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Re: Newbie question about fermentation and yeast

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  • Harry
    ... I came to an understanding about one item and have a question about another. ... fine. I know that some yeasts tolerate up to 20%abv, while bread yeast
    Message 1 of 7 , Feb 14, 2004
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      --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, Michael Horowitz
      <mhorowit@c...> wrote:
      > I've been reading the material at homedistiller.org and I believe
      I came to an understanding about one item and have a question about
      another.
      >
      > First - One person opines that for a sugar wash, bread yeast is
      fine. I know that some yeasts tolerate up to 20%abv, while bread
      yeast probable is killed at something lower (for this discussion,
      let's assume 10%abv). The lightbulb came on when I recognized that
      the alcohol produced (bread yeast) is no less pure in solution than
      the high-powered yeast, it just takes up only 10% of the volume; so,
      to distill out the same amount of alcohol, one would need to start
      off with twice as much sugar wash than if one used a high-powered
      yeast - am I correct?
      >
      > Second - In the same collection of articles, someone asked what
      would happen in a sugar wash if, when the fermentation began to
      slow, he added additional sugar. The reply was that was fine, just
      be sure to throw in nutrient as well. My question is - if
      fermentation begins to slow, it could be because the wash is
      reaching the ABV which is lethal for the yeast (again, let's assume
      bread yeast). If that were the case, then adding sugar and nutrient
      wouldn't do anything would it? - Mike


      Hi Mike,
      Answer to the first question:
      Alcohol is alcohol is alcohol, no matter which yeast produced it.
      Double the VOLUME of WASH = Double the volume of POTENTIAL
      recoverable alcohol. Your assumptions are absolutely correct. BTW,
      bread yeast can reach a potential of 14, and sometimes 16% abv. with
      careful methods, but 10% is a realistic figure to aim for when
      starting out, and if you intend to use bakers yeast. Set your wort
      to achieve that and you'll be fine.

      Answer to the second question:
      Adding sugar to a slowing ferment is simply another way of
      saying "step fermentation". This process requires that once a
      healthy colony of yeast is established, you continue to feed it
      sugar, WATER & nutrients until the yeast has run it's race, or until
      your fermenter won't hold any more liquid. You are again correct in
      that the slowing of the ferment usually signals the wort is
      approaching it's full potential of abv. If you add sugar, nutrients
      and NO WATER, you will likely stop the ferment altogether. Keep the
      ratio of additional sugar : water the same as your original starting
      ratio i.e. about 1 kg sugar to 3.5 or 4 litres water and add
      nutrients by ratio also.

      HTH

      Slainte!
      regards Harry
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