sugar wash

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william1

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I am new to distilling, started 2 buckets 5 gal each been fermenting for 10 days now and have
15 reading 0n refractometor. bubbling has slowed to 5sec/bubble.
tanks bill






I
 

doug293cz

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A refractometer does not give accurate readings once alcohol is present (they read too high), but you can still use the refractometer to determine when fermentation is complete. Just take readings two days apart. When the reading doesn't change anymore, fermentation is done. To get an accurate specific gravity reading, you need to use a hydrometer when alcohol is present.

There are refractometer correction calculators for use in beer brewing that give moderate accuracy, but beer wort is different than a sugar wash, so I don't know how well they would work. I also don't know if there are any such calculators specifically for sugar washes.

Brew on :mug:
 
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william1

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at 77 I think trying to distill ethanol I bit off more then I can chew. a more diffacult task is to build 1 gallon barrels
 

golfindia

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If the gravity is high after 10 days, check the pH. Plain sugar washes can crash to about 2.5-3 and may need something to get the pH up in order to finish. Calcium carbonate will donthis. Some sugar recipes I have seen include lemon juice. Don't add that unless you have a reason to....
 

Shine0n

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77's the new 40:)

Sugar washes are notorious for ph crashes, that's why folk use calcium to buffer and nutrients to help feed the yeasties.
This isn't beer so dip a finger in there and taste it, if its dry then it's done and if it's sweet then you may have a problem with ph and it'll need some adjustments.

What kind of still are you going to run?
 
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william1

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77's the new 40:)

Sugar washes are notorious for ph crashes, that's why folk use calcium to buffer and nutrients to help feed the yeasties.
This isn't beer so dip a finger in there and taste it, if its dry then it's done and if it's sweet then you may have a problem with ph and it'll need some adjustments.

What kind of still are you going to run?
I am running a reflux still made from a 25 gal beer keg,2.5" copper pipe to a 3" copper pipe and then to a condenecer with copper mesh and rasching rings
 

Shine0n

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Damn man, lotsa vodka!)
I hope you mean the rasching rings and mesh are in the column not the condenser although some folks use mesh in a liebig condenser to eliminate huffing.

Good luck mate, sounds like you have a good setup and should make some fine voddy
 

NinjaBear

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From a brewer’s standpoint, if it still tastes sweet, rack it off into a secondary and pour a freshly prepared sugar wash onto the yeast cake.

Moving to a clean environment combined with the oxygen that will be added in racking can reinvigorate the active yeast to finish it off.

And that yeast cake will provide the yeast you need for your next fermentation and have a fair amount of nutrients from dead yeast for them to cannibalize to make the next batch a stronger fermentation.

You can keep this 1-2 process going so long as you’re making the same product and don’t get any off flavors in the primary.
 
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A couple of things to add if I may. When doing all sugar washes like others have mentioned can be odd because they do have a tendency to drop the PH and stall out the fermentation. We have not seen this very much anymore if 2 factors have been accounted for.
Factor #1 proper pitch rates. Most people WAY under pitch their all sugar washes. So adding MORE yeast upfront is a good way to combat this.
Factor #2 is Nutrition You want to make sure you are adding a good nutrient that is void of DAP (diammonium phosphate)
and you should be good.
Watching the PH levels once the wash is started is great when you run into problems. I would do everything I can to mitigate the problems to start with.

Great comments guys!


Cheers
Jay
 

golfindia

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Another economical way to kickstart a sugar wash is to make a grain/corn mini- mash and add the remaining sugar volume on top of it. The malted grain/corn liquor will have enough good stuff in it for the yeast to go through all the sugar. Using beersmith to do gravity calcs makes it easy to get correct volumes. Or so I've been told.....
 

bracconiere

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something i didn't see mentioned was that most yeast can only ferment to around 12-14% before killing themselves....when i was fermenting sugar, i always did wheat germ boils for nutrients also.
 

Shine0n

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Most all ferments at 12-14% will be hot as hell with a sugar wash.

all my ag mashes are .065-.075 and the taste is awesome.
I tend to stick around those abv's with sugar washes too.

Great point about the ph drop! My solution is drop a hand full of crushed oyster shells in the ferment on the day after pitch or the day of, either way buffers from ph drop.

Over pitch is fine but under will create nasties you don't want in a drink and bread yeast is so cheap why not just do it.

Wheat germ is top class nutes!!!
 

bracconiere

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Most all ferments at 12-14% will be hot as hell with a sugar wash.

all my ag mashes are .065-.075 and the taste is awesome.
I tend to stick around those abv's with sugar washes too.

Great point about the ph drop! My solution is drop a hand full of crushed oyster shells in the ferment on the day after pitch or the day of, either way buffers from ph drop.

Over pitch is fine but under will create nasties you don't want in a drink and bread yeast is so cheap why not just do it.

Wheat germ is top class nutes!!!
i just only have a 7 gal pot, and try to fill a carlo rosi 4 liter jug 65% with each batch...so i always shoot for higher abv...

and oyster shell sounds like top end ph buffer, i'd probably just use baking soda :)
 

Shine0n

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Just curious on why you would use that?

Calcium is a buffer to keep your levels stable, pickling lime can raise it quickly but to hold steady long enough for a 5 day ferment, I'd use the shells.

It only uses what it needs and no more.
 

golfindia

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Baking soda is not optimal for raising pH. It adds too much other stuff that is undesireable. Calcium carbonate (chalk powder essentially) works great.
 

Shine0n

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I've luckily not had to raise ph for quite a few years now due to using the shells for a buffer.
 

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