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Jun 08, 2022 View:

On The Grain Newbie

Hey guys,

Been distilling for about a year and a half on a hillbilly still, w flute, and 5500 watt direct heating element.

Last week I ventured into "on the grain" for the first time.

Amazing fermentation results, much easier mashing, only problem is I have now scorched 2 mashes and I am at a loss.

I read through as many forums as I can here, and I found one user who claims Rye needs a much more substantial beta-glucanase break to avoid scorching in a mash. Is that my problem? Also, yes, I brought it up real real slow and agitated as much as I could without being on it constantly for 2 hours.

100% rye mash with 95% BSG toasted rye, and 5% BSG rye malt. 2 step mash infusion at 158 and 140. Ground the grains down to an extra course flower, maybe 1/32".



Sorry, its never going to work.  You need indirect heat for grain in.


Are you running full power once at temp and are you agitating continuously ??




We have some small inexpensive jacketed bain marie stills were you can run oil or water in the jacket with your 5500 watt element in the jacket and you will never have to worry about scorching again.  [email protected]  We have them in 6, 10, 20 gallon and larger operating capacities. 417-778-6100




Is it a really nasty burn or a light scorch? I know peated whiskies are not so popular in US but a light scorch can be a pleasant alternative to using peat.

Also only 5% malt, that may be a bit light on to get full conversion,


With 5.5kw, I imagine you are running something around 15 gallons size.

You can filter your wash through a paint strainer bag from home depot.  Let your wash settle a day, pour off the bulk, then pour the rest through the strainer bag and give it a good squeeze.  You'll lose some yield, increase your ferment size by 5-10 gallons so you still yield a full still run.

A good portion of the on-grain flavor is coming from distilling the wash with the yeast.

Yes, you are losing yield, but at that scale it's inconsequential, just ferment more to make up for it.


I used to have a very similar set up and the scorch is 110% a result of the electric coil. 

When people ask me about small sale distilling, I always recommend using a grain out procedure when the heating source is either an electric coil or direct fire burner. I even spent hours building a custom agitator for my 100L electric still and was still left with a scorching flavour. 

Only with a jacketed pot can you achieve non-scorched grain in distillation. 

Hope this helps, 


Reply:11 hours ago, Greenfield said:
Reply:18 hours ago, richard1 said:
Reply:13 hours ago, PeteB said:
Reply:13 hours ago, Silk City Distillers said:

You won't be able to strain the yeast out with a strainer bag, your beer will be fairly milky.  You'll see when you squeeze out the grain, it runs like milk.

I reiterate, the flavor contribution of on-grain has more to do with the inclusion of yeast than the bulk grain solids remaining in the wash.  The inclusion of bulk grain has more to do with total yield and batch efficiency, than it does flavor.   Yes, there is some cross-over back and forth, the grain does contribute to flavor, just not as substantially as the yeast.

If you separate the grain post-fermentation, and allow the yeast to fall out of suspension to the bottom, and then distill the remaining clarified liquid, you'll get a significantly lighter flavored whiskey, similar to the style folks are getting when they distill "finished" out of date beer from a brewer.

Reply:15 hours ago, RicdeMont said:
Reply:3 hours ago, Silk City Distillers said:
Reply:17 hours ago, RicdeMont said: