M*A*S*Hing the grain.

There was a fair bit of ramp up to the bourbon batch, but not a whole lot has been said subsequently. I’ve been asked by a few people how it went, so I’m going to come right out and say it. It went very well. In fact, the whole run went very well, so it’ll be tough to stay on topic. However, stay we must.

I think that I mentioned that I was going to head out to Berwick Organics, an organic feed store between Ottawa and Montreal. I was very pleased with the cracked corn, and the people were absolutely fantastic. It was a great product at a great price. The only problem I have is that I currently own a dizzying amount of cracked corn with only one way to get through it all.

I procured the malt from the usual place (beergrains). They were excellent as always.

Here’s a sweet snapshot of the goods:



I made a few other changes since the infamous vodka run earlier this year. First, since it wasn’t miserably cold, I mashed outside using a turkey frying rig. I also bit the bullet and turned in my silly plastic spoon for a mash paddle. I’m not exaggerating when I say that the mash paddle was one of the best 35 bucks I ever spent. The long handle allowed me the leverage needed to stir the thick mash comfortably.

Here’s a shot of the turkey fryer:


I know it’s not terribly impressive, but it works. The mash came together gloriously. I followed the recipe almost exactly as documented on this website. I did, out of fear, add a tiny bit of amylase because the memory of the vodka was just too fresh. I honestly don’t think that it was strictly necessary, but I think I’d do it again. It didn’t hurt anything, and (as I finish this post some 7 months after I started it) the bottling went very well. The whiskey, having sat on charred oak for about 7 months turned out well.

Things that I learned from Grain Mashing:

  • Patience is key – it’s going to take a while to get the corn softened up.
  • Taste it – yeah, I know that we’re not talking about food grade corn, but if you don’t taste it, you won’t fully experience the process.
  • Use your senses – as the starch converts into fermentable sugars, the mash will start to thin. It’ll feel like stirring porridge up front, but as the enzymes set in, it’ll start to thin out, like soup.
  • I think I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again: don’t kill the enzymes (from malt or amylase…though I think the amylase is more robust) with heat. You need those little fellas.




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