Liquors - FAQs
What is Turbo Yeast?
A turbo yeast is nothing like an ordinary pack of wine or beer yeast. In fact, it is not very good at fermenting beer or wine, it is usually far to fast and brutal for this, leaving nothing of the desired flavours and bouques in your brew if you try. Instead the turbo yeast is designed for the fastest and most reliable fermentation of a pure sugar/water mix, into pure alcohol.
The idea is of course to make alcohol by fermentation, up to 23% at the moment, but this limit may be pushed further. Fermenting alcohol is usually legal and tax free in most countries, with some exceptions (you are recommended to check up on this in your country before you use our products).
The finished product, pure alcohol between 14% - 23% alcohol, can then be used as a base for mixing drinks, mixing with essences to make lower alcohol versions of many spirits, or (where legal) as the perfect base for distilling into high alcohol.
Turbo yeast come in many flavours today. The typical groups are
Moderate alcohol turbo yeast - fast
Turbo's in this group are Alcotec 6 (3 day fermentation), Alcotec 48 (which does it in 48 hours, hence the name). The alcohol level is usually around 14% by volume. This is the result of full fermentation of 6 kgs of sugar in 25 litres final volume (the rest being water).
High alcohol turbo yeast - slower
The most well known turbo here is the Alcotec 48 again, but this time used as a high alcohol turbo. It's a very versatile turboyeast as it allows you to choose whether to go for moderat alcohol (fast) or high alcohol (slower). It's done simply by adding more sugar to get the higher alcohol. For a 19-20% result, simply add 8 kgs of sugar into 25 litres in total. We also have the extreme Alcotec 23% which contains activated carbons used in a clever way to take it to this high alcohol.
Speciality turbo yeast - hyper fast, hyper clean
We have the Alcotec 24 - makes moderate alcohol in only 24 hours, it is the most extreme fermentation you have ever seen. There are also a few "super clean" fermenting yeasts such as the Alcotec VodkaStar and the Alcotec Triple Still.Read more
How do you make high alcohol spirits at home?
Whats the best temperature for turbo yeast?
For a turbo yeast to work well, it needs a certain temperature range and ideally not too varying during the fermentation. The temperature is always the liquid temperature. The air temperature is only important when it changes the liquid temperature.
The more active the yeast cells are, the more internal energy (temperature) they will create. This means that during the reproduction phase, the first 24-36 hours, the wash will create a lot of "internal" heat. There is usually a peak in the liquid temperature after some 24-30 hours.
Yeast cells will die if the liquid temperature goes too high, this usually happens around 35-40 C when there is little or no alcohol present. However, should you raise the liquid temperature when alcohol is high (near end of fermentation), the combination of high temperature and alcohol will kill the yeast at a lower temperature.
Alcotec 48 is one of the best turbo yeasts for temperature tolerance.
Generally, the two main causes of problems are:
- The temperature peak after around 30 hours
- Large fluctuations in air temperature during the fermentation
If you use a normal sachet of turbo yeast to make 25 litres and follow the instructions, you should not have any major problems with temperature. If you make more than 25 litres in the same container though, there will be much higher internal heat generation and you are likely to see some problems. You will then need to monitor very closely the 30-hour peak. If you get liquid temperatures there which are too high, there is very little you can do except adjust your recipe next time (using less yeast or less sugar or both).
During stress, yeast cells produce more undesired volatiles, i.e. bad taste. So this is another very good reason for trying to keep the liquid temperature as constant as possible, ideally in the 25-30 C range. Looking at only the production of volatiles, it will be better to ferment (very slowly) at 15 C, but the difference is very small and you add a lot of time to your fermentation so it is not really worth it.
A "normal" turbo fermentation (6kgs of sugar into 25 litres total volume) will take around 3 days at 25 C, but it may take up to 14 days if you lower the liquid temperature down to 15 C and there is very little benefit. We recommend aiming at 25 C constant liquid temperature.Read more
I did a 1st run of Cumberland Brandy which is bubbling away O.K.
The 2nd run is not now bubbling..
Any suggestions please..
You need to check with a hydrometer.Read more