38137Adventures in sour mash
- Jan 1, 2007So, roughly following Ian Smiley's sour mash process, I'm working on a peated
malt sour mash whisk(e)y. Of course, in my typical
mad-scientist-figure-it-out-as-I-go-who-needs-to-take-notes fashion, I'll
attempt a recap of the festivities thusfar.
note: this is being performed in a 5 gallon bucket
One...had some hulled barley that I got in bulk at the organic market
($0.45/lb attracted my inner cheapskate) which I ground with SWMBO's coffee
mill (already conceded to owing her a new one).
Two...mashed the raw barley with some 6-row malt. Totally neglected the
Three...when the mash was cool, added water and some peated 2-row and mixed
it all up good and sloshy (for aeration) and let 'er sit for a week or so.
Four...skimmed some floaties (per Smiley, floaty=spent grain) and let it
continue to work, adding a pound of peated malt somewhere in there.
Five...after the grains (considering the grains occupy 3/4+ of the bucket's
volume, I can't really call it "trub") settled, all the floaties have been
skimmed, and the liquid portion appears to look like it's clarifying, I rack
the liquid off the grains into a separate bucket with a spigot.
Six...replace the liquid volume with clean water, and add some  6-row malt,
and stir madly (more O2, more mixy goodness, and trying to maximize
Seven...repeat four and five until the second bucket is filled.
Eight...when bucket #2 is full, run its contents through a stripping run. When
done, and backset is cool enough, replace the liquid volume from the last
racking with backset and some more peated malt. Keep remaining backset in a
Nine...repeat four and five again, with liquid replacement step alternating
between water and backset. One of these days, it might be worthwhile testing
the pH, yanno?
Ten...repeat eight and nine...
So, I just finished my third stripping run. I'm obviously getting impatient.
A 4 gallon stripping run yielded about 1 1/2 L where it should have been 2+
Personal notes...I need to keep track of the mash and either time the rackings
specifically, or possibly do an iodine test to confirm when all the starches
have converted. I would consider that the yeast would work about as fast as
the starches can be converted (ambient temp between 66 and 72) so no starch
would equal no sugars/max ethanol. Second, replenish spent grains in a more
controlled manner...like, oh, I dunno...measuring :)
 I think it was somewhere around 4-5 lb
 perhaps about a pound
 I think it was 1 1/2 lb
 whatever was left in the bag...no clue at all how much a pound, maybe 2???
Anyway, over the course of the experiment thusfar, I have about 2 gallons of
low wines. I'm on the fence right now if I want to run them all in a polishing
run and save the feints for the next round of low wines, or if I want to do one
to 1 1/2 gallons and then add the feints to the remaining low wines and polish
-will keep you posted...feel free to add any feedback
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