The traditional process for grain whisky production involves high-temperature cooking at 142°C but it is possible to reduce that to just 85°C, a relatively low processing temperature for the purpose, when using wheat.

Research has demonstrated that 85°C is enough to achieve a high alcohol yield from wheat, while maize requires the higher temperature of 142°C. Using finely milled flour from these cereals, a team of researchers obtained an average alcohol yield of 457.7 litres of alcohol per tonne (LA/t) on a dry weight basis for wheat cooked at 85°C. In comparison, the average yield for maize was 441.7 LA/t.

At 142°C the results differed significantly, with wheat yielding an average of 447.8 LA/t and maize producing 463.7 LA/t.

These findings hold promise for both alcoholic beverage and bioethanol makers today, as reducing energy consumption and minimising environmental impact are increasingly important aspects of corporate strategy.

Additionally, the study reveals that wheat spent grains have an almost five times higher alcohol yield than maize spent grains when processed at 85°C. However, wheat spent grains are treated under more vigorous processing conditions.

Read the full study here: