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I was using expensive turbo yeast then I decided to use plain old red star bakers yeast with fermax yeast nutrient added. Some turbo's claim to produce 18 to 20% ABV in 3 to 5 days and some do produce that much but I got tired of paying so much every time a made a batch of mash. Compared to turbo yeast the red star with nutrient added produced about the same 18% ABV as the turbo yeast only it takes a little longer for the red star to finish fermenting. I make 30 gallon batches of mash, I use plain sweet corn in the big can from GFS food store and grind it up in a blender, I then put it in a big pot with 5 gallons of water and add the proper amount of amylase enzyme and heat it to 160 degrees for 1 hour to get a good starch conversion, I then shut off the flame and add 2/3 cup of yeast nutrient and give it a good mixing. I put this in my fermenter with 50 LBS cane sugar and add enough hot water to make 30 gallons and give it a good mixing, I let it cool down to about 90 degrees and add one full cup of red star and give it another good mixing, Within 20 mins I get a good ferment going and I put on the lid and air lock. I let this go for 5 days and it settles down I then give it another good mixing and then let it go for another 5 days or until it goes completely flat. I drain it through a screen to remove any solids and run it through my still. My boiler is only 15 gallons so I get 2 full charges from 30 gallons. After cutting off the heads this first run produces about 5 gallons of crystal clear 60% ABV. I run this 5 gallons a second time through a fresh cleaned still and it puts out 85 to 90% ABV. Sometimes I would only get 75 to 80% ABV on the second run so I run it a third time to get 91% ABV or 182 proof. I never had to run it more than 3 times. The end product is about 4 to 4 and 1 half gallons of at least 180 proof with a slight sweet corn smell an almost no taste. I then use this to mix with what ever I want, It makes a perfect bloody marry or it works good for any drink needing vodka or light rum. It gives a good mellow high and the next day produces no hangover sickness at all. The most you will get if you drink to much is waking up still drunk.
I've found you can push bakers yeast higher than you might think, but this isn't so counterintuitive once you realize that bakers yeasts are usually manufactured on a molasses base, not a grain base like a beer yeast.
That said, I might make a suggestion that you try aiming for a lower potential alcohol on your washes, you might find you save quite a bit of time on the fermentation, but your end result is a smoother product. 18% is pretty stressful for yeast. Try bringing it down to 10%, max, maybe somewhere closer to 7-8%. You'll probably find you ferment out in fewer than 5 days. If you absolutely must have higher yields, you might try experimenting with staging your sugar additions over the first 5 days.
Your product yield for 30 gallons seems a little bit high. Your 4-4.5g of 90% is on 30 gallons of 18%?
I am on my first attempt with bread yeast... I just threw one of those 2lb packs from GFS into each of the 240 gal totes Saturday morning (pitching rate works out to 2 11g packs in a 5-gal batch), and by the afternoon had a 6" krausen... at that time, the brix reading was 11.5, forgot to measure the real OG... they died down and were calm today at 1.020 when the fedex man arrived with 2 liters of WLP 4100 ultraferm 'amyloglucosidase'. I split 1 liter among the 4 totes and they seemed to have more activity within the hour... temp probably 90F at least, so busy I forget things like temps and gravity...
I understand about having the mash at a lower ABV to produce a smoother product but after running it 2 or sometimes 3 times and cutting off the heads and leaving the tails it's pretty much pure ethanol leaving very little or no taste and very smooth. I only make a run about once a month so the 5 or 10 days doesn't matter all that much. I have cut the sugar to half or 25 LBS and then added the other 25 LBS 5 days later and it produced about exactly the same results It just took a little more time to go completely flat. When I start a mash it is very active the first 3 days and by the 5 day the foam stops but is still letting off a little gas, I wait 5 more days and everything sinks to the bottom and it gets clear yellow. I drain off the clear stuff to distill and sometimes I will leave the sediment in the fermenter and put a new batch right on top of it, I only do this every 2 or 3 mashes because anymore than that and it starts to get a molasses flavor to the final product. My point is that bakers yeast produces the same or very close to the same quantity and quality as the high dollar turbo yeast at less than half the cost. I have used the turbo yeast and a few times it produced a acidic smell and taste and that has never happened using the cheap stuff.
Another interesting option is to use fresh yeast from your local restaurant supply or megastore. Red star wet cake is usually pretty cost effective as well. You can get it everything from 2oz portions to 10lb blocks. Although, you've got to use it fast.
Most "Turbo" yeasts are pretty terrible, IMHO. The challenge is when you isolate a yeast strain for high ethanol and sugar tolerance, you are looking for a very specific creature, and you usually don't have the luxury of also selecting based on cogeners or flavor/quality. So you trade one for the other. You can't have your cake and eat it too (or rather, the yeast can't).
Probably an unrelated coincidence, acidity in the wash and distillate is usually a sign of bacterial involvement (almost always lactic acid bacteria, but sometimes some other critters).
I thought about going to a local winery and asking for some of their yeast just to try for comparison. The way you guys talk on here with 100 gallon fermenters I think I'm way out of my class, I only run 30 gallon batches.
It seems a little high for 30 gallon of mash but I have a 3 inch diameter x 30inch long copper column with 9 water cooled reflux plates controlled with a needle valve and a 7 tube counter flow shotgun condenser. I strips the alcohol out pretty good. On the first run it starts a good stream at 180 F and continues until about 200 F and then goes to a slow drip, That's when I know most all the alcohol has been stripped out. If I let it run longer than that it will jump from 200 F to 212 F and start putting out water. The second run will start out at 173 F and then slowly clime to 200 F and jump again if I let it. IF I do a third run it starts a good stream at 173 F and continues slowly to about 200 F and then I shut it down. I tested the stuff left in the boiler and it was pretty much just pure water.
I have used the exact same Red Star yeast for whiskey, rum and neutral for about a year. Keeps me honest in that I know that I won't try to push it to do more than it should. I feel that it really brings a lot to the party on rums and whiskeys and is pretty easy to remove for neutral although not totally.
Absolutely can't beat the price. Just picked up 4 lbs from GFS for $10.
I too have 30 gallon fermenters and a 15 gallon boiler. Since I can't put the full 15 gallons in, I instead do washes of about 26 gallons; gives room for fermenting and thus provides me with 2 13 gallon runs. Would like to do the full 26 in one run but a bigger boiler will be down the road for me.
Do you have access to dried, cracked corn? Gotta be a lot cheaper than the canned stuff. I get my 50# bags for about $8
I always sanitize my fermenter with scalding hot water before starting a mash and when I'm not using it I wipe it down with bleach water and let it drip dry upside down. So far I haven't gotten any molds or anything, I think it was the yeast or what ever kind of nutrient they used.
I can get dried corn or yellow corn meal but I use the canned corn because it already has a lot of dextrose in it and I get the corn, sugar and yeast all at the same GFS store on the way home from work. There is a few farms around here that sell fresh produce, They have that bi-color sweet corn on the cob, they pick that stuff early in the morning at daylight and if they don't sell it within 2 days they throw it out or give it to farmers free to feed their pigs and cows. If I want it all I have to do is go there and pick it up. That sweet corn on the cob gives a sweeter smell and taste to the liquor but it's a pain in the ass to shuck it and cut it off the cob. The stuff in the can is all ready to go I just grind it up in a blender, cook it for an hour with enzyme to convert the starch, add nutrient and dump it in the barrel. I use 50 lbs of cane sugar with it and it turns out pretty good. I have used 50 lbs of corn sugar or dextrose monohydrate instead of the cane sugar but it makes about 25% less alcohol. When I mix the sweet corn with cane sugar you can't tell the difference it just makes more alcohol. From 30 gallons of sweet corn mash and cane sugar I end up with 4 and a half to 5 gallons of 180 proof. Grim says that much alcohol for 30 gallons of mash seems like a lot but on average that's what I get. I have a 40 gallon HDPE plastic barrel that I fill to 30 gallons with the corn and sugar and water, I get two 15 gallon still fulls from that. Last night I did a first run and I have almost 6 gallons of somewhere around 145 150 proof, When I run it a second time I know I going to have at least 4 maybe 4 and a half gallons at 175 or 180 proof. When I run my still, the hot water that comes out of my condenser I run right into my fermenter barrel to add the corn and sugar so that when I'm done with the run the fermenter is cooled down enough to add the yeast. It saves on the water bill a little bit.
Nice conservation move on the water. The cooking of the corn might be more work than needed. On a sugar head/UJSSM the corn is added for the flavor, not so much for the sugar. Sounds like you have plenty of sugar without it. I add 35 lbs of sugar to my UJ runs but mine is about 30% by volume of corn, barley malt and rye at this stage.
The great thing about all of this is that we can do what works for us individually. I am carrying over quite a bit of grain flavor now. Not so much in the early generations. The backset added to the next Gen really helps with that.
GFS = Great F*ckin' Spirits?
I'm more like I am now than I was before.
That's what it stands for at my place but I also get my molasses from a place called Gordon Food Service.
GFS is a mole farm?
I'm more like I am now than I was before.
I have been using instaferm gold a bakers yeast that can go up to 16% without issues its designed for baking sweet breads and extra sweet rolls and so forth..
Works a charm... same price as regular bakers
I have been using turbo yeast from flebay for a few months, It seems to me it's nothing more than regular yeast with high powered nutrient added to it, Red star bakers yeast will do the same thing if you add yeast nutrient to it. As in fermax yeast nutrient. I make a sweet corn soup with the big cans of GFS sweet corn, I just grind it up in a blender with water and put it in a 5 gallon pot on the stove, I add 1 tsp of amylase enzyme and cook it for 1 hour at 150 F then I add 2/3 cup of fermax yeast nutrient, I makes it smell like ammonia, then I dump the whole mess into my 40 gallon HDPE fermenter barrel, and add either 50 LBS of corn sugar or 50 LBS of cane sugar. Cane sugar produces more alcohol but it has a sweet ciderie taste in the final product. Corn sugar produces about 25% less alcohol but it has a smoother whiskey taste, I'm working on a mix between the two. I add enough water to make 30 gallons of mash and I let it ferment until it quits working and goes completely flat and all the solids fall to the bottom. My fermenter has a schedule 40 bulkhead fitting in the bottom side so all I have to do is open it up and fill my boiler and distill.
Well, I can absolutely tell you that turbo yeast is not " nothing more than regular yeast with high powered nutrient added to it".At least not in my experience.I add nutrients to my Red Star yeast and have NEVER had anything anywhere near as nasty as what I once got from a turbo yeast. I was using tomato paste but will now use Fermax. I have added nutrients to Red Star before and got no nasty turbo flavors.
I can tell you turbo yeast is RANK!! I recently visited a rum distillery north of Perth WA, it was rather quiet at the time so the jr. distillery agreed to take us for a tour. He said they use turbo yeast in their 1000L ferments. I can tell you that the presence of turbo is very evident in their final product. You can smell it off the top of the bottle. Yuk!!!! It reminded me of my early days following the hbs instructions. But I guess for the majority of their customers they would have no idea and think it was just part of their flavour, so good for them. Where i live ( just under 4000km's from Perth) its always around 30 degrees C and bakers yeast form the local supermarket for a quarter of the price of a packet of turbo from the hbs works well in the heat and is a hands down winner over that turbo trash for activity, no nasty /off tastes and way cheaper. I use baker yeast for my rums and TPW's, which ferment well in the heat, but if I had a choice I'd use EC1118 for TPW if i could ferment in the low 20's. Other than that I recommend baker yeast to anyone currently using turbo's. What are you waiting for????? You got nothing to lose.....
Anyway .....thats my 2 bobs worth. Now....where's my rum glass gone??
Bakers yeast might not always produce as much alcohol as those turbo's but it's always a better smelling and smoother tasting.
good morning all . were doing an experiment with bakers yeast and noticed that the first 15 hrs after pitching the activity was very bubbly like a normal ferment with distillers yeast .however it then turned to more of a rolling fizzing action . so is this normal for a 100 % malt barley ferment with bread yeast or is something going off the rails . thanks
That is normal. At the start of fermentation of malt wort there is a big foamy head that builds up on top. After a day of so it falls back into the ferment. The "rolling fizzing action" is evidence that the yeast are busily working away converting sugars to carbon dioxide and alcohols.
That big foamy head at the beginning of the ferment can be problematic if there is not enough headspace in the fermenter. There is a saying among homebrewers, "You are not a true homebrewer if you have never had to mop the ceiling."
I'm more like I am now than I was before.
thanks @Kapea i figured it was normal activity was jus curious because its different than the action of our regular yeast , it sure is a nice smelling ferment hope to strip it later today or tomoro . tim
We use Red Star (NOT Fleischmann's) bread yeast on our pure barley malt ferments with an SG of ~1.070, and we get 2.5 to 3 day (22 gallon) ferments, with an FG of .996-.998. No, the ferment hasn't dropped completely clear, but I'm told the wash the Scots fill their stills with looks like cat's vomit, and if it's good enough for Laphroig, it's good enough for me. 'Course we're gas-fired and could care less about a bit of gunk in the boiler and I figure the term "stripping" doesn't even apply to making nice, flavorful single-malts in potstills, so I'm happy.
The customers seem to be happy, too, comparing us to Jameson's, but with a richer flavor.
I love the smell of our whiskey ferments. The only turbo ferment I ever smelled brought up the image of a billy goat with a bladder infection. I guess if you're after high-ABV wash, that's OK.
Zymurgy Bob, a simple potstiller
my book, Making Fine Spirits
thanks for the input @zymurgybob, we lauter off our mash and re strain it as it goes into the beer tank that feeds the continuous still so our beer isnt clear either but it is a stripping run . were shooting for ph of 5.4 do you think thats ok for bread yeast .