Aiming for pure ethanol can be driven by different motives. Some need it for subsequent use in hand sanitizers or similar products. The home brewing bunch, of course, wants it to make simple spirits from it. This type of alcohol is made from fermented sugar. However, the granulated sugar available at every local food store requires a proper yeast to transform into a high-quality spirit. Given the proper ingredients, equipment and know-how – you can do this at home. Just don’t forget about the most precious resource involved in fermentation – time.
In brewing, the sugar usually comes from grains and malts. They are an essential ingredient for making beverages like beer and wine. There is a plethora of techniques to get the most minute variances in end product quality and these are the subjects of countless heated discussions among brewing enthusiasts. Making sugar spirits is closer to the other side of the spectrum as it doesn’t require tedious work to get the base for your drink.
Ingredients for High Alcohol Wash
This list is short: yeast, sugar and water. Out of these three, getting the right yeast is probably the most demanding task. It’s the most important ingredient and definitely the one that directly affects the alcohol content you will get from your still spirits sugar.
To get a spirit with a predetermined alcohol concentration, you need the right kind of interaction between sugar and yeast. Fermenting refined sugar to get alcohol without yeast will get you aldehydes and fuselol (or fusel alcohol – German for bad liquor). They are a result of improper fermentation and, obviously are the least desired by-product you can get while homebrewing spirits. Of all the ways to avoid this, getting a fast still spirits turbo carbon is the best. Every yeast needs nutrients to spread. If the nutrients are inadequate, your yeast won’t be able to form sister cells, and you will get an inferior product. And on top of this, yeasts have an alcohol content threshold that can’t be surpassed.
This is the reason you get only 12% (ish) of alcohol when you make beer. The yeast simply can’t handle higher alcohol concentration. If it could, you’d have much more alcohol in your homebrew ale. Now, there are ways to extend the threshold. Adding tailored ingredients, like some of the commonly known turbo yeasts, will significantly increase the tolerance of the yeast and you will get higher concentrations. You can use more sugar and get more alcohol (in quantity) by simply adding turbo carbon.
What about the ‘fast’ part? Well, that is well deserved as such turbo fast still spirits yeasts will cut down your brewing time. Usually designated as ‘48 turbo yeasts’ they are capable of brewing within 48 hours. Of course, you’d need to control other factors like temperature and sugar volume to hit the exact 48 hours mark. Even if you don’t these turbo yeasts make still spirits fermentation faster and easier. They come in bundles too, so you can mix them all accordingly: turbo yeast, turbo carbon and turbo clear.
To get the most alcohol by volume (ABV) you need to be careful with the other ingredients too. In terms of water, you need to make sure it is sanitary and clean while also rich in mineral, nutrient and acid content. You can do a wash with distilled water, but is not recommended, especially if you are after high-quality end product.
Equipment and Cleaning
One can’t overstate it – a clean environment, clean equipment and clean tools are paramount for getting a good product. We repeat this time and time again, however, it’s done because it is very important. Any bacteria left behind from your last brewing session might ruin the whole batch. So give a good cleaning to everything that will come into contact with your alcohol.
Speaking of which, you need one large pot, fermenters and bottles. The pot is where you’ll mix the ingredients, and your fermenters will serve to provide an environment where the chemical process happens. The way you store the product is up to you and what is convenient for you. You can go for any vessel be it small or large as long as it was prepared beforehand as a receptacle.
You need seals, corks and stoppers to isolate the fermenting environment. They work best when there is an airlock with a rubber bung. Sealing during fermentation and after are two different concepts – the first one has to allow resultant gasses to escape while storing requires an airtight vessel.
Tools to control and monitor the process divide homebrewers on minimalists and aficionados. The least you can prepare in this regards are thermometer, test tube, syphon, hydrometer and a corker. Don’t let us stop you from extending your homebrewing paraphernalia beyond this list though. You can add a whole host of contraptions that would serve you to further refine your process. Our recommendation for newcomers would be to stick only to what is necessary for getting high alcohol wash.
There’s a reason why this ethanol is also used in sanitation – generally speaking, it is high in alcohol, odourless and tasteless. Some aromas and flavours may stick around past the wash, however even if there are some, you probably want to stay clear of consuming them. That is unless you go for dry gin. Everything else requires proper use of essences, extracts and flavour enhancers.