Innovation: Mashing made easy!

Introduction

iSanta comes early this year, and he brings loads of innovations! In the coming weeks we’ll keep you posted on what’s new. Today, let’s start with what’s basically the first step in the alcohol production process: mashing. Spoiler alert: we are not just going to talk about mashing, but also introducing the all new iStill Masher! You know what? Let’s start with a picture of that amazing new machine …

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What is mashing?

Mashing is where we turn grain starch into fermentable sugars. We do so by heating-up water, adding the grains, and then adding enzymes (or malted barley) to help the starch to sugar conversion.

Steps and rests

Various steps can be distinguished, where various enzymes do their work. Most importantly:

  • Beta Amylase rest at 62c;
  • Alpha Amylase rest at 72c.

Depending on the grain bill and enzymes each rest can take 30 to 90 minutes. Sometimes additional steps are needed. Corn, for instance, needs much higher temperatures to give up its starch. This makes a boil or high temperature rest at 90c necessary.

When the enzymes have converted the starch into sugar, mashing is done. Before the next step in the alcohol production step can start – fermenting – the mash needs to be cooled down to 25-28c. A cool down is therefore always the last step of any mash process.

Two basic procedures

There are two basic mash procedures:

  1. Step-up mashing;
  2. Step-down mashing.

In a step-up procedure, water and grain is mixed and heated-up and taken through the various mash steps. Enzymes or malted barley (a grain with excess enzymes for starch to sugar conversion) are added along the way.

Basically, in a step-down mash, water is brought to the highest needed temperature (given the specific grain bill), grains and enzymes or malted barley are added, cooling the mash down and taking the process through its various steps and rests.

Step-up mashing is mostly used in the beer industry. Given that step-down mashing is easier, faster, and takes less energy, for the distilling industry most choose a step-down procedure.

What’s important in a masher or mash tun?

Given the above, what masher or mash tun do you need to buy? What’s important to consider? Let’s dive in deeper.

Mashing is a process. What process steps should your mash tun support? Well, mashing takes place at high temperatures, so heating efficiency is important.  And since different enzymes achieve conversion at different temperatures, so is control. Finally, because fermenting – the next step in the alcohol production process – takes place at much lower temperatures than mashing, cooling efficiency is important.

Functionally, it is the craft distiller that does the mashing. So how should the masher support you in your daily operation? Ease of operation for sure is important. The less time you spend mashing, the more time you can spend doing other stuff. And since no whiskey can be made without mashing, longevity is crucial too. Your mash tun needs to be build to last, so it will never become the weakest link in the production proces.

The iStill Masher

With the goal of making mashing easier, iStill now introduces next generation mashers. In 5,000 and 2,000 liter net capacity. Here is a picture of the 5,000 liter model:

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And here’s what makes them unique:

  1. Efficiency;
  2. Control;
  3. Ease of operation;
  4. Longevity.

Efficiency

Due to its compact design, unique indirect heaters, and insulation, the all new iStill Masher is the most efficient mash tun in the world. A 5,000 liter Bourbon mash costs 360 kWh. At 0.15 Euro or Dollar per kWh, the total costs of mashing are only EUR 54,- or USD 54,-. A single malt whisky mash uses only 240 kWh, which adds up to 36 Euro’s or Dollars.

A Bourbon mash in the iStill Masher 2000 costs 140 kWh, which translates to 21 Euro’s or Dollars. A single malt mash, which takes place at lower temperatures, uses 100 kWh and costs only 14 Euro’s or Dollars.

Both iStill Mashers come with the patented Jet Propulsion Agitator System (J-PAS). Together with the flush square boiler design, it helps limit shearing, which leads to better mixing efficiency, better particle distribution, and optimal heat distribution in your mash. The system counteracts vortex formation too, resulting in both higher fill grades and easier cleaning.

Control

With only 0.1 degree temperature tolerance, the new iStill mashers offer total and unmatched control over the starch to sugar conversion process. Here’s a mash tun that puts you in charge!

Up to 40 individual mash programs can be dialed in. Each program gives the craft distiller control over the number of mash steps (up to 9), the temperatures and power settings during those steps, how fast the agitator should mix, and how long the conversion rests should take.

Ease of operation

The iStill Mashers come fully automated. After you dial in your mash procedure, you just press “Start” and the machine does the mashing for you.

The iStill mashers are connected to the internet. This way you can remotely supervise and control your masher. It also allows us to upload new software or perform remote checks.

The iMasher has auto-start. This enables you to pre-heat your mash water and shave off a few hours of your workday.

Our masher comes with automated programs for Bourbon and single malt whisky mashing. You simply select the program and use our experience to help you mash.

The iStill Masher comes with two big manholes. One at the top (for grain filling) and one near the bottom (for easy access). The PLC is operated via a touch screen or via your smartphone or computer.

Another unique feature the new iStill Masher has, is the Easy Discharge Center. The unit sits, as it were, on stalks. This creates a high and easy access discharge exit. You can easily forklift a receiver/container under the actual boiler for easy cleaning and grain handling. Lastly, it has Easy Filling Connect. Just connect a hose to the connect and you can start filling your masher.

Longevity

Most mashers out there are made out of 1 or 2 mm thick steel. Since we feel mashing is an essential step to your production process, we decided to beef-up design specifications.

Our mashers use 3 to 5 mm thick stainless steel. They are build to last! The sides are insulated and the insulation is armored for heavy duty use.

The actual boiler is suspended in a strong, stainless steel skid. The skid acts as an exoskeleton that protects your mash tun, and that allows for side-by-side operation of multiple mashers and/or fermenters.

Specifications

iStill Masher 5000:

  • 5,000 liter net capacity;
  • Insulated flush square boiler design;
  • Weight: 1,000 kilo;
  • Sizes: 170x170x360 (wide, deep, high, in centimeters)
  • Power: 90 kW;
  • Heat-up time Bourbon mash: < 3 hours;
  • Heat-up time Single Malt Whisky mash: <2 hours;
  • Total mash time Bourbon: < 3 hours;
  • Total mash time Single Malt Whisky: <2 hours;
  • iStill Boiler Radiator for direct (instead of indirect) cooling;
  • Manholes: 40/60 cm diameter, one at top, one near bottom;
  • Supports grain as well as potato mashing;
  • Can be used as a cooker as well as a masher;
  • Patented indirect heater system;
  • PLC system and touch screen computer;
  • Automated mashing programs;
  • Internet connectivity, smartphone & computer management and control;
  • Easy Fill Connect and Easy Discharge Center;
  • J-PAS variable speed mixing technology;
  • Optional: WiFi.

iStill Masher 2000:

  • 2,000 liter net capacity;
  • Insulated flush square boiler design;
  • 650 kilo;
  • Sizes: 130x130x270 (wide, deep, high, in centimeters);
  • Power: 36 kW;
  • Heat-up time Bourbon mash: < 3 hours;
  • Heat-up time Single Malt Whisky mash: <2 hours;
  • Total mash time Bourbon: < 3 hours;
  • Total mash time Single Malt Whisky: <2 hours;
  • iStill Boiler Radiator for direct (instead of indirect) cooling;
  • Manholes: 30/50 cm diameter, one at top, one hear bottom;
  • Supports grain as well as potato mashing;
  • Can be used as a cooker as well as a masher;
  • Patented indirect heater system;
  • PLC system and touch screen computer;
  • Automated mashing programs;
  • Internet connectivity, smartphone & computer management and control;
  • Easy Fill Connect and Easy Discharge Center;
  • J-PAS variable speed mixing technology:
  • Optional: WiFi.

Pricing

The iStill Masher 5000 costs EUR 50,000. The iStill Masher 2000 costs EUR 35.000. Both units come fully pre-assembled. Immediately after being connected to water (in/out) and electricity, it is ready to run your first mash.

Line-up

The iStill Masher comes in the sizes 2,000 and 5,000 liters. We could probably build it smaller, but why would you want that? Pricing will only go down marginally, and in order to make a living out of producing your own alcohol … well … there is no substitute for cubic inches.

This is the first of a new line of innovations. The iStill Masher performs the first step of your alcohol production process. Expect us to release new products, like an iStill certified pump for easy mash transfer for example, in the very near future! Again, to make mashing easier, to make your  life as a craft distiller easier. This is the first of a wide range of new innovations. Stay tuned! Follow the iStill Blog and follow us on Facebook.

Delivery and availability

We are currently building the first iStill Mashers. Orders or requests for information can be placed via Sales@iStillmail.com. Current lead time is 3 months. Our online design center (www.iStill.eu/designcenter) will be updated for the iStill Masher in just two weeks from now.

We are building the revolutionary iStill Mashers right now. Wanna buy … ?

http://www.iStill.eu