Water To Maize Mix Ratio

edited August 16 in General

Was curious for those distilling using malt for whiskeys etc. as to what your mix of water to malt is. What ratios are you using or rather is considered ideal for when preparing distilling mashes.

In addition sparging water, what volumes and ratios are you using.

Below is one of my mixes for when brewing beer, where I use 3.6L water for every Kg of malt.

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Comments

  • I did some research on this a while ago and there are some posts on this on the ADI forums. Most guys are around 0.25kg/litre and your at 0.27. I vary between .22kg and 0.25. Over 0.3 there is a lot of grain in the fermenter but you will get between 8 to 10% ABV on the beer.

  • edited August 16

    Last malt I did was 3.7l/kg, so fairly close. Mashed on Friday. I thought the 30% peated malt was a bit light on the peat, so I mashed again at 60% peated with the intention of blending the barrels.

    Hammer milled malt, fermented and distilled on grain, so I suspect my efficiencies might be higher.

    2000 liters through the still yields me a 53 gallon barrel.

  • edited August 17

    Many thanks for the info @donmateo and @grim.

    @grim, I am curious of your total water at 3.7L/kg. Would it for the still volume of 2,000L (fermented volume) have come to something like 2,260L water and 248kg malt as below ??

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  • 450 kg malt and ~1700 liters water to 2000 liters total volume.

    Everything in the drink, no lauter, no sparge.

  • @richard. I am not in commercial operation but i am building up stock so to speak. I mash in 200l fermenters but i have 8 of them. I only have a 200l boiler but my tank guy is mak8ng me a thousand litre boiler. Your mashing ratios are spot on as the malt will soak up about 10% of the volume of liquid and its hard to get out. I havent done a lot of large ferments in the last 2 years but i have done about 180 x 200l ferments. I would guess that makes me more than a hobbyist!

  • @grim thanks. It's interesting for me to see different ways of doing it without sparge. The obvious result is an end higher ABV with the quantity of malt used.

    @donmateo thanks. I think the big issue is to look at in two different ways ... making normal beer and then a fermented wash for distilling.

  • @richard. I completely agree. I make a fermented wash for distilling. When beer guys come over and look at my open top fermenters, with a lid but only to keep the flies out, they normally almost have a heart attack because its so different from making beer.

  • edited August 17

    Look, I realize I do everything in a way that's almost completely opposite to malt whiskey production traditionally.

    Grim - Scotland

    Hammer Mill to Flour - Roller Mill as grist with husk in tact

    No Lauter - Lauter

    Ferment On Grain (including husk) - Ferment Clear Wash

    Temperature controlled fermenters - Uncontrolled washbacks.

    Distill On Grain (including husk) - Distill Wash w. Lees

    Distill single pass column - Double pot still

    I do tend to use UK sourced malt though, Bairds. And I use what would be considered a traditional whiskey yeast, Mauri Blue.

    You don't need to believe me, but my method produces delicious whiskey. If I can vary that dramatically in nearly every process step and still yield a fantastic product, perhaps the process differences are not as dramatic as one would expect.

  • edited August 17

    In terms of biggest impacts I've ever seen in this process.

    European malt vs. US/Canadian malt - this is especially so for malts produced for distillers.

    Bairds distilling malt was probably the single biggest flavor impact I noticed. I attribute this to European distilling malts being far lower in protein. This should not be confused with US/Can Distillers Malt - which is grown for high enzyme content, and an entirely different animal. The peated malts I believe are grown and malted in Inverness.

    The flavor profile is wildly different from 100% North American pale malt, far lower congeners (due to the higher protein/aminos). Very, very clean distillate requiring far smaller heads/tails cuts on the plated still.

    Very, very traditional malt whiskey flavor profile. I really don't feel that North America malts produced that same traditional flavor.

    So much so, I won't ever use another base malt again for a malt whiskey. This was very very close, but the Bairds was better:

    Pot Still Malt @ Canada Malting Co. Limited

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