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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 (Prestige Turbo Pure 48 is most popular) which ferments cleaner and gives a lot more alcohol. Further it contains both micro and macro nutrients for the yeast.
Turbo Yeast in Australia
Turbo Yeast in Australia is not as good as in Europe and USA. Different laws about nitrogen nutrients force Australian companies to use only a certain nitrogen nutrient. This makes sachets getting double weight (to 200-300 gram) and reduce temperature tolerance 2-3C and produce more off flavors - and cause stuck fermentations before 18% ABV is reached. A way around that is to build a temperature regulated space with maximum 25C air temperature for your fermentations. A fan cooling the fermentation vessel provide some help.
My advice to hobby distillers in Australia is to import your Turbo Yeast your self from allfreightfree.com. That is Gert Strand in Sweden Turbos and there is no better Turbo Yeast in the world. We know that because we produce Black Bull Turbo (which you also can use, it beats all AU Turbos) and have probably tested all Turbos in the world to make worlds best Turbo Yeast. We can not - but we hold our own Black Bull Turbo as the second best Turbo in the world and the yeast that is best in price/quality.
We got proof of that - Gert Strand purchase our Black Bull Turbo Yeast and re sell to his importers when they need a very competitive price but still good quality.
Of course the law in Australia has its reasons - it stop crappy turbo yeast producers from making Turbos that result in fermentations containing a lot of ethylcarbamate. But both our Black Bull Turbo and all Gert Strand (Prestige) turbos produce far less then the amount allowed in wine and fermentations and far less then produced by most Australian Turbos.
So this law hurt hobbyists with less good products and double weight/freight cost for AU turbo Yeast.
One chooses a suitable Turbo yeast to give the sought after alcoholic strength. So 17 grammes of sugar in one liter of mash produces 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 14.5% 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 25- 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 clear 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 cold 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.