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43795Re: [new_distillers] Re: Total Newbie here

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  • Bob Glicksman
    May 9, 2013

      Here are couple of additional tips:

      1.  Thoroughly clean and sterilize your equipment before making your wash and pitching your yeast.  Bacterial infection can cause the yeast to die before they take hold.

      2.  I always prepare a "yeast starter", a few hours ahead of main fermentation, as follows:  put 1/2 cup of water in a pyrex measuring cup and boil it in the microwave.  Stir in 2 tblsp of table sugar until completely dissolved and leave it to cool down to the temperature that the yeast provider specifies for rehydrating the yeast.  Add the yeast and stir well.  Cover loosely with wax paper and give a good stir every 15 minutes or so for 1 - 2 hours.  At this time, the sugar-water should be very cloudy with a nice head of foam at the top (this indicates that you have very healthy and robust rehydrated yeast).  When your big sugar-water wash is ready, add the yeast starter to it.  I have made many batches of wine and fuel ethanol from waste material this way and I have never had a failure of the main fermentation. Very occasionally, the yeast starter will fail -- so I just mix up another batch without compromising the wash.

      3.  When pitching the yeast or yeast starter, stir really well.  Loosely cover the fermentation vessel (no airlock yet) and give another good stir after 1 - 2 hours.  At this point, you should see a lot of foaming action from the yeast.  Now install the tightly fitting cover with the airlock for the main fermentation.

      4.  Make sure that you have LOTS of headroom in your main fermenter, as this procedure will more likely than not create very robust fermentation, with lots of foaming action.  Too little headroom and it will foam right out of the bucket/airlock and make a big mess (yes, I've had this happen to me too - with plum juice, no less!).

      Yeast has a complex lifecycle.  When yeast can feed on sugar in an oxygenated environment (aerobically), the yeast will reproduce wildly.  When the oxygen is depleted, the yeast will stop reproducing and make lots of alcohol.  The point of these tips is to get the yeast propagating aerobically so that it is strong and healthy and well acclimated to the wash prior to main fermentation.

      One last tip:  make sure that the yeast is turboyeast if you are using a sugar-water wash, unadulterated.  Turboyeast contains important yeast nutrients that are not found in plain old table sugar.  Turboyeast is also bred for the relatively neutral pH of sugar-water.  If you use wine yeast, brewers yeast, or even distillers yeast, you may need to add DAP nutrient to the wash and perhaps even a little acid (citric or otherwise) to lower the pH to make the yeast happier.

      Good luck,

      -----Original Message-----
      From: Jeffrey Embry <jeffrey.embry@...>
      To: new_distillers <new_distillers@yahoogroups.com>
      Sent: Thu, May 9, 2013 4:19 pm
      Subject: Re: [new_distillers] Re: Total Newbie here

      I will do that when I get home this evening.  I think the temp in the room is around is around 75 degreesbut haven't looked at the thrermometer.  I do have a fairly strong flashlight...so we shall see.  I am not opposed to learning from failure.

      On Thu, May 9, 2013 at 9:52 AM, local yokel <stridemiester@...> wrote:
      I don't see a reference to tempature in your post. The yeast packet will have maximum pitching temp and suggested fermenting temp. Both are important to monitor. If it's too cool things will happen very slowly or not at all. Most yeasts will take off fairly well at 75 to 80F. You can shine a strong flashlight beam into the wash and you should see some movement of bubbles. If not you will probably need give us the exact procedure and ingredients you used so we can help you troubleshoot why it's not going.

      --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, Jeffrey Embry <jeffrey.embry@...> wrote:
      > Good Morning,
      > Perhaps I am being a bit impatient, but have a question. Last night I
      > started my first batch of wash. For 2 gallons of wash I used water, 4 lbs
      > sugar and threw in a can of frozen welches grape juice (concentrate). Put
      > in a packet of turbo yeast. Sealed the bucket and put the air lock on.
      > This morning I noticed no apparent activity. So my question is how long
      > should I wait befor seeing something happening?
      > I am extremely new to this, and don't have high expectations from my first
      > batch...but have the time to learn.
      > Thanks,
      > Jeff

      Jeff Embry, K3OQ
      ARCI #11643, FPQRP #-696,
      QRP-L # 67, NAQCC #25, ARS #1733
      AMSAT LM-2263

      Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.  - Sir Winston Churchill
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