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The process by which yeast converts sugars into alcohol is referred to as alcoholic fermentation. The process also yields carbon dioxide. Note that wild bacteria and other wild yeast will compete for resources against your yeast. Therefore, ensure enough yeast is added into the sugars and that all your equipment is sterilized. Most packets of yeast are suitable for 5 gallons. When you are using larger vessels, you should add more yeast.
It is imperative to choose your yeast prudently because it determines the flavor of the resultant alcohol. Most new distillers like using turbo yeast. However, the neutral spirits it creates often fall short as far as flavor is concerned. Luckily, you have far superior yeast types at your disposal. Do you want to create brandy, rum or whisky? Ensure that your yeast strand is suitable for the desirable flavor profile and that it complements all ingredients.
The fermentation procedure involves two main stages; primary stage and secondary stage.
The primary stage is often the period within the first 60 minutes or so. Here, yeast cell numbers increase greatly and it is safe to say that most alcohol is produced in the primary stage. It is also in this stage where most yeast replication and growth happens.
In the secondary yeast stage, the growth rate decreases steadily. You will see fewer bubbles in the second stage as compared to the first stage. Here, your yeast sinks and occupies the bottom of the vessel.
If you are not careful, you can end up with a stalled or poor fermentation. This unfortunate turn of events can be caused by numerous factors. Examples are poor temperature, lack of oxygen and lack of nutrients and varying amounts of sugar. If the wash temperature is too low for example, your yeast becomes dormant and will stall as far as fermentation and bubbling is concerned. Too low and too high acidity are also factors that may destroy the quality of your alcohol. Therefore, ensure that the acidity of the wash ranges between 3.6 and 6 on the pH scale. To ensure proper oxygenation, stir the wash before adding yeast.
The presence of too little or too much sugar is another problem that mostly affects the quality of alcohol fermentation. For example, little sugar will cause the yeast to fail to replicate, a process that is crucial for production of alcohol. On the other hand, you can end up with off flavors when yeast is too stressed by the presence of too much sugar. To reduce the amount of sugar to a more suitable level, simply add some water to your fermentation vessel. Distillers at home usually add some sugar gradually to replenish the amount of sugar in the yeast. This effectively increases the alcohol content to a desired level.
Incorporate minerals such as gypsum to your fermentation especially if you used nutrient-deficient water. Simply ask the correct measurement from your local supply shop and add extra nutrients according to the circumstances surrounding your fermentation environment. In addition, you may ask them other questions regarding fermentation.