My First Sugar Wash!
- I wanted to share the recipe for my first sugar wash with the group.
It has yet to finish fermentation, but is progressing quite strongly.
I am quite excited and eagerly anticipating the end result!
To begin, I boiled 3 gallons of tap water, allowed it to cool and
drained it into a pre-sanitized (cleaned with a rinse free beer
brewer's cleanser and sanitized with rinse free iodophor sanitizer,
as were any piece of equipment to touch the unfermented wash) 5-
gallon glass carboy. This was the water which would be used to dilute
the finished wort.
Next, 1/2 pound of crushed, 6-row crystal malt barley and 1/4 pound
of enriched yellow ground corn meal were placed in a nylon fine mesh
steeping bag and allowed to steep in 1 gallon of 140 deg F tap water
for 90 minutes. They were then boiled for 45 minutes. Another gallon
of tap water was added and brought to boil.
When the mixture was boiling again, one 12-oz cone of piloncillo
oscuro (a cone-shaped unrefined Mexican brown sugar also known as
panela or panocha; see:
was added, as well as 2 pounds of regular brown sugar and 10 pounds
of white cane sugar (total 12.75lb or roughly 6 kg sugar) were added.
approximately 1 oz of lemon juice and 25-30 g of acid blend were
added to aid in the inversion of the sugar. The mixture was boiled
for 15 minutes. 25-30 g of general yeast nutrients (a mixture of
diammonium phosphate and food grade urea I bought from the local brew
shop) was then added. The wort was then placed in an ice-bath in the
kitchen sink and diluted with the 3 gallons of previously boiled
water originally set aside. One multi-vitamin tablet and two cups of
orange juice were added to aid nutrition of and prevent
compaction/autolysis of the yeast, respectively.
Two 5 g packets of Lavlin EC-1118 champagne yeast were rehydrated in
100 ml of boiled tap water that was allowed to cool to 104 deg F for
15 minutes. The yeast was then pitched into the 5 gallons of wort
when it reached approximately 85 deg F and stirred/aerated vigorously
with the sterilized handle of a stirring-spoon and bubbled through a
sterilized poly hose (my siphoning hose). After the bung and airlock
were placed onto the carboy, it began bubbling within 10-15 minutes
and hasn't stopped since.
Thanks for the opportunity to share! I am very excited to see how
this project finishes! Feel free to comment and let me know what you
think; I will post back when I'm done.
- sorry for my uneducated curiosity but what are you trying to make as
your finished product? The recipe sounds interesting but so
complicated for a simple high yield sugar wash. What are the
benefits to your choice of sugars, corn, etc? It seems you must be
going for a certain flavor in your finished spirit. Perhaps others
can explain also what the benefits of adding various ingredients to
the wash. Are the lemon, corn, multiple sugars in place of yeast
nutrients for a stable fermentation?
- --- In email@example.com, "gatesbox" <gatesbox@y...>
> sorry for my uneducated curiosity but what are you trying to makeas
> your finished product? The recipe sounds interesting but soGood question, for which I have a half-answer! The overall goal was
> complicated for a simple high yield sugar wash. What are the
> benefits to your choice of sugars, corn, etc? It seems you must be
> going for a certain flavor in your finished spirit. Perhaps others
> can explain also what the benefits of adding various ingredients to
> the wash. Are the lemon, corn, multiple sugars in place of yeast
> nutrients for a stable fermentation?
for a successful fermentation, but also to see what kind of flavor I
could yield from the wash. I'll be honest, I don't quite know what
flavor this will cook up. My first two runs were pure water, and the
third run I made was with 4 liters of 12% red wine and 350 ml of
nasty sugar cane brandy (some old bottle of Berretega Mexican sugar
cane brandy; tasted like bitter pecan shell). I was quite amazed how
much the flavor of the wine and brandy survived through the reflux
column and went into the final product. It was a sweet, strong
grappa/brandy tasting vodka. I would postulate that much of the
flavor of the wash will carry over through the run.
First, I would like to credit a few others' recipes and ideas.
Namely, Mikrobios' recipe, "Wine for Distilling," Dr. Legendre's "One
Dollar Wash" recipe, Tony Ackland for his wonderful webpage
and "Jack" for his numerous ideas. My recipe is a piecemeal of data
and ideas from these sources.
I used the 6-row crystal malted barley for it's starch, flavor and
acid buffering capacity. The corn meal was added for starch, flavor
and the thiamine (B-1) enrichment that is helpful to the yeast. I
used brown sugar and the Mexican unrefined "piloncillo" brown sugar
for flavor and nutrients not found in the pure white cane sugar.
Piloncillo is made from pure unrefined brown sugar and invert syrup.
The lemon juice provided valuable vitamins and citric acid, which
along with the Acid Blend (malic, citric, tartaric) helped to invert
the cane sugar (sucrose) during the 15 minute boil. The inverted
sugar is easier for the yeast to digest as opposed to straight
disolved sucrose. The yeast nutrient is self-explanatory, while the
orange juice also added vitamins, minerals and most importantly,
cellular structure (pulp) to aid the yeast in the end of fermentation
by preventing compaction and autolysis of the yeast. The multi-
vitamin tablet was just additional nutrient, but perhaps unneccesary.
It will be interesting to see what kind of flavor I'll get from the
wash. Primarily, I wanted to avoid a stuck fermentation. I'll be
honest, I was afraid that I had pitched the yeast when the wort was
too hot and all was for naught. I was very relieved when the
fermentation took off; it took off like a rocket too!
- Thanks, great explanation. I have been messing with my first
fermented turbo for quite some time and I still think that it has
some "off" odors after using the amazing still, then running through
a very simple pot still, and now a more sophisticated pot still that
is a mini me version inspired by brainselnoid's fine pot still. the
third time through I hit a nice 80% with very minimal odor/flavor.
But I still blame my sensitive odors on the original wash. I have
added some essences now and am waiting to see if they mask the
inperfections (top shelf classic rum, and TN whiskey w/ a bag of
I am encouraged now that you may be contributing to a better
flavored wash, good to know, let us know how it tastes out of the
Another question for the group, does traditional (i.e potato)wash
produce a more crisp vodka?
Have other folks had the same problem with residual turbo funkiness?
- --- In firstname.lastname@example.org, "gatesbox" <gatesbox@y...>
> Thanks, great explanation. I have been messing with my firstthrough the same problem with residual turbo funkiness? <<SNIP>>
> fermented turbo for quite some time and I still think that it has
> some "off" odors after using the amazing still, then running
I have a question for you regarding your "off" flavor and the turbo
wash. Did use activated carbon on your distillate to polish out the
odors? Another question I have regards the settling/fining of the
finished ferment. With my next fermentation I was going to use
straight sugar and turbo to see the difference. I noticed on the
directions a comment that due to the particular strain of yeast in
the turbo, filtering with a wine filter was necessary. It read that
the yeast would not settle naturally, but remain in suspension. From
what I've read, yeast in the boiler would contribute to "off" odors
and tastes in the distillate.
I'm wondering what the most efficient way of getting a clear wash
after fermentation. I have bentonite to fine the wash, but am
wondering if egg whites or some other clearing agent would be better
before siphoning wash off the yeast cake.
- Yes I think we may be talking about the same turbo. Liquor quick I
think was the brand. Anyway, it did not settle even after an ample
fermentation time (5 days) and I did not use a wine filter to filter
the yeast. The "off" flavor has been almost eliminated but it has
taken several runs as I said. I don't know how other clearing agents
will work, but If I was going to use a turbo again I would filter the
wash. I did use some charcoal but as per other strings in the group
I have not built a very good filter yet. I am hoping the slight
residual flavor/odor will be masked by essences and aging in oak.
Honestly I don't know if I would advocate turbo yeast. As I have
gained a bit more confidence in the distilling process producing a
totally neuteral spirit seems somewhat less attractive than
expirementing with whisky, schnapps, and other flavored spirits.
This is also why I have become more content with my stove top pot
- Gatesbox, Does your stove use an electric element or a gas burner and what is the volume of your pot still boiler? Thx, R.
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> Gatesbox, Does your stove use an electric element or a gas burnerand what is the volume of your pot still boiler? Thx, R.
I decided to bite the bullet and run it on the gas burner. I had
plenty of ventilation and decided to monitor the pot for leaks. By
the way I found that with six small clamps the seal on the metal to
metal lid to pot was better than when I tried to use tubing or other
seals. I bought a set of 4 Pots on ebay and use the largest 20qt
pot, the whole set was 19.99. I ran 3/4 inch copper out of the lid
to a long goose neck using 3 (120deg?) elbows twisted to conform to
a nice long angle. If you are interested I can share parts and
dimensions. It was very cheap (compared to reflux) and uses only
copper soldering, hose clamps and inexpensive pvc fittings for the
- Hell yes, I'd like some info. That sounds almost exactly what I had
in mind for my very first machine.
How do those clamps suit you? Any leaks? Do you flour/water paste
Let's say I make a great wort, like an 18%-er. What kind of yied
can one one expect with one batch in your still and ran through three
What's the lyne arm set to? That same angle you were talking about?
I am excited about this, for I have all but the boiler.
--- In email@example.com, "gatesbox" <gatesbox@y...>
> > Gatesbox, Does your stove use an electric element or a gas burnerother
> and what is the volume of your pot still boiler? Thx, R.
> I decided to bite the bullet and run it on the gas burner. I had
> plenty of ventilation and decided to monitor the pot for leaks. By
> the way I found that with six small clamps the seal on the metal to
> metal lid to pot was better than when I tried to use tubing or
> seals. I bought a set of 4 Pots on ebay and use the largest 20qt
> pot, the whole set was 19.99. I ran 3/4 inch copper out of the lid
> to a long goose neck using 3 (120deg?) elbows twisted to conform to
> a nice long angle. If you are interested I can share parts and
> dimensions. It was very cheap (compared to reflux) and uses only
> copper soldering, hose clamps and inexpensive pvc fittings for the