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Mash fermentation
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Mash Fermentation

Mash can be fermented from many raw materials. For home brewing one usually uses granulated sugar. Granulated sugar is easily dissolved in warm water and ferments easily to alcohol. In order for sugar to be converted to alcohol it must be fully dissolved to a sugar solution. Thus there must not be lumps of sugar on the bottom. Sugar also takes up room, so you can’t have 25 liters of water, and then sugar, you will have more than 25 liters .

Baking yeast is used to add carbon dioxide to the dough so the dough ”ferments” or swells. When used in mash baking yeast gives rise to lots of impurities and does not tolerate more than 11-12% alcohol. We use Turbo yeast which ferments cleaner and gives a lot more alcohol. Further it contains nutrients for the yeast.

One chooses a suitable Turbo yeast to give the sought after alcoholic strength. So 17 grammes of sugar a liter of mash with just over 1% alcohol. So if you want to ferment to 18% in 25 liters the calculation is as follows:

25 liters X 17 grammes X 18% (25X17X18) = 7650 grammes.

There is no need to work this out yourself as it is printed on the Turbo yeast packet. 6kg sugar gives almost 14% in 25 liters and 8kg gives 18% or more.

Of all the fermenting vessels the wine bucket is the most practical, it is easy to clean, and can even be put upside down in the dishwasher if the upper basket is removed. The bucket is easily accessible for mixing sugar and for cleaning. If you have a mixer paddle, paint mixer in the chuck of an electric drill (or a stave mixer) it is very easy to dissolve sugar in warm water.

The temperature of the sugar solution is very important in determining how quickly the fermentation starts. It should be 30- 33C when the yeast is added. Many makers of Turbo yeast recommend lower temperatures to give a slower start and reduce the risk of overheating (killing temperature) due to runaway fermentation.

A tip: Always allow the Turbo yeast ferment longer than the maker stipulates. At least 2-5 days longer. A little extra alcohol is produced and the mash clears more. Applies to all makes.

Mash fermentation in a wine bucket

Pour as many liters of boiling water in the wine bucket as kilogrammes of sugar you wish to dissolve. (Or double as much warm water as sugar). Pour the granulated sugar in the warm water and stir with a drill; stave mixer, electric whisk or a large spoon. Allow to stand a little, stir again until you have a clear sugar solution. Add water to give the volume you wish to ferment. The mash must not be warmer than 38C , check with your finger or a thermometer.

Add the packet of Prestige Turbo yeast and stir again until the yeast is thoroughly mixed.

Put on the lid and fermentation lock with added water and set aside the vessel for fermentation. Fermentation can be so fast the first few days that the water is blasted out of the fermentation lock, but that is OK.

When fermentation has finished, use a syphon and syphon off 4 liters of mash into the the EasyStill and distill it.

Mash fermentation ( 8 liters ) in a 10 liter plastic container.

Check that the plastic container is graduated in liters, otherwise pour in 8 liters of water and make a mark at the 8-liter level.

Pour in 5 liters of water from the hot water  tap into the 10-liter container.

Pour in 2.5 kg granulated sugar and screw on the lid.

Shake the container, set aside for some time. Shake the container again now and then until you have a clear sugar solution.

Fill up with water to the 8-liter mark. The mash must not be warmer than 38C , check with a finger or with a thermometer. Pour in the contents of the bag of Prestige Mini Turbo and shake the mash again until the yeast is thoroughly mixed.

Screw on the lid with a hole for the fermentation lock and set aside for fermentation. The first days the mash can ferment so fast the water is blown out of the fermentation lock. This is OK.

When fermentation is finished use a syphon and transfer 4 liters of the mash to the EasyStill and distill.