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Jun 08, 2022 View:

Stripping run agititation

Hello everyone,

Finally getting to do some test batches for 100% barely mash. Mashing and fermentation is going very well.

When I am getting to the stripping run however, I believe I am experiencing some issues with scorching the grain (on the grain distilling). I even finished the spirit and the taste was very good except for a off burnt smell that I believe is contributed by scorching during the stripping run.

1. Is it possible that even though the grain isn't burning, it will darken and 'roast' during distillation, possibly causing off smell?

2. at what volume of distillation would you recommend agitation?

Currently I am distilling with a 26gallon mile high flute with blichman burner. System is working great other than this smell I cant decide if I need to splurge on an agitator!!! Doing appx 20 gallon text batches.

any help appreciated



get an agitator. barley is not usually done on grain, corn and rye or often done so. you could try lautering the barley and stripping from a wash, which would not require the agitator.


Some additional cooking will happen when using a mash and is the qualitative difference between running a mash or a wash through your still. Obviously the burned notes are to be avoided, but more appealing cooked notes are a reason for the mash vs wash debate. There's a lot more to that one and plenty of good discussion elsewhere on the forums.

We use steam, rather than direct fire, so that may be why we have been getting away without agitation on our mashes. Even with that advantage, we have gotten in trouble a couple of times when we let the grain settle and put more than usual into one pot or the other. If all else fails, watering down your mash may help?


Ok, good to know. Our final mash bills will by no means be 100% barley that is just what we were using for testing out the equipment since it was what I had on hand that was malted.


That is interesting RobertS, and I have read similar discussions. Definitely a lot to be said for mash vs wash but yes the burnt notes are something no one wants. I think i'm going to go to a mixed mash bill this week and cut down the barley. I will also try to agitate for the stripping run. I want to maintain on the grain technique since my larger mash tun us unable to lauter.

Thanks guys, any more ideas are still appreciated!


If you are direct firing,  you could look into making a water bath which will give a more even heating pattern.  My wash still (under construction) will be direct gas fired, with an ATEX certified agitator.  Although we are not running steam to begin, I had steam coils fitted so we could do steam, gas or combo (Springbank style) in the future.


We have been stripping bourbon and corn whiskey and using the agitator is 100% required or we will scorch the distillate. I will say, scorched distillate is one of the most revolting flavors I have ever tasted, so revolting it was almost interesting. Anyway, on the grain I think you HAVE to agitate, otherwise, you will have lauter.