- Okey dokey. This afternoon, I will be starting another batch with the
alcobase kit. Before I begin, I'd like someone to tell me how to get
the highest alcohol from the batch. The last 2 batches came up VERY
SHORT and from about 6-1/2 gallons, got about 1 litre of product. The
temperature then started to jump. I think I'm following directions.
So, what the hell am I doing wrong?
- There could be a number of reasons why you are only getting a little
amount of alcohol. First you need to give us a little info.
What yeast are you using?
How long did you ferment?
what temperature did you ferment at?
What was the starting and eanding SG?
What was the proof of the final distillate?
What kind of wash/mash are you using?
If the mash tastes sweet, or the SG is still high, it isn't done
fermenting. If the temp was to high, it could have killed the yeast. If
you didn't use enough sugar, you aren't going to get much alcohol. We
need a little more info to help diagnose your problem.
--- In email@example.com, "Jane Doe" <laffingrrl@...>
> Okey dokey. This afternoon, I will be starting another batch with
> alcobase kit. Before I begin, I'd like someone to tell me how to getThe
> the highest alcohol from the batch. The last 2 batches came up VERY
> SHORT and from about 6-1/2 gallons, got about 1 litre of product.
> temperature then started to jump. I think I'm following directions.
> So, what the hell am I doing wrong?
- At 12:39 PM 12/06/2006, you wrote:
>The last 2 batches came up VERY SHORT and from about 6-1/2 gallons, gotHow much alcohol is in the wash before you start distilling it?
>about 1 litre of product. The temperature then started to jump. I think
>I'm following directions.
>So, what the hell am I doing wrong?
Your first step is to know that, by checking the wash with with a
hydrometer that's calibrated for it's low content.
There are a few things that could be wrong with your still, or the way
you're operating it, but most likely you don't have enough alcohol in the
wash to begin with, due to something wrong in the way you're fermenting.
The most common things with fermenting are; too little sugar, not enough
nutrients to go with the sugar.
If you have 1 liter of pure alcohol in a 2-liter wash, you'll get about 1
liter of alcohol out of it by distilling.
If you have 1 liter of pure alcohol in a 30-gallon wash, you'll get about 1
liter of alcohol out of it by distilling.
You might be using too little sugar, too few nutrients for the yeast, wrong
fermenting temp, not enough dissolved oxygen in the water, or a host of
Actually extracting the alcohol from it (distilling) is the simplest part.
MAKING the alcohol (or rather getting some kindly yeast to do it FOR you)
is where everything important happens... or doesn't.
Most turbo yeasts will die if the wash gets above about 86F. How
heat-tolerant a yeast is determines several factors (it's price among them).
Some tolerate more than 86F, and a lot of them tolerate less. Yeast creates
heat as it works, and extremely large washes can heat themselves to the
point of death, even when ambient temp is well below 86F.
Unless you're using a "Turbo" yeast, there need to be nutrients of some
kind added. Turbo yeasts contain everything you need, except sugar and
water. Sugar alone and yeast won't make the grade.
Yeast needs dissolved oxygen in the water. Most water that's never been
boiled has enough, especially if delivered through a kitchen faucet with an
aerator on it.
But More is Better. Some people use an "air stone" for a couple of hours in
the water that will be used to dilute the 2-3 gallons which is heated to
dissolve the sugar in.
You get them cheaply from pet stores that sell aquarium parts & supplies.
You need to add your sugar to water that's pretty hot. This will help it
dissolve, since you'll probably be using around 15 pounds of cane sugar for
a 6.5 gallon wash.
But you don't want to actually bring the water up to it's boiling-point, or
even very close to it, because just boiling it will throw out a lot of
If you make your wash with distilled water, it will have nearly no
dissolved oxygen, giving a low alcohol-yield, possibly down to zero. All
dissolved oxygen is removed by distilling, then a little is re-introduced
when the water is aerated by dripping into a container from a condenser, or
being jostled around. Not much, though.
And you don't want to keep dissolving oxygen in the wash AFTER it's begun
Yeast needs plenty of oxygen available when the fermenting begins, but
later in the process, that is a bad thing.
So you don't want to be aerating the wash with a bunch of stirring every
day. In fact, room air can be carrying wild yeast, etc. that you don't want
to introduce. Most people use an airlock on the fermenter, which lets
generated CO2 escape without any pressure build-up, but doesn't let outside
air freely enter.