What is Turbo yeast?
Turbo Yeast is a mixture of selected yeast, macro nutrients, micro nutrients, and quality enhancing ingredients. Turbo yeast is sold in bags for 25 liters fermentation with a high yeast dosing and a lot of nutrients, often 3 – 4 times as much as the yeast. There is also Prestige Mini Turbo that ferments 8 liters of mash.
The yeast can be comprised of different yeast types. The main characteristics are alcohol tolerance and temperature tolerance. Ordinary bakers yeast dies off at 11-12 % alcohol. The yeast types in Turbo yeast tolerate 14.5% and up to 21%.
Macro nutrients give nitrogen, phosphorus and magnesium. Diammonium phosphate and magnesium sulfate comprises the most usual macro nutrients.
Micro nutrients are vitamins, minerals, metals and trace elements. It is the micro nutrients that give the difference between good and bad Turbo yeast.
Quality enhancing ingredients are substances that stop foaming, reduce the formation of fusel oils and by-products, stabilizes pH, increase temperature tolerance or stimulates fermentation in other ways than the nutrients do.
All Turbo yeast fermentations come up to killing temperature. This is when a certain alcohol content and a certain temperature work together and kill the yeast. Yeast that tolerates high temperature is called temperature tolerant. Fermentation itself generates a deal of heat. So in order not to come up to killing temperature a maximum of 25 liters is fermented at a time, also ensuring there is some air round the fermentation vessel so that heat can be shed. In the summer one uses temperature tolerant yeast or uses a fan to cool the fermentation.
Which Turbo yeast is best?
Turbo yeasts from Gert Strand are generally the best and have held this position for a couple of decades. This yeast is the same as in supplied to the spirits industry, but packed for retail sale.
There are different types for different uses, depending on what one wants to achieve. Generally 2 characteristics stand against each other, strength and purity. If one is satisfied with a mash strength of 14.5 % it will be much cleaner than a mash of 18 %. But one gets much less alcohol per distillation. So the 18% Turbo is the most popular. The following Turbo yeasts are recommended for mash for the EasyStill.
Turbo yeast for fermentation to a high alcoholic strength
Turbo Pure 48 is the best for a high alcohol output. It stops at 18-19 % alcohol (20-21% if 10 kg dextrose is used as sugar) and is temperature tolerant. This is the most temperature tolerant yeast strain in the world today. Today there is no Turbo yeast that ferments cleaner to give 18% (Easy Still Turbo 15% do it to 15%). If the mash is a bit over 30C during fermentation a lot of fusel oil is formed. Turbo Pure does not work for fruit snaps. It do work fine for alcobase which shall be flavored to RTD (Ready To Drink drinks), because of its pure fermentation.
Turbo Pure 48 can be used in 2 ways. If one starts with a 35 - 40C warm mash it will ferment 8 kg of sugar in 48 hours. If one starts at an ordinary temperature it will ferment a lot cleaner but then takes 5 – 10 days.
With a start temperature of 35C and a S.G. (Specific gravity) of 1.120 (+120 using the Oechsle scale) and with completed fermentation after 44 hours with a specific gravity of 985 (-15 on the Oechsles scale) there will be 18% alcohol in the mash.
If the mash is allowed to stand for 5 days it will ferment out to 982, 18.4% alcohol.
It is a shame that Strands competitors now call their Turbos for "Turbo Pure" or sneak in "Pure" in the name of their Turbos. It is not the same, for some of them it is the only way to sell. But for those using the Amazing Still it can be a disaster as gert Strands Original Turbo Pure 48 produce no methanol but "competing" brands might do. And with the Amazing Still one does not trow away the fore shots (methanol)....
Prestige 8 kg Turbo is a high alcohol yeast, which, if the temperature can be held down to 25C at the end of fermentation, can ferment 8,5 kg sugar right up to 21 % alcohol. With 8 kg sugar in 25 liters of mash it gives 18 % alcohol. Excellent for fruit snaps, a bag is enough for 100 liters (4 x 25 liters ). Prestige 8 kg Turbo is not temperature tolerant and should not be used during the summer or in warm countries. Fermentation can overheat killing the yeast.
Starting at S.G. 1.120 (+120 with the Oechsle scale) and fermented out at an S.G.of 982 (-18 with the Oechsle scale), then there is at least 18% alcohol in the mash.
Black Label Turbo yeast. This is a yeast that distilleries mostly use. This yeast is probably the most stress tolerant yeast in the world. It is the worlds second most temperature tolerant yeast strain. Used mostly for 6 kg sugar and then gives 14.5 % alcohol. With 7,5 kg sugar it gives 17-18 % alcohol. At 38C liquid temperature and 14,5 % it still gives a relatively clean mash. Works well to give fruit snaps.
Starting S.G. of 1.090 (+90 with the Oechsle scale) and fermented out at an S.G.of 984-987 (-13 - -16 with the Oechsle scales), then there is minimum 14% alcohol in the mash.
The Black Label Turbo (or any Turbo Yeast) actually should not be used to ferment out 7.5 kg sugar (sucrose) in warm countries - where the fermenting liquid temperature rises to approaching 40C the effect of the ethanol (killing temperature) grows exponentially. But it is used anyway, because Black Label Turbo is temperature tolerant, and it mostly works.
The nutrition for Black Label Turbo is tailored around 6 kg sugar (there is enough nutrients to ferment 7.5 kg sugar but there is a chance of stuck fermentation when the yeast is high temperature stressed).
Using the Black Label Turbo in hot countries with 7.5kg sugar can result in stuck fermentation if the liquid temperature rises above 38 C.
If the liquid temperature stays below 34C then it always ferments out and the final gravity should be 985.
Turbo yeast to ferment with maximum purity
Turbo Pure 24 is the same temperature tolerant yeast as Turbo Pure 48 but is much heavier. A lot of additives have been used to reduce the formation of unwanted substances during fermentation. This makes this yeast quite expensive and costly to transport. For maximum purity one never ferments over 14.5 % and no Turbo yeast exists that ferments cleaner to14.5 % than Turbo Pure 24. Turbo Pure 24 is not suitable for fruit snaps. If the mash is a bit over 30C during fermentation a lot of fusel oil is formed. In such a case it is recommended that Black Label Turbo is used instead.
Starting at an S.G.of 1.090 (+90 with the Oechsle scale) and fermented out after 24 hours with an S.G.of 990-986 (-10 - -14 with the Oechsle scale), at 990 there is +13,5% alcohol in the mash. A further few tenths of a % of alcohol is formed if the mash is allowed to ferment for another 24 hours.
Black Label Turbo. This is a yeast used by the distilleries. This yeast is possibly the most stress and temperature tolerant yeast in the world. Is used mostly with 6 kg sugar, thus giving 14.5 % alcohol. The only yeast for use in really tropical countries. At 38C and 14,5 % it still gives quite a clean mash. Ferments very cleanly, but Turbo Pure 24 ferments even more cleanly.
If you will use a Turbo Yeast that is not from Gert Strand we recommend our own Black Bull Turbo Yeast.
Turbo yeast for fermenting 8-litre batches
Prestige Mini Turbo is enough for 8 liters of mash of nearly 18 %. One uses 2.5 kg sugar.
Starting S.G.of nearly 1.120 (+120 with the Oechsle scale) and fermented out at an S.G.of 982 (-18 with the Oechsle scale), then there is at least 18% alcohol in the mash. Fermenting time about 7-10 days.
Excellent for fruit snaps, and in this case enough for 25 liters . The snaps must ferment slowly for 3-4 weeks, so the flavour does not disappear along with the carbon dioxide. This as well as the high nutritive value of the fruit is the reason for using such a low dosage of yeast.
Whisky must never be fermented with Turbo yeast. One uses proper whisky yeast and no yeast nutrients.
Poor quality Turbo yeast
There is a lot of poor quality Turbo yeast, and this is true globally. Gert Strands is the best and his main markets are distilleries all over the world. Such a market would not tolerate poor products. Distilleries have their own laboratories and always test before buying. Many have advanced analysis equipment such as HPLC, spectral analysis or gas chromatography. In order to buy the yeast must be better than the yeast they are currently using. The same turbo yeast is packed in the consumer sachets - that is a huge difference, it is the real thing and not a hobby mix.
The consumer market is an entirely different matter. Here anything can be sold because the consumer has neither the knowledge or demands, and often accepts that offered by the shop. And the recommended product is often the product that is the most profitable, that is to say the cheapest to manufacture. In order to fight against low quality (and move customers to his quality Turbos) when learning, Gert Strand has published information on Turbo yeast on the Internet at http://www.turbo-yeast.com/intro.html.
All Gerts turbo yeasts can be found on allfreightfree.com. Small quantities of Turbo Pure 48, Turbo Pure 24 and Black Label Turbo can be purchased freight-free and get the product delivered in your letter box as a first class letter at http://www.partyman.se/turbopure_order.html. So easy!