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problems with a simple sugar mash

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  • sourkrout8165
    I m new to distilling but i have done my research i have made a couple runs already and getting some good stuff but I m having problems with my mash. I m using
    Message 1 of 9 , Jun 3, 2007
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      I'm new to distilling but i have done my research i have made a couple
      runs already and getting some good stuff but I'm having problems with
      my mash. I'm using 13 gallons of water and 25 lbs of sugar according
      to my math and the calcs. on home dist. of alc. i should be getting
      close to two gallons of alcohol when i cook it off to 90% when i mean
      close its a gallon and some change. i think its my water I'm using
      spring water thats high in calcium but on 2 of my mashes i boiled the
      water to settle the calcium and didn't add hardly any of the calcium
      and still got the same result my mash takes 4 to 5 weeks to ferment
      and when i run it i only get a half gallon of good product and i get
      another half gallon of the tails. i am using k-1 yeast, yeast
      nutrients and i have added baking soda on the last two mashes to
      neutralize the acid and seems to be getting the same result. any help
      would be greatly appreciated!!!!!
    • Harry
      ... Boiled water = reduced oxygen reduced oxygen = poor yeast performance poor yeast performance = less alcohol More research is required.
      Message 2 of 9 , Jun 3, 2007
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        --- -- In Distillers@yahoogroups.com, "sourkrout8165" <orange_baron65@...> wrote:

        >
        > I'm new to distilling but i have done my research i have made a couple
        > runs already and getting some good stuff but I'm having problems with
        > my mash. I'm using 13 gallons of water and 25 lbs of sugar according
        > to my math and the calcs. on home dist. of alc. i should be getting
        > close to two gallons of alcohol when i cook it off to 90% when i mean
        > close its a gallon and some change. i think its my water I'm using
        > spring water thats high in calcium but on 2 of my mashes i boiled the
        > water to settle the calcium and didn't add hardly any of the calcium
        > and still got the same result my mash takes 4 to 5 weeks to ferment
        > and when i run it i only get a half gallon of good product and i get
        > another half gallon of the tails. i am using k-1 yeast, yeast
        > nutrients and i have added baking soda on the last two mashes to
        > neutralize the acid and seems to be getting the same result. any help
        > would be greatly appreciated!!!!!
        >

         

        Boiled water = reduced oxygen
        reduced oxygen = poor yeast performance
        poor yeast performance = less alcohol

        More research is required.

        http://homedistiller.org
        http://distillers.tastylime.net/library/
        http://groups.yahoo.com/group/new_distillers/msearch?query=oxygen+yeast&submit=Search&charset=windows-1252

      • Trid
        ... There s a lot of questions regarding your procedure, but first and foremost, get a hydrometer. If you can measure the specific gravity before fermentation
        Message 3 of 9 , Jun 3, 2007
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          --- sourkrout8165 <orange_baron65@...> wrote:

          > I'm new to distilling but i have done my research i have made a couple
          > runs already and getting some good stuff but I'm having problems with
          > my mash. I'm using 13 gallons of water and 25 lbs of sugar according
          > to my math and the calcs. on home dist. of alc. i should be getting
          > close to two gallons of alcohol when i cook it off to 90% when i mean
          > close its a gallon and some change. i think its my water I'm using
          > spring water thats high in calcium but on 2 of my mashes i boiled the
          > water to settle the calcium and didn't add hardly any of the calcium
          > and still got the same result my mash takes 4 to 5 weeks to ferment
          > and when i run it i only get a half gallon of good product and i get
          > another half gallon of the tails. i am using k-1 yeast, yeast
          > nutrients and i have added baking soda on the last two mashes to
          > neutralize the acid and seems to be getting the same result. any help
          > would be greatly appreciated!!!!!

          There's a lot of questions regarding your procedure, but first and foremost,
          get a hydrometer. If you can measure the specific gravity before fermentation
          and after fermentation, you can be much closer to certain of how much distilled
          product you can expect in the end.
          Second: Stop with the baking soda. Yeast likes an acidic environment. Invest
          in some inexpensive pH testing strips to get a ballpark idea of what the pH of
          your wash is...if you're using rough measurement, shoot for between 5 and 6.

          You should get a *LOT* more than a sum total of one gallon of hearts and tails.
          Check also your cutting criteria...if you stop collecting too soon, you can be
          wasting valuable spirit and thus reducing your net product.

          Are you using a pot or reflux still? This too affects your method and criteria
          for collection.

          Hopefully this helps in the right direction.
          Trid
          -back from Portland, land of microbrews and microstills
        • Trid
          ... Oh yeah...and this too (totally spaced it). If you are boiling your water prior to fermentation, you need Need NEED to aerate it to replenish the oxygen.
          Message 4 of 9 , Jun 3, 2007
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            --- Harry <gnikomson2000@...> wrote:
            >
            > Boiled water = reduced oxygen
            > reduced oxygen = poor yeast performance
            > poor yeast performance = less alcohol

            Oh yeah...and this too (totally spaced it). If you are boiling your water
            prior to fermentation, you need Need NEED to aerate it to replenish the oxygen.
            When you pitch your yeast it has to multiply first (which requires O2) and
            build sufficient population to ferment (after the O2 is depleted) efficiently.

            > More research is required.
            >
            > http://homedistiller.org <http://homedistiller.org>
            > http://distillers.tastylime.net/library/
            > <http://distillers.tastylime.net/library/>
            > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/new_distillers/msearch?query=oxygen+yeast&\
            > submit=Search&charset=windows-1252
            > <http://groups.yahoo.com/group/new_distillers/msearch?query=oxygen+yeast\
            > &submit=Search&charset=windows-1252>

            ...and this too :)

            Trid
            -not looking forward to going back to work
          • cadence22003
            sourkrout,,good start,, but if i could add to both TRID and HARRY S excellent advice i ll bet my new porsche,,[i wish ] that your wash is not warm enough and
            Message 5 of 9 , Jun 4, 2007
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              sourkrout,,good start,, but if i could add to both TRID and HARRY'S
              excellent advice

              i'll bet my new porsche,,[i wish ] that your wash is not warm enough
              and more likely although you are adding yeast and nutrient no-where
              near enough is being pitched

              5 x weeks to attenuate ? struth !!!

              what is your temp. ? and of course it is best kept constant

              what weight in grams [or ounces]of yeast are you pitching ?

              what weight in grams [or ounces] of yeast nutrient are you pitching ?

              please tell us a little more about the yeast and the yeast nutrient

              have you considered molasses as an alternative to yeast nutrient ,,say
              a ratio of 25 % molasses to 75% sugar

              your mash bill ratio at circa 12kg sugar to circa 50 litres of water
              is well inside "tidy" ratio

              those links in harry and trid's replies are invaluable use
              them-congratulations on choosing distilling as a hobby ,,better than
              building an ant farm

              don't skimp,,,,,,,skimps are nasty bastards of animals they come back
              to bite you,,,and the pain and agony is usually in the hip pocket ==
              OUCH !!!!!!!!!

              keep up the good work and thankyou for getting my brain out of the cobwebs

              brian



              --- In Distillers@yahoogroups.com, "sourkrout8165"
              <orange_baron65@...> wrote:
              >
              > I'm new to distilling but i have done my research i have made a couple
              > runs already and getting some good stuff but I'm having problems with
              > my mash. I'm using 13 gallons of water and 25 lbs of sugar according
              > to my math and the calcs. on home dist. of alc. i should be getting
              > close to two gallons of alcohol when i cook it off to 90% when i mean
              > close its a gallon and some change. i think its my water I'm using
              > spring water thats high in calcium but on 2 of my mashes i boiled the
              > water to settle the calcium and didn't add hardly any of the calcium
              > and still got the same result my mash takes 4 to 5 weeks to ferment
              > and when i run it i only get a half gallon of good product and i get
              > another half gallon of the tails. i am using k-1 yeast, yeast
              > nutrients and i have added baking soda on the last two mashes to
              > neutralize the acid and seems to be getting the same result. any help
              > would be greatly appreciated!!!!!
              >
            • Andrew Bugal
              Trid has a good point, notable... check your cuts . Not a few of us amateurs have been schooled initially in the thought of where the good stuff starts to come
              Message 6 of 9 , Jun 4, 2007
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                Trid has a good point, notable..."check your cuts".
                 
                Not a few of us amateurs have been schooled initially in the thought of where the good stuff starts to come out of the reflux still based on temperature.
                 
                For example, we started eyeballing the activity when the thermometer hit 79 degrees C and start to draw (after foreshots and heads collection) at around 82 degrees C.
                 
                However, I find that from 82 degrees up to about 90 is where the hearts are.
                 
                Give it time and if using a reflux still, let the equipment work.  I find that at least 1.5 hours of refluxing from 79 degrees before you draw the foreshots and the heads is a good average.  Remember, every still is different and the column length and diameter as well as the efficiency of the condensor and the heating temperature once you have reflux will affect your product so what I say is not a hard and fast rule - it depends on your equipment.  However, it is a pretty general rule.
                 
                I am a manual distiller.  I do not have a management head and like some of the despicables in here take my cuts by taste (that is, start to seriously collect for drinking product that tastes good and smells good and will not offend anybody when cut into drinkable spirits).
                 
                Just a thought.
                 
                Regards,
                 
                Bwyze

                Trid <triddlywinks@...> wrote:
                --- sourkrout8165 <orange_baron65@ hotmail.com> wrote:

                > I'm new to distilling but i have done my research i have made a couple
                > runs already and getting some good stuff but I'm having problems with
                > my mash. I'm using 13 gallons of water and 25 lbs of sugar according
                > to my math and the calcs. on home dist. of alc. i should be getting
                > close to two gallons of alcohol when i cook it off to 90% when i mean
                > close its a gallon and some change. i think its my water I'm using
                > spring water thats high in calcium but on 2 of my mashes i boiled the
                > water to settle the calcium and didn't add hardly any of the calcium
                > and still got the same result my mash takes 4 to 5 weeks to ferment
                > and when i run it i only get a half gallon of good product and i get
                > another half gallon of the tails. i am using k-1 yeast, yeast
                > nutrients and i have added baking soda on the last two mashes to
                > neutralize the acid and seems to be getting the same result. any help
                > would be greatly appreciated! !!!!

                There's a lot of questions regarding your procedure, but first and foremost,
                get a hydrometer. If you can measure the specific gravity before fermentation
                and after fermentation, you can be much closer to certain of how much distilled
                product you can expect in the end.
                Second: Stop with the baking soda. Yeast likes an acidic environment. Invest
                in some inexpensive pH testing strips to get a ballpark idea of what the pH of
                your wash is...if you're using rough measurement, shoot for between 5 and 6.

                You should get a *LOT* more than a sum total of one gallon of hearts and tails.
                Check also your cutting criteria...if you stop collecting too soon, you can be
                wasting valuable spirit and thus reducing your net product.

                Are you using a pot or reflux still? This too affects your method and criteria
                for collection.

                Hopefully this helps in the right direction.
                Trid
                -back from Portland, land of microbrews and microstills

                Send instant messages to your online friends http://au.messenger.yahoo.com

              • Trid
                ... My money is on oxygen and pH...mostly O2. ... Allowing the yeast to multiply madly in the first day or so makes all the difference in the rate at which the
                Message 7 of 9 , Jun 4, 2007
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                  --- cadence22003 <cadence22003@...> wrote:

                  > sourkrout,,good start,, but if i could add to both TRID and HARRY'S
                  > excellent advice
                  >
                  > i'll bet my new porsche,,[i wish ] that your wash is not warm enough
                  > and more likely although you are adding yeast and nutrient no-where
                  > near enough is being pitched

                  My money is on oxygen and pH...mostly O2.

                  > 5 x weeks to attenuate ? struth !!!

                  Allowing the yeast to multiply madly in the first day or so makes all the
                  difference in the rate at which the ferment occurs. Yeast can only consume so
                  much sugar per critter. More critters, higher rate of consumption. What you
                  pitch is only the beginning, not the total amount yeast that you're trying to
                  put to work.

                  > what is your temp. ? and of course it is best kept constant
                  >
                  > what weight in grams [or ounces]of yeast are you pitching ?
                  >
                  > what weight in grams [or ounces] of yeast nutrient are you pitching ?
                  >
                  > please tell us a little more about the yeast and the yeast nutrient
                  >
                  > have you considered molasses as an alternative to yeast nutrient ,,say
                  > a ratio of 25 % molasses to 75% sugar
                  >
                  > your mash bill ratio at circa 12kg sugar to circa 50 litres of water
                  > is well inside "tidy" ratio

                  Seconded...all valuable details to the process. I had no idea there were so
                  many possible variables when I first struck out on this hobby.

                  > those links in harry and trid's replies are invaluable use
                  > them-congratulations on choosing distilling as a hobby ,,better than
                  > building an ant farm

                  I will confess to having an odd liking for ant farms :) I just fear the
                  possibility of them getting out in my house *twitch*

                  > don't skimp,,,,,,,skimps are nasty bastards of animals they come back
                  > to bite you,,,and the pain and agony is usually in the hip pocket ==
                  > OUCH !!!!!!!!!

                  This is a double edged sword. After you get a few batches under your belt
                  while improvising (versus "skimp"), it will make a noticeable difference when
                  you apply that part of the experience to doing subsequent batches all the way,
                  without improvising. You may not get a stellar result now, but each run is a
                  building block to subsequent improved batches.

                  > keep up the good work and thankyou for getting my brain out of the cobwebs
                  >
                  > brian

                  Likewise,
                  Trid
                • sourkrout8165
                  im using a yeast slurry i use 2 to 3 packets 5 grams and i start it about 2 to 3 days before i make my mash and then i add it to it. my yeast nutrients is
                  Message 8 of 9 , Jun 4, 2007
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                    im using a yeast slurry i use 2 to 3 packets 5 grams and i start it
                    about 2 to 3 days before i make my mash and then i add it to it. my
                    yeast nutrients is fermaid K i add a gram for every gallon what the
                    label says. when i add my yeast it only takes about a day for it to
                    start to bubble the airlock. i dont know about the O2 it could be but
                    i didnt boil every mash it was my first experiment after my first 3
                    mashes had the same problems. the temp. around here has been in the
                    80's and at night the 70's. should i try a fish aerator in the mash
                    for a few hours before i add the yeast?

                    --- In Distillers@yahoogroups.com, Trid <triddlywinks@...> wrote:
                    >
                    > --- cadence22003 <cadence22003@...> wrote:
                    >
                    > > sourkrout,,good start,, but if i could add to both TRID and HARRY'S
                    > > excellent advice
                    > >
                    > > i'll bet my new porsche,,[i wish ] that your wash is not warm enough
                    > > and more likely although you are adding yeast and nutrient no-where
                    > > near enough is being pitched
                    >
                    > My money is on oxygen and pH...mostly O2.
                    >
                    > > 5 x weeks to attenuate ? struth !!!
                    >
                    > Allowing the yeast to multiply madly in the first day or so makes
                    all the
                    > difference in the rate at which the ferment occurs. Yeast can only
                    consume so
                    > much sugar per critter. More critters, higher rate of consumption.
                    What you
                    > pitch is only the beginning, not the total amount yeast that you're
                    trying to
                    > put to work.
                    >
                    > > what is your temp. ? and of course it is best kept constant
                    > >
                    > > what weight in grams [or ounces]of yeast are you pitching ?
                    > >
                    > > what weight in grams [or ounces] of yeast nutrient are you pitching ?
                    > >
                    > > please tell us a little more about the yeast and the yeast nutrient
                    > >
                    > > have you considered molasses as an alternative to yeast nutrient ,,say
                    > > a ratio of 25 % molasses to 75% sugar
                    > >
                    > > your mash bill ratio at circa 12kg sugar to circa 50 litres of water
                    > > is well inside "tidy" ratio
                    >
                    > Seconded...all valuable details to the process. I had no idea there
                    were so
                    > many possible variables when I first struck out on this hobby.
                    >
                    > > those links in harry and trid's replies are invaluable use
                    > > them-congratulations on choosing distilling as a hobby ,,better than
                    > > building an ant farm
                    >
                    > I will confess to having an odd liking for ant farms :) I just fear the
                    > possibility of them getting out in my house *twitch*
                    >
                    > > don't skimp,,,,,,,skimps are nasty bastards of animals they come back
                    > > to bite you,,,and the pain and agony is usually in the hip pocket ==
                    > > OUCH !!!!!!!!!
                    >
                    > This is a double edged sword. After you get a few batches under
                    your belt
                    > while improvising (versus "skimp"), it will make a noticeable
                    difference when
                    > you apply that part of the experience to doing subsequent batches
                    all the way,
                    > without improvising. You may not get a stellar result now, but each
                    run is a
                    > building block to subsequent improved batches.
                    >
                    > > keep up the good work and thankyou for getting my brain out of the
                    cobwebs
                    > >
                    > > brian
                    >
                    > Likewise,
                    > Trid
                    >
                  • Tony Smith
                    I had problems with the first couple of washes I tried. Nothing seemed to work. So I set up two 1 gallon washes. Number one was with city tap water. Number two
                    Message 9 of 9 , Jun 4, 2007
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                      I had problems with the first couple of washes I tried. Nothing seemed to work. So I set up two 1 gallon washes.
                       
                      Number one was with city tap water.
                      Number two was with distilled water.
                       
                      Number one turned out to be a dud.
                      Number two worked.
                       
                      So then I distilled the city tap water and reran another wash. It worked.
                       
                      So, at this point, this is what works for me.
                       
                      4 gal wash
                      6 lbs (96 oz) sugar dissolved in 2 - 1 gal batches of distilled water heated to 90-100 deg F
                      add 4 crushed B1 tablets
                       
                      This is then poured into a 5 gal bucket and
                      aerated for 1 - 2 hours with an aquarium pump
                       
                      Add 6 oz tomato paste
                      Add 4 tablespoons lemon juice (1 TBS/Gal)
                      Stir well
                       
                      I take about 12-14oz of the above wash and heat it in the microwave to
                      110 - 115F then add 10 teaspoons of bakers yeast making sure it is well stirred and bubbling
                      10 minute wait
                       
                      While waiting for the yeast I add half the wash to the 5 gal fermenter.
                      When the yeast is ready I add it to the fermenter and then the second half of the wash
                      This seems to provide a nice mixing of yeast and wash then top off the fermenter with more distilled water.
                       
                      I then add an aquarium heater and wrap the top of the fermenter with a cloth and keep it in place with a good strong rubber band.
                       
                      Plug the heater in and wait for the bubbling to start!
                       
                      I will continue to experiment somewhat in the future but this is working right now for me and as I continue to change the mix, I am going to change only one thing at a time to see what works and what fails.
                       
                      Happy Drinking!
                       
                       


                      sourkrout8165 <orange_baron65@...> wrote:
                      im using a yeast slurry i use 2 to 3 packets 5 grams and i start it
                      about 2 to 3 days before i make my mash and then i add it to it. my
                      yeast nutrients is fermaid K i add a gram for every gallon what the
                      label says. when i add my yeast it only takes about a day for it to
                      start to bubble the airlock. i dont know about the O2 it could be but
                      i didnt boil every mash it was my first experiment after my first 3
                      mashes had the same problems. the temp. around here has been in the
                      80's and at night the 70's. should i try a fish aerator in the mash
                      for a few hours before i add the yeast?

                      --- In Distillers@yahoogro ups.com, Trid <triddlywinks@ ...> wrote:
                      >
                      > --- cadence22003 <cadence22003@ ...> wrote:
                      >
                      > > sourkrout,,good start,, but if i could add to both TRID and HARRY'S
                      > > excellent advice
                      > >
                      > > i'll bet my new porsche,,[i wish ] that your wash is not warm enough
                      > > and more likely although you are adding yeast and nutrient no-where
                      > > near enough is being pitched
                      >
                      > My money is on oxygen and pH...mostly O2.
                      >
                      > > 5 x weeks to attenuate ? struth !!!
                      >
                      > Allowing the yeast to multiply madly in the first day or so makes
                      all the
                      > difference in the rate at which the ferment occurs. Yeast can only
                      consume so
                      > much sugar per critter. More critters, higher rate of consumption.
                      What you
                      > pitch is only the beginning, not the total amount yeast that you're
                      trying to
                      > put to work.
                      >
                      > > what is your temp. ? and of course it is best kept constant
                      > >
                      > > what weight in grams [or ounces]of yeast are you pitching ?
                      > >
                      > > what weight in grams [or ounces] of yeast nutrient are you pitching ?
                      > >
                      > > please tell us a little more about the yeast and the yeast nutrient
                      > >
                      > > have you considered molasses as an alternative to yeast nutrient ,,say
                      > > a ratio of 25 % molasses to 75% sugar
                      > >
                      > > your mash bill ratio at circa 12kg sugar to circa 50 litres of water
                      > > is well inside "tidy" ratio
                      >
                      > Seconded...all valuable details to the process. I had no idea there
                      were so
                      > many possible variables when I first struck out on this hobby.
                      >
                      > > those links in harry and trid's replies are invaluable use
                      > > them-congratulation s on choosing distilling as a hobby ,,better than
                      > > building an ant farm
                      >
                      > I will confess to having an odd liking for ant farms :) I just fear the
                      > possibility of them getting out in my house *twitch*
                      >
                      > > don't skimp,,,,,,, skimps are nasty bastards of animals they come back
                      > > to bite you,,,and the pain and agony is usually in the hip pocket ==
                      > > OUCH !!!!!!!!!
                      >
                      > This is a double edged sword. After you get a few batches under
                      your belt
                      > while improvising (versus "skimp"), it will make a noticeable
                      difference when
                      > you apply that part of the experience to doing subsequent batches
                      all the way,
                      > without improvising. You may not get a stellar result now, but each
                      run is a
                      > building block to subsequent improved batches.
                      >
                      > > keep up the good work and thankyou for getting my brain out of the
                      cobwebs
                      > >
                      > > brian
                      >
                      > Likewise,
                      > Trid
                      >



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