around so long and there are so many expert "hobbyists" that it's hard to find that "Best Practice" to follow. You just have to dig.

Here is what I did, as I've detailed before in Jimbo's Wheated Bourbon/Gumball Recipe:
You don't have to use wheat for your mashbill, I prefer it to rye even going more wheat than the Pappy mashbill (66/23/10).
And I liked using the Gumball to experiment for gin and even Fauxquila instead of just chucking the "spent" grain out.

For the corn, I used cracked corn I ran in the blender to shake it up a bit more, then borrowed from PintOShines video "Mashing 100% Corn with Enzymes".


I didn't have a BAP or Sherman's enzymes, so I just added Alpha Amalyse to 3 gallons warm water, added 20# corn and used drill/paint stirrer to 190 degrees.
It stayed thin the whole time. However, I am SURE that following his procedures and using the best enzymes would have been "more better".
This was my first AG and only my third "project" as well. I know I made a lot of mistakes, but at least ordering the right enzymes is my plan for the next AG.
I'm also thinking since I ran my corn through a blender anyway, I may buy whole kernel and malt it as well. I'm already malting wheat and barley so no big deal. (Since I don't know how effective my malting is, the enzymes help cover my "shortcomings".

When it got up to temp I poured it in my 48 qt cooler/tun and added to the top with boiling water, leaving room for the other grains.

Shut it up and let it steep overnight; it was still holding most of the heat.
Next day opened the cooler and let it cool to 155/68 and added 3# ground malted barley, then 7# ground malted wheat and when cooled, added bread yeast.
And per Jimbo, shut it up for 7 days
Jimbos Mash.jpg

then drained and sparged by topping it off again with very warm water and letting it sit overnight.

BTW I had a bazooka tube ordered for my mash tun. It had not arrived so I bought a pack of these stainless mesh lint traps at Home Depot ($3)rolled one up as tight as I could and stuck it into my valve with 3-4 inches sticking out.
Lint trap.jpg
Lint trap.jpg (23.18 KiB) Viewed 1130 times

Worked fine.
After that followed the recipe for the gumball adding invert sugar and warm water.
(I've read it's a waste of time to invert sugar. To me, just heating up water and sugar a little longer and adding some lemon. No big deal)

I certainly won't say my way is THE best, and it's what I've put together from more experienced hands here.
It's definitely a little more involved than a sugar wash - I even malted my own wheat and barley.
But I wouldn't call it all that difficult.
But maybe these are some ideas that will help you or someone else out a bit.
Good luck!
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Re: Best AG Whiskey Grain Bill and Mashing Technique

Postby Hilltop » Tue Mar 13, 2018 6:06 pm

okie wrote:I have only mashed all single malt before and never worked with corn.
I have a request to make a few batches of whiskey to be used in an experiment and it has to be as close as I can to what the majors do. So no sugar, etc. and no sour mash.
I can buy flaked corn that's easier to mash or should i get cracked corn? I am thinking of corn 70% Wheat 14% Barley 16%
Please let me know if you make whiskey this way, what to expect.


I have tried several combinations of grain and am currently experimenting with rice. My favorite is 70 lbs corn, 15 pounds ground Rye and 15 pounds ground oats.

I have dropped my steam wand and quit grinding my cracked corn. I am now using the oven. Two 5 gallon pots will fit in my oven with the door slightly open. I fill 1/3 of each pot in my cracked corn grain mixture and then fill the pot up to 3/4 with water. I set the temp on 250 for 1 and a half hour then 30 minutes on 300. Once the corn is swoll up to the 3/4 mark she's done.

I do this 4 times and don't stir nothing. It literally slides out of the pot, with little mess to clean. Once I have my grain cooked I add it in my barrel and cover with water. I then add 3 teaspoons of citric acid or a quart or so of backset. I'm looking to drop my ph to around 5.2.

I let it sit 4 days at room temp or until I smell it souring this is usually 4 to 7 days.

I heat my enzyme strike temp water to boiling about 10 gallons. Once it's at a rolling boil I dump both pots into the barrel. When temp hits 160 I add the powdered Alpha Amalaze.

I cover the barrel with a blanket and wait till morning . She's usually 80 by morning. I then add two cups oyster shell, gluco Amalaze and Distillers yeast.

On day 2, I use to check ph, now I know to just add two more cups of oyster shell and add it slowly. One day 5 I add some sugar as I have found at the end it doesn't affect my all grain taste. I add 15 pounds. Omit it if you want but I like the extra yield.

Oven cooking that cracked corn really gives me a much better conversion. No more grinding corn for me! I can do the rye and oats in my house blender pretty quick.

Straining this is also a breeze and weighed heavily on my decision.

I have 80 pounds of medium grain rice going now with 12 pounds wheat and 12 pounds oats. Rice works great in the oven also.

Even with steam I had to stir alot. Now I pop it in the oven, watch Gunsmoke and drink a shot of aged while that Damn oven does all the work. I have also found a oven on 250 uses far less money than propane.

My conversions are the best I have ever had, cleanup is a breeze and my poor drill is happy. Sour Mash is different than my method. Actually souring the corn in the barrel for 4 days makes some good whisky!

I can't wait to try the rice. It's something I never have fooled with. The gluco just seems to keep going and going with rice. 3/4 of the grain bed is gone! It literally pulverized the rice.

Here's a few things I learned with all grain. Wheat makes a sweet taste. Oats make a grainy taste that I like and Rye adds a spicy smoothness that I can't quite explain. All Whisky should have at least 5 pounds of Rye in my opinion.

Your looking to balance out your liquer. Corn has a bite to it. Rye, oats and wheat make it way better. I have never seen any Barley in my area so I have never had the pleasure of using it. I used to use Wheat malt, which works as good as barley at conversion. Now i just use powdered enzymes, it works better and is cheap.

Cut you some small white oak trees and cut them in pieces about 3 inches long and char them black on your grill. Add 3 sticks to each jar and about 3 spoonfuls of long grain rice. Set in sunny spot for about a week or until you get a good gold color. Strain off wood, Age 5 weeks strain off rice.

Most internet oak does not have the heart of the tree in it and for that reason i make my own. The heart imparts something else into the liqueur that internet or brew shop oak doesn't have.

I use a type of post oak in the white oak family that has long slender acorns. PEOPLE who taste my liqueur always say it has a good smooth taste. They are shocked to learn it's only roughly a month old.

Screw the barrels they take too long and this method imparts a much better flavor.
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Re: Best AG Whiskey Grain Bill and Mashing Technique

Postby Tdick » Mon Apr 02, 2018 6:53 pm

okie wrote:I have only mashed all single malt before and never worked with corn.
I have a request to make a few batches of whiskey to be used in an experiment and it has to be as close as I can to what the majors do. So no sugar, etc. and no sour mash.
I can buy flaked corn that's easier to mash or should i get cracked corn? I am thinking of corn 70% Wheat 14% Barley 16%
Please let me know if you make whiskey this way, what to expect.

Wanted to give you bump and see how your experiment was going.

We had overcast 60 weather and forecast 80 and sunny this week so I malted 10# wheat, 3 # barley to add to cracked corn this weekend.
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Re: Best AG Whiskey Grain Bill and Mashing Technique

Postby S-Cackalacky » Tue Apr 03, 2018 5:51 am

You'll probably get better conversion if you grind the cracked corn into a meal.
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Re: Best AG Whiskey Grain Bill and Mashing Technique

Postby Tdick » Tue Apr 03, 2018 12:17 pm

S-Cackalacky wrote:You'll probably get better conversion if you grind the cracked corn into a meal.

Absolutely.
Since it's a somewhat small batch, I use a Magic Bullet blender that's tough enough to use as a coffee/spice grinder.
Takes about 5 minutes to grind 20 pounds.
Jimbo has a GREAT disdain for cracked corn and uses corn meal.
I'll switch to that once I've used up this bag.
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Re: Best AG Whiskey Grain Bill and Mashing Technique

Postby okie » Wed Apr 25, 2018 11:12 pm

Followup on the flaked corn.
My first try was ok not as good as I wanted. I mixed all the grains together and added the water at a temp of 160 which cooled to 150/149 after mixing it in. This converted but the taste was a mild sweetness,

Second try was a home run. Corn only and 165 degree water, stirred covered and let it sit until it cooled to 154. It was thick and I had to add some 145 degree water before I could add the malted grains. The mash converted much better. A much sweeter taste and sg at 1.070.

Yield was twice as much on first run than first mash. Since that one I have completed a third. The striking temp can be even higher. This works very well.
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Re: Best AG Whiskey Grain Bill and Mashing Technique

Postby Copperhead road » Wed Apr 25, 2018 11:17 pm

S-Cackalacky wrote:You'll probably get better conversion if you grind the cracked corn into a meal.

+1 :arrow:
my pet is a CCSC copper flute, I feed it corn and it pisses likker like a pony....
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Re: Best AG Whiskey Grain Bill and Mashing Technique

Postby Zymurgy Bob » Thu Apr 26, 2018 9:29 am

Okie, if you're getting 1.070 with corn , you sure as hell aren't making any bad mistakes. That's good work.
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Re: Best AG Whiskey Grain Bill and Mashing Technique

Postby Pikey » Thu Apr 26, 2018 5:00 pm

okie wrote:Followup on the flaked corn.
My first try was ok not as good as I wanted. I mixed all the grains together and added the water at a temp of 160 which cooled to 150/149 after mixing it in. This converted but the taste was a mild sweetness,

Second try was a home run. Corn only and 165 degree water, stirred covered and let it sit until it cooled to 154. It was thick and I had to add some 145 degree water before I could add the malted grains. The mash converted much better. A much sweeter taste and sg at 1.070.

Yield was twice as much on first run than first mash. Since that one I have completed a third. The striking temp can be even higher. This works very well.


I'm impressed okie - was that done using the flaked corn ? - did you grind it at all, or just use it straight from the bag ?

I haven't done one yet, but I can get "Flaked Maize" easy enough at a sensible price - so I'm thinking to follow your lead here. Do you think there would be any advantage in holding it at 165 for a while ? I can't heat that amount of water to pour on all at once, so I'll be using my big boiler and I can heat the water then add the maize to the water, or heat the corn / water mix together - are there any disadvantages with either of these methods ? The boiler is a double boiler with a water bath outer heated electric.

PLease do keep us updated as to how this goes :8)
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Re: Best AG Whiskey Grain Bill and Mashing Technique

Postby okie » Thu May 03, 2018 9:24 am

Yes to holding at 165 for a while, it is going to open up the flaked so it swells and converts better. just, as you know, cool to below 150 before adding the malted grain. It will convert completely and be a nice fermentable mash. I will say it is a mess straining it. I had stainless screen first mash and it clogged as soon as the spatula went over it. That's why I got a brew in a bag. I can lift that out and squeeze it.

I just ran the spirit run yesterday and I have to say this is going to be way above store bought. Let it air out over night last night and today I'll choose what I'm aging. I collected 7 gallons of stripping runs. I want around 7 quarts and I'm sure I might exceed that.

I say, with the ease of using flaked corn/maize this is the easiest way to mash. My first mash I used a supplement to help the yeast and I didn't the next ones. I didn't find it was necessary after the second one. Just mash cool and toss the yeast.

On a foot note. I only have a Keg boiler and I ferment 2 6 gallon batches at a time. I get around 11 gallons in the keg each run. I did 4 total runs and proofed those runs to 25 ABV for the spirit run
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