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Uncle Jessie's Sour Mash

If you made it and you liked it, please share. Questions about the recipes are welcome. Modifications should be placed in seperate topics.

Uncle Jessie's Sour Mash

Postby pintoshine » Tue Nov 29, 2011 7:43 pm

I failed to see this one and would like some new fellows to be able to use it.
Originally from
http://homedistiller.org/forum/viewtopi ... 9681#p9681
This is so simple hate to see it omitted.


This method was originally taken from J.W. Walstad's book Simple Sour Mash to Simple Alcohol Fuel! and has been modified according to my experiences.

This method is the most inexpensive I have found for producing Corn Whiskey. It is perfect for beginners because it does not rely on skill for mashing and does not require any cooking which greatly reduces the hassles and expenses.

I used this method for years until I mastered the processes involved in creating a quality sour mash whiskey, at which point I moved on to cooked mashes and more advanced efforts.
Ingredients

For a 5 gallon mash: (~19 liters)
5 gallons soft, filtered water.
7 lbs (3.2kg) cracked corn. 6-8 pieces/kernel is the proper crack. If using bird feed, make sure it is perishable, or in other words is free of preservatives.
7 lbs (3.2kg) of granulated sugar.
1 tbsp yeast (distillers yeast if available.)


Theory

Unlike a cooked mash, a simple mash does not rely on grains for starch. The corn is included for a bit of alcohol, but mainly for flavor while the sugar provides the alcohol. The conversion of starches to sugars is a natural process, accelerated by cooking. An uncooked mash will convert starches to sugars but much more slowly and less efficiently. Your added sugar will ferment rather easily and will provide most of the alcohol in your beer.

Your first distillation run will be a "sweet" run since you will not have any backset to use for sour mashing. I recommend using the spirits you collect in your first run as feints for the next run. Yes, all of them. Your second run will produce your first batch of sour mash, which will be good, but in truth the flavour and consistency will not start to reach their peak until the third or fourth run in my experience.

Practice, practice, practice!


First Fermentation

Put your ingredients into the fermenter in the order listed and close it. You should start to see fermentation of the sugar within 12 hours. It should take 3 or 4 days for the ebullition to end. Siphon your beer out of the fermenter with a racking cane and charge your still.

Siphoning is the best method because it allows you to pull the beer off the top of your lees, leaving them undisturbed. You do not want suspended solids in your still and this method works quite well in keeping the lees at the bottom of your fermenter.

At this point you need to make your first decision. How much backset will you use in your subsequent mashes? The legal minimum for a sour mash is 25%. I do not like to go above 50% in my experience. For the sake of simplicity, let's say you will start with 25% backset. This means that for a 5 gallon mash you will use 1-1/4 gallons (~4.75 liters) of backset and 3-3/4 gallons (~14.25 liters) of water.

Since you will be running your still for hours, you do not want to leave the fermenter empty. Put your 3-3/4 gallons of water back into the fermenter so your yeast won't die while you distill. While you're at it, this is a perfect time to scoop the spent corn off the top and replace with an equal volume of newly cracked corn. Later we'll add the 1-1/4 gallons of backset and 7 more pounds of granulated sugar.


Basics of Pot Distillation

There are two basic types of pot distillation:

The first involves a traditional pot still, which has no cooling in the neck or column. The distillate produced is lower in proof than that produced by a reflux still with a fractionating or splitting column. This is the traditional method of distillation and requires multiple runs. The distiller will save up enough low wines from the first runs or stripping runs to fill the still for a second run. If a triple distillation is desired, the product from second distillations are collected until enough spirit is saved to fill the still for the third spirit run, and so on.

The second type of pot distillation is performed in a reflux still equipped such that the column can be cooled during distillation. This type of still is far more efficient and can produce a high proof, high quality spirit in a single run.


First Run

Pot distill your wash, being careful to keep things running slowly. For beginners, 2-3 drops of distillate exiting the worm every second is just about the perfect speed. As you collect, periodically put 4-5 drops of distillate into a spoon with an equal amount of water and sip it. You will learn to identify the off-taste of the heads very quickly.

For your first run it is best to take very conservative cuts. I recommend very generic whiskey cuts, say 80% down to 70%. As your skills improve you will be able to go deeper into your cuts, tasting periodically for the off-taste of the tails. Once you learn to identify the off-tastes of the heads and tails you will be able to make proper cuts without the use of a hydrometer, a big step toward becoming a competent distiller.

By law any spirits collected above 80% cannot be called whiskey because they are considered too "light" or neutral. In other words, they are too high in proof and thus do not properly imbue the spirit with the flavour of the grain mash. I use anything collected above 80% as feints for the next run. For more information on the legal definitions for whiskies and other spirits check out Title 27 of the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations.

Remember to discard the first 150ml or 5 fluid ounces collected so you don't get any methanol build up over time and batches.


Second Fermentation

Your fermenter should now contain 3-3/4 gallons of water, your old yeast (barm) and your old corn.

Take 1-1/4 gallons of backset from your previous distillation and add to it another 7 pounds of granulated sugar. This will dissolve the sugar rather easily. Hot backset directly from the still works better at dissolving sugar, but adding hot backset to your fermenter will kill your yeast, so allow the backset to cool if you use this method.

Next, add this mixture of sugar and cooled backset to your fermenter, which already contains 3-3/4 gallons of water. This will bring your total beer volume back to 5 gallons.

Now is the time to make sure you have removed and replaced any spent corn kernels, which float to the top of the fermenter. You only need to do this if you plan on a continual ferment, that is, past 7 or 8 fermentations at which point your corn would otherwise be expended.

Cover the fermenter and let it ferment for another 3-4 days or until the ebullition ends.

Congratulations, if you have done everything properly you are now ready to run your first sour mash!


Second Run

Siphon off your beer and charge your still. Again, replace 3-3/4 gallons of water into your fermenter so your yeast doesn't die while you distill.

Distill your whiskey in the same manner you did during your first run, being conservative with your cuts until you gain more skill. Anything collected under 80% ABV on this run is considered a Sour Mash whiskey. Congratulations! This spirit is a palatable moonshine when collected directly out of the still.

Collect your run down to your stopping point. Again, I recommend 70% ABV for beginners, perhaps a few degrees into the 60's if you are bold. Save all of the spirit run as good sippin' whiskey.

Most moonshiners keep running their stills long after they are finished with the spirit run, collecting down to about 20% ABV before stopping. Together, the heads and tails are reused as feints. I do not normally go as low as 20%, you'll have to find your comfort zone. If you start to get blue or green flecks in your spirit, you've gone too far or run things too hot.


Repeat the Process

After your run, collect 1-1/4 gallons of backset to return to the fermenter for your next batch. Repeat the process starting at the Second Fermentation.

You are now producing a simple sour mash whiskey and with practice you will be able to produce a very high quality moonshine. Age this whiskey in an uncharred oak barrel to produce a traditional Tennessee-style whiskey.


Safety first, Duke boys. Have fun!



So, for 40l wash. Recipe goes like this.

7kg cracked feed corn,
7kg raw or white sugar (I like raw)
Dissolve sugar in hot water, then add enough cold water to make 40 l total.


Strip in potstill discarding 100ml of foreshots down to 20%. Save the strip. While the drum is empty, scrape off 1/3rd of a bucket of corn and add 1/3rd of a bucket of new corn.
Add some water (20l or so) to the yeast bed so you don’t burn the yeast next step.

Use 10l of hot slops (backset from the still run) to dissolve 7 more kg of sugar, stir it up and add to the drum. Add water to bring it up to the level it was before.

Watch it ferment and strip again and again.

When you have 40l of strip saved up, do a slow spirit run in the potstill making careful cuts. Age it on toasted oak sticks.
Distill safe. Make good cuts. Enjoy yourself. Give as much as you take. Have fun doing this incredibly hard work. Be a good example. It's your hobby.
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Re: Uncle Jessie's Sour Mash

Postby tgell001 » Thu Feb 02, 2012 1:43 pm

This is such a great and widely used recipe I think it would be great if people posted their various methods that they've used to flavor/finish. I'm curious myself at what people have done with success.
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Re: Uncle Jessie's Sour Mash

Postby punkin » Thu Feb 02, 2012 1:50 pm

I've used it as a base for Apple Pie, Punkins Muck and Grunne Nuisse.

As far as finnishing i used to use a teaspoon of maple syrup per litre until i figured out how to oak properly. Now i just use oak.
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Re: Uncle Jessie's Sour Mash

Postby pintoshine » Thu Feb 02, 2012 6:39 pm

I just drink it at about 100 proof.
Distill safe. Make good cuts. Enjoy yourself. Give as much as you take. Have fun doing this incredibly hard work. Be a good example. It's your hobby.
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Re: Uncle Jessie's Sour Mash

Postby Swede » Thu Feb 02, 2012 6:51 pm

tgell001 wrote:This is such a great and widely used recipe I think it would be great if people posted their various methods that they've used to flavor/finish. I'm curious myself at what people have done with success.


I've come to really like it the way I do it.

Single run on the bubble cap column. Cut's are dead easy with the column, as heads are very compressed, and hearts last forever. Once tails show up, it's game over, and there's very little alcohol left in the boiler by the time this happens.

Take a good hearts cut (I'm not greedy) and cut it to barrel strength (~65%abv) and put on charred maple sticks in a carboy. It sits on the charred maple for 2-4 weeks total, then into a charred oak barrel. I top up the barrel as it empties, so it's a mini solara method as such.

This method lends a VERY smooth spirit with a pleasant sweet note from the maple that's missing in spirits that are only oaked.

The bubble tray still is a big player here to due fact that there is an abundance of flavor yet very clean cuts. The skill level, and equipment used by the distiller are equally important IMO. Before building a column, I made damn fine UJ, but at the risk of sounding like a snob, it got alot better when my equipment improved. There is no doubt about it, you just cant compress and remove heads with a potstill like you can on these plated columns.

To make good whiskey you need, in this order;

1. Distillation skill
2. Aging technique
3. Equipment sophistication
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Re: Uncle Jessie's Sour Mash

Postby djc » Mon Feb 06, 2012 6:07 pm

How much charred maple are you using per gallon?
Sounds interesting, I'm going to give the maple a go before oaking.

Thanks
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Re: Uncle Jessie's Sour Mash

Postby tgell001 » Wed Feb 08, 2012 5:24 pm

Good question, I used like a half a handfull in a quart and I think its probably too much. 24hrs in its darker than I wanted haha. Oh well, ill mix that one with coke haha
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Re: Uncle Jessie's Sour Mash

Postby Swede » Wed Feb 08, 2012 8:42 pm

djc wrote:How much charred maple are you using per gallon?
Sounds interesting, I'm going to give the maple a go before oaking.

Thanks


tgell001 wrote:Good question, I used like a half a handfull in a quart and I think its probably too much. 24hrs in its darker than I wanted haha. Oh well, ill mix that one with coke haha


I outlined it here... hope this helps

viewtopic.php?f=10&t=5752&p=83635#p83635
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Re: Uncle Jessie's Sour Mash

Postby Texas Jim » Tue Feb 14, 2012 10:28 pm

How does the taste of a UJSSM compare to an all-corn whiskey?
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Re: Uncle Jessie's Sour Mash

Postby pintoshine » Tue Feb 14, 2012 10:41 pm

it is lighter, hotter, and a bit cidery because of the sugar. With good cuts it is great straight up or mixed. It suffers a thinness. It is the best representation of modern sugar shine though.
For a true white dog you are going to need several generations of corn mash. Bourbon mash is at least 51% corn, some rye or wheat and about 10 to 12% malted barley.
With good mashing, careful attention to ph, temperature, calcium and mash thickness it can be done quite well.
I have a high starch white corn I am currently struggling with. It is difficult to nail down. it has way more starch than I am used to. I'll get it tomorrow though.
Distill safe. Make good cuts. Enjoy yourself. Give as much as you take. Have fun doing this incredibly hard work. Be a good example. It's your hobby.
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Re: Uncle Jessie's Sour Mash

Postby sammybear » Sat Mar 31, 2012 11:30 pm

As we are dealing with un-converted grains (by this i mean it was not brought to a boil, so not streilized), I'm curious how and if you santized/clean the corn, or do you just throw the corn in after a light rinse?
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Re: Uncle Jessie's Sour Mash

Postby mort4 » Sun Apr 01, 2012 10:47 am

My method is to melt the sugar in the hot backset in a big pot with a bit of heat under if necessary to keep the temperature up,@ 170F, then dump the grain into that.Then I dump that mixture into the fermenter which has had cold water added already. With the right proportions, it comes out at a good temp for the yeast to take right off.
Once in a while you get shown the light in the strangest of places if you look at it right
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Re: Uncle Jessie's Sour Mash

Postby Stilly » Sun Apr 01, 2012 8:04 pm

Two things I do to improve (IMO) the recipe. When I do my spirit run, I dilute the low wines to 28% using fresh wash. This fresh wash had the corn cooked in a pressure cooker, which really brings out the corn taste. The other variation I do is to use rye from the feed store and pressure cook it also and throw in spirit run, or do the whole series of runs making up my final product using rye. When I use a lot of rye I don't bother with backset, I get lots of good flavor from the rye. The rye is more expensive than corn, but it is my favorite sugar wash and the few who get to share my work enjoy it.

I age the rye 6 months or toasted oak cubes. The corn a few months longer and reload oak cubes after a few months. The Rye white is awesome.

cheers
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Re: Uncle Jessie's Sour Mash

Postby Fritz The Cat » Thu Jun 14, 2012 7:23 pm

Got a couple of questions about scooping the spent corn off the top.

1. Off the top of what? Will it be floating on the surface or are we talking about the top layer at the bottom of the fermenter?

2. How can you tell the corn is "spent"?

Thanks
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Re: Uncle Jessie's Sour Mash

Postby bentstick » Thu Jun 14, 2012 8:13 pm

Some spent grains will float, osome crap in the grains will float! After you rack off your ferment the grains at bottom is what ya take spent grain off. I also find every other or every two ferments taking off grains seems to work fine.
It is what you make it
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