Sciencemadness Discussion Board


BASF - 13-5-2004 at 23:38

Does anyone know an extremely cheap, non-toxic sedimentation-agent that helps in precipitating the yeast?
-The fermentation has stopped since 1 week, and CO2-evolution has subsided, but the yeast won´t accumulate to bigger particles so that it can settle.
(If i would like to distill the alcohol to get the usual 35-40%, i would first have to remove all the yeast.)

I have also tried (the ridiculous idea) of filtering..what a frustating experience(it gets clogged immediately by the fine yeast-particles).
I´ve thought of using water glass with some acid, or FeSO4 with Na2CO3 => coprecipitation of yeast.
I know that heating aids in accumulation of the particles, but if i would do that, the sensoric quality of the wodka would decrease!

I think the two methods would work, but i would rather like to use something non-toxic or an alternative method.

[Edited on 14-5-2004 by BASF]

frogfot - 14-5-2004 at 01:01

How would heating affect quality, most people brew together with yeast.. though I'm not an experienced brewer..

After giving it like 50*C and then letting it stand for some day it'll become clear. I guess that yeast precipitates when it dies, so try to kill em in some other way.. that wouldn't be toxic to a human.. like rising or lowering pH... :o

Organikum - 14-5-2004 at 02:30

Filter through a linen sheet and wring this out. Thats the traditional way it was done for a few thousand years so it might still work.

A pillow cover in an old spin dryer work wonders if bigger batches are to be processed.

Dont forget to pay the thy tax moonshiner!

[Edited on 14-5-2004 by Organikum]

Feed it more.

Ramiel - 14-5-2004 at 23:00

frogfot is quite right: the yeast will sink when it dies, and you will be able to decant a fairly clear wash from this. What you must do to make it die is simply feed it more sugar, so it makes more ethanol - which will kill it. When I moonshine these days, I always add extra ammounts of sugars, so that the yeast is always dead and buried at the end of the ferment. What you have to watch out for here is autolysis, which ruins the taste of any spirit - try adding floccular matter. Such things as orange pulp, paper pulp, and even grass have been used - I reccomend orange pulp.

This is cheap, but not what you asked for. It sounds as if you want "finnings" - which are (were) added to beers to precipitate most of the yeast and clear it ready for bottling. Most beers these days have very pure hops and don't need finnings - the guiness I bottled yesterday was very clear (ie. not muddy).


ps. @ Organikum - usually taxes apply only to spirits sold for consumption. Where the beurocrat sees fit to restrict the happiness of the average man, he is defeated by his own beurocracy. Hooray for loopholes.

Yeast issues.

Prince_Lucifer - 15-5-2004 at 03:57

BASF, i struggle to comprend your problem.
I realise you have a problem(obviously) but you shouldnt becasue fermentation is usually a straight-forward process.
For me to understand better, I will require some more information :D
What kind of yeast are you using?
What type of sugar are you using and how much did/do you add?
How much water did you add to the mix?
You say your next step is to distill for the usual 35-50%?! This is terrible, are you using scientific equipment or have you a traditonal pot still or what? These are very ordinary figures, either your distilling method is ineffective and/or your fermentation is letting you down and only producing a limited amount of ethanol! :(
Btw, i have found that distilling spent yeast residue can add a unique flavour to neutral spirit, especially if you plan to flavour using commercial essence. try it someday, maybe even tomorrow because i suggest you start over with a new batch of yeast because i think you can do better :)
To get back on track and to answer your questions directly, my opinion is that you are either:
(a) Mixing your ingredients in the wrong ratios.
(b) using the wrong type of yeast for your climatic conditions.
(c) Not thoroughly mixing your yeast prior to fermentation, and/or you are not adding your yeast to a pre-warmed mixture of sugar/water..this affects EtOH production!!
(d) Adding too much yeast or too little sugar, this relates to ratios.
I hope i didnt seem too abrasive with this post, i really do wish you luck with your endeavours. with my help, you will have high yields of 80%abv spirit :D

unionised - 16-5-2004 at 14:38

Why bother to remove the yeast? It won't distill.
35 to 50% is not terible, it's about the range you get for Vodka. There are more than a few hints that this stuff is for drinking and getting above 50% is a waste of time for that.
I'm told;) that running the product through charcoal does wonders for the flavour


Prince_Lucifer - 16-5-2004 at 20:52

As far am i'm concerned, distilling spirit over 50%abv is not a waste of time at all.
The ethanol that trickles out of my condensor ranges from 70-85%abv, of course i do not consume the alcohol as is!!
A simple mathematic equation and you can dilute the ethanol to any desired concentration. Therefore, higher percentages just results in larger volume of 35-50%abv spirits!
For polishing ethanol destined for use in neutral spirits, activated carbon performs the best. However, it addds no flavour as its role is to remove impurities and to render the ethanol 'neutral', ready for flavouring.
Charcoal is lovely for flavouring whisky and darker siprits...mmmm :D

Ramiel - 16-5-2004 at 21:26

With regards to the distilling camp: there is generally one school of thought only on the matter - for neutral spirits, pass it through a pot still a number of times (Why are you using a pot still for neutral spirits!), or pass it through a reflux still once or twice with a high reflux ratio. Basically, you want to pass it through roughly 6 to 8 plates of distillation. I can confirm that adding activated charcoal to the 'wodka' does remove flavors as unionised and Prince said.

Go ahead and still, I can almost garuntee that wodka will be swill if it comes off at 40% the first time - especially if the yeast hasn't been removed prior to distillation.

This isn't just a matter of opinion; If you need high purity ethanol, you must go as high as possible (or feasable), and then dilute with clean wather.


BASF - 17-5-2004 at 02:56

First at all: Thanks to the brewing camp :D


1)I used turbo yeast for wodka-brewing:

2)I used the proposed ratios on a 10L batch and followed the notes on temperature and the like.-So i think no grave errors here, at least.

I noticed then that fermentation seemed to proceed much too slowly...after 5 days @19-21 deg C (this is said to be the ideal brewing temperature for this kind of yeast) only 5% EtOH or so and still very sweet. - And yes, the solution of sugar was prewarmed(40-50deg C).

Lateron i noticed that the cover of my bucket was not completely airtight(that was the reason there were no bubbles in the U-pipe). - Although there was no smell of vinegar, i don´t know how much this also affects the formation of EtOH.

I did a comparative 30ml-batch in a measuring cylinder, with oil on the cover for air-exclusion, and it fermented as it should, with the 18% it should have had.
But similarly to the bigger batch, the yeast did not sink, not even after a week!
(milky liquid)

-So i think possibly there is at least a slight difference in beer-yeast and turbo-yeast.

FritzHaber - 17-5-2004 at 04:14

try aluminium sulfate, about 0,5-1,0g/L.
let it stand for about a day. majority of yeast should precipitate.
(of course, you'll take some probe as culture for next brewing, Al3+ isn't really something good for the yeast;)

[Edited on 17-5-2004 by FritzHaber]

Ramiel - 17-5-2004 at 04:32

I had a very similar experience with turbo yeast (big packet, rather expensive, claims amazing timeframe). The yeast failed to ferment through the sugars, and did not settle.

Try using champagne yeast (that is what I use these days for my cheapo ethanol). I was most disappointed when i found that a cheap run of the mill champagne or wine yeast would deliver in 7 to 10 days what a turbo yeast would never do. I s'pose I’ve grown to bear the pain or something... the 90% spirits help a lot.

Ooh, I just thought of a joke.
Q. Why are so many chemists alcoholics?
A. They think it'll solve their problems.

Good luck in the future, all you homebrewmeisters.

edit: On the topic of biochemistry: clearly the yeast has gone from multiplying it's numbers (using all available oxygen in the water and atm.), to the anerobic produciton of ethanol (well, it's a byproduct of metabolism, not the endproduct, but anyway) - so it hasn't stalled. It would be interesting to diagnose the reason for the yeast shutting down.

Perhaps someone with a more intimate knowledge of these amazing microbeings can identify the situations which make yeasts ceace metabolism. It probably has something to do with an unstable metabolism in these super-yeasts (or man made gene-freaks if you ask me...)

[Edited on 17-5-2004 by Ramiel]

unionised - 17-5-2004 at 15:36

Prince Lucifer;
if I ferment a kilo of sugar I get about half that weight of alcohol. It doesn't matter if I distill it at 50 % or I distill it at 100% then water it. Given that the losses are likely to be less with fewer distillations...

Anyway, I "heard somewhere" that you can usefully freeze out some of the water before distilling.

maxke - 24-5-2004 at 04:56

I don't know if this question is to be put here or not so kindly excuse me if it's not.

Sugars are primarily used to be as a fermentation reagent.

What other compounds can you use ? Do you need special yeast for it in that case ?

BASF - 24-5-2004 at 09:47

Does anybody know where i could get glucose-syrup(rather than hydrolizing starch with HCl i would just like to buy it:P)....i suppose this could be cheaper than always using crystallized sugar.
I hear that coca cola for instance uses glucose-syrup as cheap sweetener(?).

Ium - 24-5-2004 at 18:02

Glucose syrup is quite easily found at either pharmacies, health food stores and some supermarkets. Used as a sweetener and it has medicinal applications for infants.

Glucose being the sugar that is primarily used in the human metabolic cycle to produce energy. Most sugars that are easily absorbed are first converted to glucose in your body before being implemented. Thus it also found a use as a quickly absorbed energy suppliment.

You should not have much trouble finding it.

BASF - 25-5-2004 at 00:23

Thanks for the reply....the problem is that this glucose-syrup has to be dirt cheap to be used as main-glucose-source for brewing.
So brands used as sweeteners for cakes and energy-sweets usually sold in supermarkets in multi-100g-amounts are definitely too expensive.

PHILOU Zrealone - 25-5-2004 at 08:22

I have used a special kind of yeast...killer yeast for porto can go as high as 18% alcohol what means than for 10 liters fermented juice one can get 2 litters 90-96% alcohol.

Then it is worth to distillate.

About the yeast decantation usually one use bentonite clay...this is used for clarification of fermented juices.
Al(OH)3 is also good.

The main problem with yeast is that it floats because of the CO2 bubbles...
so you have various alternatives:

-To do nothing about it :o:o:o and simply do the distillation in a large enough container sothat it can foam and boil without too much troubles of going over the distillation settup.Usually one will to make a comfortable distillation and get as much control over it as he wants...fill the recipient with 1/2 to 2/3 fermented juice, not more...the critical step is the first 1/2 hours...but you have to stay arround; after an half hour, all the CO2 is away, the enzymes desactivated and refluxing enriched alcohol/water drops from the distillation collumn that will kill the foam.
One could use as sudds depressant silicone anti-sudds or more conveniently a natural oil like almond, corn,olive oil.

-Filtration through a cotton tissue (like socks - yeah it sucks ;)) it has worked nicely for me.

-The use of ultrasounds generator inside the batch will implo/explode yeast cells and so they will sink...foam might go up since the enzymes that are in the cell is set free in the surrounding.
Bubbles of CO2 will go out and foam will be killed by utrasonic waves.
--> bentonite or Al(OH)3 to go faster on decantation. Or filtration.

Final info:
For your next uses of fermentators, use alginate make a 1-2% sodium alginate solution in temperated and aerated tap water.Then gently admix 2% milk and 3% suggar with yeast at 25°C. Allow to rest then mix again by incorporating air in it.
Prepare a 1% CaCl2 solution at 25°C...the allow teh first batch to fall dropwise into the CaCl2 batch...upon contact Ca alginate gel forms imediately and you get gel dropsize balls full of activated yeast....No without too much delay introduce those balls inside the juice to be fermentated at the desired temperature and without air.
Once fermentation is done simply filtrate the balls and get the juice.Balls can be used inside the next batch after reactivation inside aerated/milk/suggar/temperated water.Those balls are reusable 3-5 times.

Last option is the continuous like process...yeast is grown into a porous inert media with air, physiological serum/suggar/milk...this porous media is then introduced in a tube with a filter at one end.You then get a flow of juice at one end at such a rate that the residence time in the reaction tube is >24 hours...fermentation occurs in the tube while the fluid goes by...oxygen gets very fast depleted and fermentation goes on..the front yeast evolves and is in favourable conditions to give activated offsprings that flows further.
Then you have filtration and fermentation at the same time :):D;):P:o:cool:
This process is used for some pils beer of low alcoholic %...but it has the advantage of being continuous and so continuous distillation setup can be introduced.


madscientist - 26-5-2004 at 00:17

Anyway, I "heard somewhere" that you can usefully freeze out some of the water before distilling.

Yes, and it works very well... you toss the ferment into the coldest freezer you can find in a metal bottle, and continue filtering out any ice until it won't freeze at all anymore. It's great for ferments you already like the flavor of (as it concentrates much of the flavor, not just the alcohol), and it also helps remove much of the dead yeast and other icky particles (the ice crystals tend to form around those).

fvcked - 26-5-2004 at 20:32

I did that once, with cheap rum. Tastes kind of "funky". Just decant the liquid into another vessel, I used stoppered erlenmyer flasks. And be patient, it takes longer to freeze the water out than if it were freazing normal water, but you knew that. And is it just me or does it really take longer for high concentration alcohols to "burn" your throat? I took a shot of my dads store bought 40% vodka and I noticed the burning right away, but with my other more potent stuff it took a while, did it numb my senses or something?

axehandle - 26-5-2004 at 21:09


other more potent stuff it took a while, did it numb my senses or something?

Most probably. I've drunk pure 96% industrial ethanol with denaturating agents; acetone, ethyl acetate and bitrex --- and gulping down 0.1 liters in one gulp was like swallowing burning thermite. Don't know if it was the ethanol or the other stuff. In hindsight, it was probably quite stupid, but hey, it was late and the beer was depleted....

Theoretic - 27-5-2004 at 05:15

Man, you could at least DILUTE it!

Ramiel - 27-5-2004 at 07:35

Haha! I love the taste and smell of really neutral undiluted spirits. Just in small quantities. You are more deserving of your name than I would ever have imagined axehandle :P bitrex :o

I don't know how much you know about chemistry, so don't be offended if I sound condescending.

Most sugars can be digested by yeasts, including dextrose, hydrolyzed starch ;), regular day to day table sugar, etc.
At a more chemical level, I think that pretty much all types of sugars (mono, di and poly-saccharides) can be metabolized (both the Aldoses and Ketoses of each of these groups), along with the Sugar alcohol.

I'm not too sure about sugar acids (gluconic acid) and amino sugars. I believe an excess in amines is bad for fermentation (just as a complete lack of any will result in no ferment (e.g. fibrin, egg yolk (people have been known to spit into their brew! :( ) etc.)). Certain mutant strains have been documented that digest (but probably not ferment) lipids, or so I hear.

Generally, however, industrial alcohol is made from corn... stuff. You could either hydrolyze the corn starch from your corn plantation, or just buy "High Fructose Corn Syrup", which is probably easier (you know, this division of labor thing! wonderful idea)

I believe also that hydrolysis is the function that 'Koji' (a mould culture introduced to the cooked rice prior to fermentation) performs on rice for the fermentation of rice-stuff to sake.

I know this post is badly written, I’m tired.
I know it probably doesn't belong here either.
But you can bite me.

- Ramiel

ps. The logical song! the birds, watching me! aarg.

PHILOU Zrealone - 27-5-2004 at 09:12

Tired so am I arround 2 am in front of my PC in the dark, laying on my bed...less convenient than at work to type my texts....that's the main reasons I make so much typos :(

Anyway, yes Axehandle the burning feeling comes mostly from the other components that are designed to avoid people like you ;) to drink cheap alcohol :P.
No just kidding...but I have had my lot of pure 90-96% ethanol since I always taste the distillat to have a feeling of its concentration and aroms...first fraction is often very bad taste and burning of taste (it contains aldehyds, cetons,and traces of methanol...) then you have the ethanol good taste (72-89°C)...You can drink it without troubles as compared to J&B or Walker Johnny because it has almost no taste...the moderate burning taste is only at the first swallowing...but you have to keep it a little in the mouth to feel all the aroms...I personnally did various fruits fermentation and I'm quite proud of my banana-passion-peach-mirabelle elixir....everybody that has tasted it say hey it is fruity...and indeed drinking it pure isn't a bad experience at all people ask for more...I can drink at ease 25 cl of the stuff...and it is 100% of what passes on second distillation at 75°C.

Fermentation of other stuffs yeah but you have to know what microorganism and under what conditions since it can give completely different results following the type of stress you induce on the environement of those tiny are their god ;););)...fermentation has been used in some chemical synthesis...
For example you can get D/L separation because bacterias only treat one of the forms.
Even petrol oil, polynitroaromatic explosive have their predators...those are used in bioremediation steps for ground/soil or water...

PHILOU Zrealone - 27-5-2004 at 09:14

If it is good taste, doesn't mean it is good for don't abuse.


axehandle - 27-5-2004 at 10:01


Man, you could at least DILUTE it!

I've tried that too, diluting it only makes it burn slightly less, it still tastes just as bad and you have to drink more....

I think that I, purely hypothetically since it's very illegal, am going to build a new still. If I have 3 batches of 30litres each fermenting in series and being fed to 2 or 3 Fantastic Still (r) devices, I should get about 20 litres of 98% alcohol/week. Now, that will barely suffice for my consumtion, so I'll probably have to use 4 or 5 fermenting tanks, and 4 passive stills...

Still, the industrial ethanol is lovely, just look how the artistically designed exclusive PE plastic bottle makes you CRAVE a sip...:

[Edited on 2004-5-27 by axehandle]

fvcked - 28-5-2004 at 01:28

No thank you, axehandle, that reminds me of my sulfuric acid bottle, yummy :P. Since we are talking about various alcohol related things: has anyone ever taken tea bags and coffee tea bag things and used that to flavor your brew? I did that the other night and could taste the burning, but I did notice it was still a relatively high content alcohol, since I later was falling all over the place.

Oh and does the start new topic and the reply button have to be that close? I almost started two new topics trying to get this post in here lol.

PHILOU Zrealone - 28-5-2004 at 08:13

Hasselt Koffie is a liquor made with coffee and it taste good but I guess it is only a strong coffee syrup enriched by freezing of water and mixed with alcool.

Although I have tasted a Belgian speciality made with lemon thee that was not bad at all.

In the past some old beers were "parfumated" with special thee and herbs/spices that gave resistance to microorganism but also specific taste.

Negrita Cacao Rhum is also a special kind of alcool/chocolate mix.

But all those are eudipian complex coming back ... with mother Liquor ...

[eudipian]x[complex]y.z[Mother LIQUOR]

Ohh suggar I LUV U

Not to annoy you Axehandle but it is hard to get 20 L ethanol from 30*3L in one week....because:
1°) Your batches must have the time to fermentate (and one week is a good delay to get a "good" yield based on the suggar involved.)
2°)If you don't use porto yeast wich can stay alive until 18% alcohol; then most likely your alcohol % will be between 3 and 12%...and so no mather the way you work it it is difficult to get that much alcohol 98% from this.
3°)To get the highest yield, you need to push distillation and collect all what distills between 72 and 95°C then your exhausted mother liquor will be almost free of alcohol...but your distillated alcohol must be rectified and enriched because it will hold at least 40% water and display a bad taste due to queue distillation products and head...wich must be separated....then and only then you get your final 96% alcohol (98 is only reached with a very long distillation collumn setup or by a further distillation.
4°)If you push distillation to fast then you will get more likely bad burned taste and a lot more distillation setup might also overflow.
5°)Cooling must follow the flow of hot 78°C alcohol; and believe me it uses a lot of tap water to get your alcohol well below 60°C (ideal is at 20°C or less).Ice is a solution but you will need a lot so preparation will take time.
6°)Heating 90L of water from 0 to refluxing takes time especially if you can't overburn it.
7°)Distillation takes time depending on the effective section of your distillation collumn, the amount of theorical plateau (lenght) (the longer the slowest but the best the separation).
To give you an idea:
For me to distill 50L with 10L flasks it took 4 days and a final day for purification (excluded fermentation (2 weeks) thus)....with a 60L beertank (inox) I could do it a little faster since I had no manipulations and transvasements to do-one shot distillation was achieved in two days and an extra day for purification...

Thus what you plan is physically and chemically impossible and not to say...SAFETY INADVISABLE...
Distillation gave a lot of ethanol vapours and it is a work of constant regulate temperature, reflux, cooling, changing receiving flasks...TASTING :P...and so after a few days without sleep...alcohol smell and ingested helping....with all the burned gases...SLEepy fellow may awake with a FIRE OR BOOM .

axehandle - 28-5-2004 at 08:47


No thank you, axehandle, that reminds me of my sulfuric acid bottle, yummy . Since we are talking about various alcohol related things: has anyone ever taken tea bags and coffee tea bag things and used that to flavor your brew? I did that the other night and could taste the burning, but I did notice it was still a relatively high content alcohol, since I later was falling all over the place.

No, but it's a good idea. I'm gonna try it.

PHILOU --- not picking apart your response, I'll just say: It was a joke. I don't drink 20 liters of 98% ethanol/week. Hardly ever anyway, more like 8.......
Your points are valid, though....

[Edited on 2004-5-28 by axehandle]

PHILOU Zrealone - 28-5-2004 at 09:24

I was speaking of experience of course...and this forum is also a mather of sharing experience...

So no problemo.

But stil to have 20 L pilot plant for ethanol is a good in Belgium drinkable alcool is 900% taxes...And even the simple personnal distillation is lucrative since you spear at least 100€/$ a year

Yeah so 25€ or 25$ per L while it only cost 2.5 without taxes in the supermarket of the european comissionners....those damned guys earn 3000 to 5000 €/$ per month and pay the alcohol cheaper than us...this might explain things move quite slowly inthere ;);););).

Anyway it is not really a good idea to put "fake" or "joke project" in serious treads...whimsy is there for that .And many people write or say "I have dreamed...." or "Purely therically..." but actually do....yes I know shhhhhhtttttt it's a secret....FBI,MI6, Interpol,CIA,KGB,Men In Black... are watching.....:P;):D:):cool:

If you was to live here you would spare almost 200*55 = 11000 $ at a rate of 8L/week ;)


axehandle - 28-5-2004 at 10:08

Well, here the alcohol tax is something like 1800%.

Seriously speaking though, I plan to set up 2 30-litre fermentation tanks, and 1 "Fantastic Still"-like device, to be used in a rotating schedule. I'm going to use (I've forgotten its name but it's great, I've used it before) a common genetically manipulated turbo yeast that makes 18..19% mash in 4 days.

So.... flow chart... eeeeh...

Fermenting tank #1 is finished when Still #1 is done from previous batch. FT #1 is then reloaded. When Still #2 is done with the batch from FT #1, FT #2 is done, and fed to Still #1. FT #2 is then reloaded, and FT #1 has about 2 days to go.

Meaning: every 2 days, 5.4 litres of 100% alcohol is ready (theoretical yield). This (considering that the passive still only makes about 40% CH3CH2OH in aq solution) could be fed to a second still. The result, no matter what, will have to be purified by means of activated carbon ofcourse.

The beauty is that the mini-factory only has to be run for periods, since the alcohol can easily be stored in aesthetically pleasing PP tanks.

This seems reasonable.

Or am I missing something really obvious here?


axehandle - 13-10-2004 at 16:39


I've made <b>this</b>, and it WORKS:

[Edited on 2004-10-14 by axehandle]

EtOH_still02.jpg - 30kB

axehandle - 15-10-2004 at 14:27

There we go.....

Cost of all hardware for the still + yiest and sugar + alcohol content measuring stick for the 1st batch: SEK900

Cost of the 4.5 litres of 50% vodka gotten from the 1st batch if bought legally: SEK1650

Very good, although much was lost in the carbon filter grrrrrrrr.

EDIT1: (SEK10 ~= €1)

EDIT2: (Mandatory joke)

[Edited on 2004-10-15 by axehandle]


MadHatter - 16-10-2004 at 18:31

Axehandle, that's nearly $48 in U.S. currency for a litre of vodka ! No wonder you're making
your own hooch ! We pay $8 - 10 a litre here ! And I thought the U.S. government was
greedy on their booze tax ! BTW, my still is a Destilabs stainless steel still, and you
guessed it - made in Sweden ! In your currency, based on average exchange rate,
that still cost me 1652 SEK, and well worth it ! An excellent example of a Swedish import !
I modified it by replacing the broken glass tubing in the reflux column with 6mm glass
beads. It puts out 190 proof easily as long as I keep the temperature in the reflux
column below 79 C. The thermometer that goes into the top of the reflux column is not
shown. I also modified the water flow through the condenser and reflux column for efficiency.


Picture enclosed:

D-STILL.jpg - 127kB


MadHatter - 16-10-2004 at 18:47

Sorry for the double-post but in trying to edit my last post it doesn't want to keep the
picture of my pretty still.

Just wanted to say that this reflux still holds 5 gallons.

Ramiel, I never tried the "turbo" yeast. Sounds like the results were very disappointing.
Is that the yeast sold by Gert Strand ? Personally, I like the ALLTECH SUPERSTART -
a great distiller's yeast. I like the LALVIN brands for anything I don't distill.

Everybody, listen to Ramiel - this is 1 very experienced distiller from the posts I've seen.

axehandle - 17-10-2004 at 09:24

Hmm, well, yes, hehe --- a stainless machine would obviously be much better but is out of the question for me for 2 reasons: Firstly, I don't know anyone with a TIG welder; and secondly, the water cooling would be audible at nights due to noise in the plumbing system, and I don't really fancy the idea of narrow-minded neighbours alerting the authorities to my... activities...

So for now, I'll settle for my air cooled system. The only real drawback is that it takes lots of time to distill a batch, air cooling really limits the power you can put through... still, approximately 2.25 liters of pure ethanol in 48 hours ain't bad.

I really love my plastic still. Those high-quality metal waterproof cable fitting are holding up much better than I thought they would. I'm attaching a picture of some of them where they're attached through the lid. To the right you can see one of the two leads to the immersion heater, inside a transparent PVC hose. I originally planned on using two immersion heaters but scrapped the idea, hence the extra cable fitting in the middle sealed with a wooden plug (there's another identical one outside the picture). At the bottom left you can see the digital thermometer probe going through that small cable fitting, and at the top left is where the copper cooling spiral enters the vessel.

fittings.jpg - 31kB

T_FLeX - 8-11-2004 at 12:41

Sup guys, haven’t posted in a while, but I do come and check out the forums every now and then, and after seeing this post I had to reply.

I myself have been distilling for just over 3 years (started in high school) and have gotten the personal production of alcohol down to a routine. I’m gonna give you the low down on how I make my shine.

First off, turbo yeast ownz. Except no substitutions. This stuff is care free, I throw 13 pounds of sugar into a bucket add the yeast packet and come back 3 days later. The yeast I use dies at the end of fermentation and settles to the bottom very nicely. I haven't had any problems with turbo yeast, I use gert strand from a distribution company here in the U.S. called brewhaus (around 4 bucks a pack)

I used to have a website with pictures of my still, but I’m currently having a hard time finding a place to host my stuff, you can try here but sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.

The still that I use to this day, is the keg still, I love it. I can distill 2 batches at one time (roughly 12 gallons) and I usually get almost 2 gallons of the good stuff. I don’t currently have a power control on the heating element so the reflux ratio is not perfect but I average around 80% consistently. Lol the digital thermometer I use right now is cluster fucked so I’m not really sure what temperature it comes off as, I just use it to tell me when the temperature changes( warning digital thermometers don’t do to well after being dropped in a fermentation bucket). The temperature will stabilize and give a consistent stream of 80% for around 4-5 hours then drop really quick then rise really quick. That lets me know its time to quit. Unfortunately, my still is not perfect, I would rather have 95% , but due to the ease of use and reliability I get already I don’t mind stickin with what I got.

The distillate. Now that I have my keg still the stuff I collect is pretty much uniform, it all has the same taste and strength. With my old still it seemed to taste different every time because I couldn’t control the temp as it came off, not allowing me to differentiate between the heads the body, and the tails.

The taste is of alcohol, not much else. I’ve read online forums saying the distillate of turbo yeast brewed sugar mashes taste bad. This is simply not true. It has no taste and it goes down smooth as hell. I usually mix it 50/50 with root beer (my favorite ).

To tell you the truth I think there is a conspiracy. Commercial alcohols do not even come close to my shine. My stuff has no taste, no side effects, it does not make me go blind, and most importantly it has never given me a hangover. Also my stuff seems to give off a lot better high.

Making your own stuff does save you a lot of money. The total cost of production is 15 bucks for 2 gallons of 80%. This does not however, include the power bill (I don’t pay it) but it would be 1500 watts times 5 hours. Compare this with the 20 bucks a liter of commercial stuff and you can see that the still will pay for itself in a few runs. To tell you the truth though I’m not even old enough to buy alcohol in my country, but I have been making my own for just over 3 years which makes me the youngest master distiller I have come across.

Ok...I think thats bout it....Let me know if you guys have any questions.

Harpoon - 23-11-2004 at 12:34

I've got a few questions that are partly related to brewing. What factors would affect the rate at which yeast respires? So far, I've thought of:
-concentration of the carbohydrate
-concentration of the surrounding medium
-the type of carbohydrate

Also, can yeast respire aerobically?

[Edited on 23-11-2004 by Harpoon]

chemoleo - 23-11-2004 at 13:45

There's a vast number of factors. You mentioned several, but also don't forget -

-Aeration (how efficiently you bubble the yeast, and how efficiently you remove the CO2))
-temperature (each species has an optimum)
-removal of products - i.e. CO2 or alcohol, for instance, which first slows, then stops growth beyond 15% or so (in the case of the latter)
-optimal growth medium - which would include the presence of vitamins, and of course depends on the type of nutrient too. Of course the conc. has to be
-resuppliment of furhter nutrients...

Anyway, yeast is aerobic, too. Check the 'hydrogen peroxide' thread, there is a bit more there.


MadHatter - 24-11-2004 at 01:06

Go to this link for Lallemand's yeast chart. I've always found it useful and I LOVE
their yeasts !

BTW, to my fellow U.S. members who bash Canadians, please refrain from busting
my balls on this 1 as Lallemand's partner here in Baltimore is Red Star Yeast !

If you look at the top of the chart, the type 43, also known as UVAFERM is a great
yeast. I ordered a kilo of it 2 years ago. It's kept in the refrigerator of course.
Between that 1 and the ALLTECH SUPERSTART, I never have a problem
getting a high % alcohol yield. I start with the ALLTECH and if it gets stuck, I let
UVAFERM finish it off !

Be aware that SUPERSTART and UVAFERM are not offered in the 5 gram sachets that
most brewers/distillers are accustomed to ! SUPERSTART is generally 1 LB and
UVAFERM is generally 500 grams. Too me, at least, these high quantity purchases
are well worth it !