glossary of terms used in the grain and distillery business
BARM: the foam, or scum, formed on the top of liquor of fermented alcoholic beverages such as beer or wine, or feedstock for hard liquor or industrial ethanol distillation – when fermenting. It is used to set up fermentation in a new batch of liquor.
BUSHEL: is an imperial and US customary unit of weight or mass based upon an earlier measure of dry capacity. The old bushel was equal to 4 pecks or 8 gallons and was used mostly for agricultural products such as wheat.
CHAFF: is the dry, scaly protective casings of the seeds of cereal grain, or similar fine, dry, scaly plant material such as scaly parts of flowers, or finely chopped straw. Chaff is indigestible by humans, but livestock can eat it and in agriculture it is used as livestock fodder, or is a waste material ploughed into the soil or burnt.
CIRCLE G: is the nickname given to Oregon Grain Growers Brand Distillery. The iconic logo above has a black and white ball with the letter O for Oregon and G for grain.
COMBINE HARVESTER: the combine harvester, or simply combine, is a machine that harvests grain crops. The name derives from its combining three separate operations comprising reaping, threshing, and winnowing—into a single process. Among the crops harvested with a combine are wheat, oats, rye, barley, corn, sorghum, triticale. The waste straw left behind on the field is the remaining dried stems and leaves of the crop with limited nutrients which is either chopped and spread on the field or baled for feed and bedding for livestock.
DEPHLEGMATOR: a condensing apparatus for stills, consisting sometimes of broad sheets of tinned copper soldered together so as to leave narrow spaces between them, the liquid flowing successively from one space to the next, and sometimes of a worm or continuous pipe in large coils.
DOCKAGE: a factor in the grading of grains under the official U.S. Grain Standards. Wheat dockage is described as weed seeds, weed stems, chaff, straw, or grain other than wheat, which can be readily removed from the wheat by the use of appropriate sieves and cleaning devices; also, underdeveloped, shriveled and small pieces of wheat kernels removed in properly separating, properly re-screening, or re-cleaning. The term also may be used to describe the amount of reduction in price taken because of a deficiency in quality.
ETHANOL: otherwise known as ethyl alcohol, “alcohol”, “grain-spirit”, or “neutral spirit”, etc. A clear, colorless, flammable oxygenated hydrocarbon. Chemical formula: C2H5OH. It has a boiling point of 78.5°C in the anhydrous state. However, it forms a binary azeotrope with water, with a boiling point of 78.15°C at a composition of 95.57 per cent by weight ethanol.
FORESHOTS: are the first parts of the distillate. They contain such poisonous stuff as methanol and acetone, plus esters and aldehydes that make for off flavors. These are discarded.
GRAIN ELEVATOR: a building with appliances for receiving grain in large quantities from railway cars or other carriers, weighting, storing, and delivering to cars or vessels. It contains a receiving hopper into which the grain drops when discharged,an elevator formed of buckets, or cups attached to an endless band, by which it is raised to the top of the building and discharged into a garner, from which it flows through spouts to a weighing machine. The storage bins are deep and narrow pockets, constructed of timber and plank 12 or 14 feet square, and from 40 to 80 feet deep
HARVEST: marks the end of the growing season, or the growing cycle for a particular crop, and social importance of this event makes it the focus of seasonal celebrations such as a harvest festival, found in many religions. On smaller farms with minimal mechanization, harvesting is the most labor-intensive activity of the growing season. On large, mechanized farms, harvesting utilizes the most expensive and sophisticated farm machinery, like the combine harvester.
HEADS: the first alcohols that come off when distilling. These are less desirable when producing whiskey and bourbons.
HEARTS: consist of all the distillate after the heads that is collected. The hearts have a good balance of alcohol and congeners which is optimal for taste.
LOW WINES: a liquor containing about 20 percent of alcohol, produced by the first distillation of wash or stripping run. The first step when making Whiskey or Bourbon.
MALT: germinated cereal grains that have been dried in a process known as "malting". The grains are made to germinate by soaking in water, and are then halted from germinating further by drying with hot air. By malting grains, the enzymes are developed that are required for modifying the grain's starches into sugars, including the monosaccharide glucose, the disaccharide maltose, the trisaccharide maltotriose, and higher sugars called maltodextrines. It also develops other enzymes, such as proteases, which break down the proteins in the grain into forms that can be used by yeast. Malt also contains small amounts of other sugars, such as sucrose and fructose, which are not products of starch modification but were already in the grain.
MASH: a mixture of milled grain or other fermentable carbohydrate in water, which is used in the production of ethanol. The term may be used at any stage from the initial mixing of the feedstock in water, prior to any cooking and saccharification, through to the completion of fermentation, when it becomes referred to as “beer”.
MILLING YIELD: is a general term that can refer to the milling of any cereal crop. Wheat milling yield refers to the percent of flour obtained from a given unit of whole wheat kernels (flour yield or flour extraction rate), averaging 70-75% in the United States.
PARROT: a cylindrical device that houses an ABV meter allowing alcohol strength to be monitored during distillate collection.
PROOF: a measure of the absolute-ethanol content of a distillate containing ethanol and water. In the U.S. system, each degree of proof is equal to 0.5 per cent of ethanol by volume, so that absolute ethanol is 200° proof. In the Imperial system “proof”, (or 100° proof), is equal to 57.06 per cent ethanol by volume, or 48.24 per cent by weight, while absolute ethanol is 75.25 over proof, or 175.25° proof.
REAPER: is a farming implement or person that reaps (cuts and gathers) crops at harvest, when they are ripe.
RECTIFICATION: the separation, or elimination, of the unpleasant and unwanted substances by removing the heads and tails of the distillate.
ROUGING: to remove off types of grain from seed fields. Usually it is done by hand where the field is walked and the head of the off type grain is clipped and bagged so that their seed is not accidentally spread.
SACCHARIFICATION: the process of breaking a complex carbohydrate (as starch or cellulose) into its monosaccharide components.
TAILS: come out of the still after hearts and they are low in ethanol and high in congeners. They can be added back to the still and or added to your final product for flavor.
TEST WEIGHT: refers to the average weight of a cereal as measured in pounds per bushel (1bu. = 8 gallons or 2150.42 cu. inches). Test weight is an important predictor of milling yield for rice and flour extraction rate for wheat. USDA’s official weight per bushel for the highest grade for major cereals and oilseeds include: wheat and soybeans (60 lbs./bu.); corn, sorghum, and rye (56 lbs./bu.); barley (48 lbs./bu.); oats (32 lbs./bu.); and rice (45 lbs./bu.).
THRESH: to separate the grain or seeds from (a cereal plant or the like) by some mechanical means, as by beating with a flail or by the action of a threshing machine.
TRUB: is the layer of sediment that appears at the bottom of the fermenter after yeast has completed the bulk of the fermentation. It is composed mainly of heavy fats, proteins and inactive yeast
UNITED STATES GRAIN STANDARDS ACT: authorizes the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration to establish official marketing standards (not health and safety standards) for grains and oilseeds, and requires that exported grains and oilseeds be officially weighed and inspected.
WINNOWER: to free grain from the lighter particles of chaff, dirt, etc., especially by throwing it into the air and allowing the wind or a forced current of air to blow away impurities.
YEAST: any of certain unicellular fungi, generally members of the class Ascomycetaceae, (although a few are members of the class Basidiomycetaceae). Many types of yeast are capable of producing ethanol and carbon dioxide by the anaerobic fermentation of sugars. Yeasts are composed of approximately 50 per cent protein and are a rich nutritional source of B vitamins.