Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Sprouting Corn For The Mash :: Distilling Part 2

Although I do not own a still, I decided that I need to start experimenting with some of the other steps so that when I do finally get a pot still, I will be fumbling around with a few less steps.

NOTE: I am getting closer- I have excellent plans which I downloaded from Artisan Distillers thanks to link I found at Home Distiller.

Some may have some anal first steps, my opinion is that the first step to producing your spirit is to is creating your beer, wine, or mash. I have a strange fascination with the idea of home-made Corn Whiskey and I not totally sure why. There is something that draws me to it; think that it's staunch Americanism and the and historical role make it the perfect spirit to try to perfect.... so why not start here.

In addition to the excellent resources on the Internet, I have purchased a couple books that have greatly helped me:
Making Pure Corn Whiskey: A Professional Guide For Amateur And Micro Distillers
The Alaskan Bootlegger's Bible

I read as much as I could, and although everyone said that malting corn was not such a difficult process, everyone had a different opinion on how to do it; even talking about the first few steps.

If you looks at my photos, you can see that I am seeing some success in sprouting the corn, Sprouting the corn is necessary to prepare the corn starches for conversion to sugars so that it can be fermented. I have decided to document and share what I have done thus far, and will continue to do so, for any other beginners out there.

If anything is unclear, feel free to ask. By the time Google picks this up, hopefully I will have done a couple more batches, and maybe even distilled a run or two, and will be happy to help.

Materials Needed:

Supplies Needed:
  • 900 Grams (2 pounds) of unreserved whole corn kernels
  • Water
  1. Rinse the corn and remove any floaters, chaff, or other things that look out of place.
  2. Place the corn in the bowl and cover with water about 2 inches above the corn
  3. Change the water every 10 to 12 hours, rinsing the corn thoroughly each time
  4. Repeat a total of 3 times (about 36 hours, I went 38). I noticed a earthy smell after the first rinse.
  5. Do a final 4th rinse and place the corn in the dish and even it out- avoid as much water as possible, but do not dry it. I had a little standing water in the bottom and feared mold, but thus far I have no problems. The corn was a little over an inch high in my dish.
  6. Cover it completely with a damp/moist wash cloth, pressing it right into the corn kernels, and place the dish by a window or some place where it gets a little sun and has a somewhat consistent temperature of 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
  7. Every 4 to 6 hours or so aerate the corn kernels by raking them with your fingers, trying to bring the ones from the bottom to the top. This was the key to preventing mold I think. The standing water evaporated after 12 hours.
  8. Keep the wash cloth damp. I had to moisten it every 12 hours.

After 24 hours I saw the sprouts starting, and the photos above are at 48 hours. I think I am at about 60%-70% sprouted, and they are continuing to spout. "They" say you need the majority of the sprouts to be 1.5 to 2 inches long, so I am thinking I have another couple days before milling the corn. I will keep you posted.

All this typing has made me thirsty... so while I have my drink, if you have been thinking about experimenting with corn mash, get out there and do it.