Sugar water and turbo yeast
To all friends of distilling and alcohol,
Today I would like to inform you about fermenting sugar water with turbo yeast. Not always do we have fresh fruit at hand, but don't worry, we always have water and sugar at home! Distilling and fermenting is not limited to fruits or grains.
For hobby distillers is now the time to experiment and provide a basis for all kinds of spirits. As you might have guessed already, I'm talking about neutral alcohol.
But how do you ferment sugar water with turbo yeast?
And is this even possible?
Well, let me tell you, it is!
Indeed, fermented sugar water is even drinkable, but you wouldn't really enjoy the taste. That's why many people use aromas to blend with the alcohol. Many differnet flavours exist and you can choose whatever your tastebuds like best. Please make sure you filter the fermented sugar water before adding the essences. This way you get rid of the yeast residues. You could also add Turboklar, a fining agent, to assist you with this process and leave the fermented liquid for up to 48 hours until it is clear.
Don't worry! We could also afford a good wine or liqueur instead as our alcohol tax is relatively low as opposed to other countried. But we like the thrill of experimenting and creating our own flavours in the process, because fermented sugar water is neutral in taste. The turbo yeast removes all aromas, so you can freely add your own or distill the liquid in order to receive high proof alcohol. That's entirely up to you!
In order to produce Gin or any other spirits, we need neutral alcohol to be able to add our own flavours to it.
Basically, fermenting sugar water with turbo yeast is the easiest way to obtain neutral alcohol and also suitable for beginners. That's why it is so popular! With turbo yeast the risk of a faulty fermentation is not as risky as with dry selected yeast or liquid yeast cultures. Liquid yeast additionally requires a fermentation starter before it can be added to mash so the margin for error is large. Turbo yeast already contains all the vitamins and nutrient salts required for a successful fermentation and under optimal conditions some yeast cultures can ferment up to 20%...
...within only 5 days!
25 L of sugar water are sufficient for one sachet of turbo yeast. You will then add 8 kg of sugar into a large pot that will aid you to dissolve all the sugar in the hot water (21 L total). In the meantime you can prepare the fermentation container. Please let the liquid cool down to approx. 24°C before adding the yeast or you might kill it instantly!
The mash produces a high alcohol percentage that allows for longer periods of storage. You can therefore safe some for later if you like! Here I used the 30 L Speidel Must Container, because the set includes a discharge cock which allows to collect small quantities of the fermented liquid.
Advice for easier dissolving of the sugar:
On the yeast sachet you can read about dissolving all the sugar in 40°C hot water. I have dissolved the sugar in a separate pot and brought the mixture to a boil instead. It is crucial for the sugar to be completely dissolved in the water. Only then you will receive good fermentation results. How do you know if the sugar has been dissolved completely? Well, the liquid appears "clear" which simply means that there is no cloudiness left in the water.
I bring 6 L of water to a boil and add 8 kg of sugar to it. In order to avoid scorching of the sugar you should stir the mixture, especially if you work with gas stoves. Ideally I will receive 20 % of alcohol when the fermentation is done. I can then use this alcohol for further distillations and aromatization.
Important: Always monitor the temperature!
I add 15 liters of water to a clean, sterilized must container plus the hot water sugar mixture. You should have around 25 liters now!
It's extremely important now to check on the temperature! Stir the mixture well and control the temperature with a reliable thermometer. It should not measure more than 32°C, for some yeasts not more then 24°C. Please read the instructions on the yeast sachet carefully! Otherwise the hot temperatures will kill the yeast instantly. Best fermentation results are achieved at 24/25°C.
Oxygen and Storing of mash/sugar water!
In the beginning the sugar water will inevitably come into contact with oxygen, e.g. by filling the must container and stirring the contents before sealing the container But then it should not be moved anymore and should rest at a warm place, ideally without any extreme temperature fluctuations.
A good place to store the fermenting sugar water: the basement!
I have placed the must container next to the radiator in my room. You can keep track of the temperature with our floating thermometer. If you would like to be precise here, you can of course also purchase a heating belt.
How do I know when the fermentation process is complete?
The manufacturer recommends fermenting without airlock due to the increased pressure during the fermentation. It could literally blow the lid off of the must container if the pressure built up inside. Several times this has led to new tapestry colours.... ;-) Well, you learn by experience!
To avoid an increase in pressure and to keep the oxygen out, I have used the Speidel Airlock which is large enough for this type of fermentation as we did not want to ferment without airlock. No tapestry was hurt in the process! ;-)
During the fermenation process gas bubbles rise and thus the red airlock lid moves a little bit up and down. So you can actually observe the process and listen to the fermentation sounds. When this process is done, the fermentation is complete. I have waited another day to be sure!
You now have 25 liters of neutral alcohol which is a perfect basis to create all kinds of spirits.
I hope your fermentation will be successful! Have a nice day!
Your Kai Moeller