How to Ferment Sugar Wash to Make Vodka - Part 1
Recipe type: Fermenting and Distilling
This episode is Part 1 where we're going to ferment a high alcohol sugar wash. In part 2, tomorrow, we will distill it using the stock pot distilling technique we looked at in the previous distilling episode. Vodka is by definition pure ethanol in water... it has not distinctive smell or flavor. However, this only true for vodkas that have been distilled using refraction, or column stills. When vodka is distilled using a pot still, or in this case a stock pot still, a portion of the aroma and flavor of the fermented liquid does pass on to the distilled product. This will give every different type of pot stilled vodka its own distinctive taste and aroma. We are going to make a fermented sugar wash which ideal for producing vodka. Sugar wash has become increasingly popular with distillers as it produces no methanol, and insignificant quantities of fusel oils. It is the perfect wash for beginner distillers, and especially when using a stock pot still where it is really inconvenient trying to remove heads and tails during the process.
- 5lt Filtered water
- 1.5Kg Refined white sugar
- 60g Turbo yeast (this comes in many brands, and is available from your local home brew supplier)
- Add the water and sugar to you fermentation vessel. Heat the water and stir the solution until the sugar has totally dissolved.
- Allow the solution to cool to 40c or 104f, then add the turbo yeast. Stir this in briefly.
- Reduce the heat to 30c or 86f, place the lid on the pot and allow this to ferment for 48 hours.
- Due to the anti-foaming agent, this fermentation will only show a thin film of bubbles on the surface, but you will certainly be able hear the bubbles in the pot.
- To achieve the relatively high alcohol content of between 14 and 19%, we are using specially formulated yeast called Turbo yeast. This yeast enjoys higher temperatures, does not develop any nasties, it has yeast nutrient built into the formulation and as an added bonus, an anti-foaming agent.
- After 48 hours listen to the fermentation. If the bubbling has reduced significantly, it is ready, if not, allow it to continue.
- Mine is ready, and it is ready to rack, or syphon off the wash.
- Take a food grade container and a length of polyethylene pipe.
- Use a silicon elastic band to strap a skewer onto one end of the pipe so that just a half inch of the skewer protrudes past the end of the pipe. This keeps the end of the pipe clear of the precipitated dead yeast at the bottom of the pot.
- Place the skewered end of the pipe in the fermented wash, get the syphon going.
- Place other end of the pipe in the bottle and run the fermented liquid into the bottle.
- This is a quick look at the precipitate at the bottom of the fermentation vessel.
- Here is the racked, fermented sugar wash. You will notice how cloudy it is. This is very fine yeast particulate that has not precipitated.
- We want to clear most of this before distilling.
- Put the cap on the bottle and place the wash in your refrigerator for 2 to 3 days.
- After this time, notice how much clearer the wash is. It is ready to distill. Once again, notice the precipitated yeast at the bottom.
- Rack this off again, and you're ready to distill the wash.
- Please stay tuned for tomorrow's episode where we will distill this using a stock pot distiller.