Please read this carefully because the process of gelatinizing grains is not always necessary in the process of making moonshine. Gelatinizing the wrong kind of grains will actually kill the enzymes required in the mashing process and this will result in a big flop. Some grains that must undergo this process are millet, corn as well as other sources of starch such as potatoes. Using these ingredients will require you to undergo the process before you proceed with mashing your grains. Other grains that do not require gelatinization includes rye and barley due to the fact that the enzymes present in these grains can be deactivated at temperatures over 72 degrees Celsius. Therefore, subjecting these in high gelatinization temperature is really not a wonderful idea. If you are using grains that do not require gelatinization prior to mashing, you can directly proceed to Step 2 – Mash the Grains.

It is important for you to know that the gelatinization process is plays a big role in separating the molecular bonds of starches in order release the enzyme called amylase that will be responsible in transforming the starch into sugar. This enzyme greatly helps in the process of mashing as well due to the release of fermentable sugars. The higher the amounts of these sugars results in a much higher production of alcohol as well. The process of gelatinization greatly can happen in the presence of heat and water which can be so easy to perform at home. You will know if you are successful in gelatinizing your grains if it appears gluey and thick in consistency.

The gelatinization of starch is a very significant process when mashing grains and distilling moonshine. Yet, it must be noted that it is only needed when you use a specific type of grain that requires this process. If you will take a peek into the table of gelatinization temperatures that can be found in this page, you will realize that almost all of the most usual grains gelatinize at the same temperature as it is required in mashing them such as 63 to 67 degrees Celsius or 140 to 145 degrees Fahrenheit. Therefore, the process of gelatinization can take place within the mash turn which makes extra steps no longer needed. The grains that still require this process are the grains with gelatinization temperature above the average temperature required for mashing. For this reason, these grains must undergo the process separately in order not to destroy the enzyme that will act as the converter of starches to sugar. The enzyme is very significant in the process of mashing so killing it means failure on your part.

One perfect example for this theory in preparing grain wash is bourbon which is made up of at least 51% corn. In a standard recipe, bourbon can contain 60% corn, 20% malted barley and 20% malted rye which makes the mixture entirely made of corn. As you already know, corn is a kind of grain that requires gelatinization before the mashing process. Apart from that, corn seems to be one of the hardest grains to work with most especially for beginners. Yet, with a great deal of practice, this would not be difficult anymore.

The corn that is commonly used in bourbon is the cracked type bought from the livestock or pet feeds supplier. Again, make sure that it is free from any harmful chemical that will make it unfit for human consumption. You can utilize various ways to gelatinize corn like the many ways in making moonshine; you should select the method that works best for you. If all of these seem to work for you, simply choose what you like the most.

The most common method can be performed by soaking the cracked corn in plain water for 24 hours or overnight. The longer, the better it is due to the fact that corn is hard, dry and brittle as you purchase it which is why hydrating it ahead of time can will make the gelatinization faster. Once already soaked, you can place the corn in the container or a bucket and fill it with water until it reaches 2 inches above the level of the corn grains. After which, you must cover it to ensure it will be free from dirt and insects. Then, all you need to do is to fill your boiler with plain water as well as the corn and then subject it to heat and let in reach the temperature of 90 degrees Celsius which is near the boiling point. Once this has been reached, you have to turn the heat away and keep the corn in this temperature for a period of 45 minutes. Stirring it occasionally for every 2-3 minutes will help. After the period of 45 minutes, the corn has already started to gelatinize and all you have to do is to maintain the temperature at 80-90 degrees Fahrenheit until you are happy with the result. At this time, most of the corn has been dissolved in the water and the result is a thick porridge like mess that should be cooled for mashing.

Once your corn or other grains you prefer to use has gelatinized, all you have to do is to cool it down to 70 degrees Celsius prior to adding any other grains. Adding your grains at a temperature higher than this can adversely affect the action of the enzymes they hold.

Since it is important to observe gelatinization temperature, here is a table summary of the gelatinization temperature of certain grains.


Gelatinization Temperature

Food ItemsCelsius /°CFahrenheit/°F
Corn (Maize)62-77142-170
Barley Malt63-67145-152