Birdwatchers sugar wash recipe

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Re: Birdwatchers sugar wash recipe

Postby Goose » Thu Sep 29, 2016 4:37 pm

still_stirrin wrote:
rad14701 wrote:
Goose wrote:how do you get to 14% ?

2 pounds of sugar per gallon gives a potential yield of 14.1% and a SG of 1.092...

:clap:


I'm not sure if you are taking the piss or if its arrogance of presumption that I have not added sufficient sugar or too much water to get to a potential of 14%. Basis info I provided above my potential is 13.6%, close enough, however I ain't getting there and when done the residual wash still tastes sweet.

FG is 1.010 after 3 weeks at 30 deg C and yeast has settled. Actually getting only a bit more than 10%. Ideas welcome.
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Re: Birdwatchers sugar wash recipe

Postby Hound Dog » Thu Sep 29, 2016 5:07 pm

You mentioned ph earlier. Did you check it? I bet if you throw some baking soda in there or calcium carbonate it would fire up and start fizzing. Ph is a killer.
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Re: Birdwatchers sugar wash recipe

Postby rad14701 » Thu Sep 29, 2016 5:18 pm

Goose, I leave out the lemon juice... Virtually always ferment to dry in under a week... But with other tweaks they usually finish sooner... I make this wash whenever I want to get a wash fermenting when I have limited time at my disposal...
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Re: Birdwatchers sugar wash recipe

Postby Goose » Thu Sep 29, 2016 5:45 pm

Hound Dog wrote:You mentioned ph earlier. Did you check it? I bet if you throw some baking soda in there or calcium carbonate it would fire up and start fizzing. Ph is a killer.



Yes I mentioned that in my earlier post as well. 4.6 after lemon juice and 5.9 before. I see no reason to raise the pH with baking soda or calcium carbonate after reducing it with acid.
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Re: Birdwatchers sugar wash recipe

Postby Goose » Thu Sep 29, 2016 5:46 pm

rad14701 wrote:Goose, I leave out the lemon juice... Virtually always ferment to dry in under a week... But with other tweaks they usually finish sooner... I make this wash whenever I want to get a wash fermenting when I have limited time at my disposal...


ok, thanks, but can I ask with your water, what is the pH of your wash pre ferment ?

I am working on your earlier recommendation
Most sugar washes do well in the 4.2 - 5.2 range...
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Re: Birdwatchers sugar wash recipe

Postby still_stirrin » Thu Sep 29, 2016 6:57 pm

Goose wrote:...info I provided above my potential is 13.6%, close enough, however I ain't getting there and when done the residual wash still tastes sweet. FG is 1.010 after 3 weeks at 30 deg C and yeast has settled. Actually getting only a bit more than 10%.....Ideas welcome.
Its a sugar wash...your pH crashed and the ferment stopped. Raise the pH and it MAY restart.

Still sweet with unfermented sugar, it likely would "upchuck" in your still if you were to run it now. So, it would be good to raise the pH and repitch more (hydrated) yeast. It'll take a while to finish...I would guess a couple more weeks.

The lesson here is to watch the pH closely when you start. And remember that a sugar wash will cause the pH to drop as the ferment progresses. Pitching some eggshells into the ferment at the start will help hold the pH up so the yeast can finish.
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Re: Birdwatchers sugar wash recipe

Postby Goose » Thu Sep 29, 2016 7:49 pm

still_stirrin wrote:
Goose wrote:...info I provided above my potential is 13.6%, close enough, however I ain't getting there and when done the residual wash still tastes sweet. FG is 1.010 after 3 weeks at 30 deg C and yeast has settled. Actually getting only a bit more than 10%.....Ideas welcome.
Its a sugar wash...your pH crashed and the ferment stopped. Raise the pH and it MAY restart.

Still sweet with unfermented sugar, it likely would "upchuck" in your still if you were to run it now. So, it would be good to raise the pH and repitch more (hydrated) yeast. It'll take a while to finish...I would guess a couple more weeks.

The lesson here is to watch the pH closely when you start. And remember that a sugar wash will cause the pH to drop as the ferment progresses. Pitching some eggshells into the ferment at the start will help hold the pH up so the yeast can finish.
ss



Thanks for this. Looks like I'm leaving out the acid next time...... though I go back to my original point, some waters are hard and have a high total alkalinity with a high buffering capacity (ie resistance to pH change) , some are soft. Everybody has different water and therefore a different starting pH for this recipe before they add acid.

As you point out the pH reduction during fermentation is where i might be coming unstuck (or stuck, no pun intended).

Is perhaps the correct question to ask, is there an ideal finishing pH for this wash ? I took RAD's suggestion of a 4.2 to 5.2 range as a starting pH..... wrong ?
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Re: Birdwatchers sugar wash recipe

Postby rad14701 » Fri Sep 30, 2016 7:30 am

Goose wrote:Is perhaps the correct question to ask, is there an ideal finishing pH for this wash ? I took RAD's suggestion of a 4.2 to 5.2 range as a starting pH..... wrong ?

I've never had to worry about the pH being too high... I know it is going to plummet during the first day or so of aggressive fermentation so being a bit on the high side helps in my experience... I just try to make sure the pH doesn't drop out of range is all... If it starts to drop I toss in some Arm & Hammer Washing Soda, pre-mixed with wash...
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Re: Birdwatchers sugar wash recipe

Postby Hound Dog » Fri Sep 30, 2016 1:38 pm

rad14701 wrote:
Goose wrote:Is perhaps the correct question to ask, is there an ideal finishing pH for this wash ? I took RAD's suggestion of a 4.2 to 5.2 range as a starting pH..... wrong ?

I've never had to worry about the pH being too high... I know it is going to plummet during the first day or so of aggressive fermentation so being a bit on the high side helps in my experience... I just try to make sure the pH doesn't drop out of range is all... If it starts to drop I toss in some Arm & Hammer Washing Soda, pre-mixed with wash...

That was my point. Try tossing in a small scop and see how much it fizzes. If it does add bunch more and your wash will ferment out. I just put a bunch of crushed oyster shells/coral from the feed store in from the start and it self balances. Once it crashes, the washing soda will give it the quick jump start though. It's just a sugar wash, not rocket science.
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Re: Birdwatchers sugar wash recipe

Postby Goose » Fri Sep 30, 2016 5:01 pm

Thanks gents.

I just tested pH and found it was 3.1. Holy hell. :esurprised:

The new knowledge for me was the rapid pH drop on startup. Whoever came up with the idea of acid in the recipe must have been using a very alkaline water supply...

I had to add 4 tsp Bicarb of soda to get the pH back above 4.2.... hoping it will ferment out, time will tell. next time, no acid. :oops:
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Re: Birdwatchers sugar wash recipe

Postby Goose » Wed Oct 05, 2016 7:49 pm

rad14701 wrote:Goose, I leave out the lemon juice... Virtually always ferment to dry in under a week... But with other tweaks they usually finish sooner... I make this wash whenever I want to get a wash fermenting when I have limited time at my disposal...



can I ask if you are distilling cloudy wash after just one week ?

The advice in last few posts has helped greatly, by not allowing pH to fall below 4.2 I've fermented below .96 in a week but the wash remains cloudy no doubt suspended yeast.... do you use a clarifier prior to the run ?
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Re: Birdwatchers sugar wash recipe

Postby NZChris » Wed Oct 05, 2016 10:52 pm

Goose wrote:Whoever came up with the idea of acid in the recipe must have been using a very alkaline water supply...


That's one reason why you shouldn't treat internet recipes/methods as gospel truth. The ferment I put down today came out at a pH of 5.5 without any added acid. Then 90 grams of shells from my local beach were added to act as a buffer to keep the pH up. I'll check pH in a couple of days and if they weren't enough I'll put some more in. Meanwhile, the ferment is only three hours old and is already rocking along at 91F.
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Re: Birdwatchers sugar wash recipe

Postby Goose » Thu Oct 06, 2016 1:36 am

NZChris wrote:
Goose wrote:Whoever came up with the idea of acid in the recipe must have been using a very alkaline water supply...


That's one reason why you shouldn't treat internet recipes/methods as gospel truth.


Well I guess I considered that if posted on the "Tried and True" section of this forum that it was the gospel truth.... :econfused:
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Re: Birdwatchers sugar wash recipe

Postby der wo » Thu Oct 06, 2016 2:52 am

I don't think the citric acid is bad in this recipe. Not adding shells or similar is the problem.
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Re: Birdwatchers sugar wash recipe

Postby thecroweater » Thu Oct 06, 2016 6:44 am

der wo wrote:I don't think the citric acid is bad in this recipe. Not adding shells or similar is the problem.

Have always added citric acid never added shells and am yet to have an issue. I don't use that amount of sugar as stated before but this recipe is in tried and true because it is, its been used by thousands :thumbup:
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Re: Birdwatchers sugar wash recipe

Postby der wo » Thu Oct 06, 2016 7:01 am

It works for me without shells too. Probably the hard water here helps. But we have frequentely questions about ph crashs here in this and other threads.
Generally tomato paste works brilliant IMO. For me this is the reason for birdwatchers being so successful and I agree that it is t&t legitimately. Not the other details like the citric acid or the epsom salt are the reason. They are minor important. And the recipe is upgradeable (calcium carb, nutrients, vitamins...). That's why this thread has over 1600 replies now.
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Re: Birdwatchers sugar wash recipe

Postby Greenthorn » Thu Oct 06, 2016 9:15 am

I have made 10 five gallon batches of this so far, first few batches I made pH was 4.5, slower ferment and pH dropped to 3 after 24 hours. I now shoot for a starting pH of 6 for this recipe, and OG 1.085, with me now - no shells and no lemon.
I also use the Walmart distilled water ($1.53 for 5 gallons) and they run out pretty rapid 5-7 days last six batches ferment finished at pH 4 and FG .998 - .995 I'm a learning and seeing patterns with these sugar washes, not to mention it is so much more fun when a ferment doesn't go awry... :ebiggrin:
Just my experience....
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Re: Birdwatchers sugar wash recipe

Postby der wo » Thu Oct 06, 2016 9:41 am

Many members here finish birdwatchers at a FG 0.985 - 0.990. If 0.995 is 10%, 0.985 would be 11.3%. My bw normally finishes at 0.988. But it would end much higher without the addition nutrients.
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Re: Birdwatchers sugar wash recipe

Postby Greenthorn » Thu Oct 06, 2016 9:53 am

I have seen that, I wonder what I need to do to increase efficiency?
Mine has no sweet taste at all, and even though when it finishes fermenting
I always let it set for another 3 days.
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Re: Birdwatchers sugar wash recipe

Postby der wo » Thu Oct 06, 2016 10:19 am

Fertilizer or DAP. Rads posts about that in this thread are very inspiring. Vitamine B might help too. But for me fertilizers were the key to success.
Yes, 0.995 tastes dryer than wine or sparkling wine, but believe me, it can be much dryer. Wine has slightly over 1.000 normally.
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Re: Birdwatchers sugar wash recipe

Postby Greenthorn » Thu Oct 06, 2016 10:58 am

Thank you, hhmmmm now you got me thinking something isn't adding up right with my numbers.
This racked batch I have right now is OG 1.088 and FG 0.0995
I show that's at 12%

My batch is

5 gallons water
11 pds sugar
2 small cans Contadina tomato paste
2 tablespoon 14-14-14 fertilizer
1/2 cup yeast

Invert 2 gallon water sugar and fertilizer together.
I pitch yeast when temp is between 83 - 85 and then
it usually goes up to 90 degrees.
I check SG in my sugar water solution only, I don't check it after
everything is mixed up.
Then ferment away.
When it is done bubbling in the fermenter I just check to make sure
it is below 1.000 and it's always been between .0998 and .0995
Then I let it set another 3 days, then I rack off and let it set another 3 days
Does anyone see what I need to change?
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Re: Birdwatchers sugar wash recipe

Postby der wo » Thu Oct 06, 2016 11:36 am

With the calculator on the parent site you get OG 1.087 resulting in 13.3%. If you finish at 0.995 you have 12% only.
So you use fertilizer? The amount sounds reasonable. Perhaps more likely a ph crash than a nutrients problem?
How many days needs the wash to ferment? What temperature?
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Re: Birdwatchers sugar wash recipe

Postby Greenthorn » Thu Oct 06, 2016 12:15 pm

Osmocote fertilizer
Red Star DADY yeast
Fermenters are keep wrapped in a heating blanking, but I only turn it on when I'm home
Temps usually are in the 84 - 86 range every time I check.
They have been ranging in the 5-7 days, more like 6-7 days.
I have had 4 different pH crashes on 3 different T&T recipes.
I've got more anal about checking pH's , usually try to start all
sugar washes at 6 pH, check 24 hours after bubbling and the usually are between 4 - 4.5
Maybe I need to check pH again like 48 hours, but they're usually bubbling
quite happily so I did not take note to check pH again. The only times I
checked pH is if it stops bubbling.
I do check my final pH's also, yes I know I'm not very frugal, and they have always been between 4 - 4.5
Thanks for your help, I know it is frustrating for you guys with us and our NON metric state.
Really, I'm not unhappy with the amount of product I get, but if there's more to get, that wouldn't
hurt my feelings either.
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Re: Birdwatchers sugar wash recipe

Postby der wo » Thu Oct 06, 2016 12:27 pm

It's only frustrating not being able to help you.

Although your pH sounds good, in case you never added shells or powdered calcium carbonate, try it once.
My bw version needs 14 days normally(11-12 days fermenting, 2 days clearing).
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Re: Birdwatchers sugar wash recipe

Postby Greenthorn » Thu Oct 06, 2016 12:37 pm

You did help! Next time I'm at the feed store I'm gonna get oyster shells.
I've just been adjusting pH's with citric acid and calcium carbonate.
In all honesty I have been incredibly lucky so far.
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Re: Birdwatchers sugar wash recipe

Postby rad14701 » Thu Oct 06, 2016 3:14 pm

Goose wrote:
rad14701 wrote:Goose, I leave out the lemon juice... Virtually always ferment to dry in under a week... But with other tweaks they usually finish sooner... I make this wash whenever I want to get a wash fermenting when I have limited time at my disposal...



can I ask if you are distilling cloudy wash after just one week ?

The advice in last few posts has helped greatly, by not allowing pH to fall below 4.2 I've fermented below .96 in a week but the wash remains cloudy no doubt suspended yeast.... do you use a clarifier prior to the run ?

No, I don't distill overly cloudy wash... I allow ample time for the wash to clear and usually rack into secondaries to speed the process... I ferment in 6 gallon carboys and use 1 gallon jugs for secondaries... Then I rack from the secondaries into the boiler...
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Re: Birdwatchers sugar wash recipe

Postby Greenthorn » Thu Oct 06, 2016 3:37 pm

This is how clear mine is when I run it.
Or should I say, how cloudy it is.
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Re: Birdwatchers sugar wash recipe

Postby Goose » Thu Oct 06, 2016 3:52 pm

Greenthorn wrote:This is how clear mine is when I run it.
Or should I say, how cloudy it is.


That looks pretty good to me! After how long start to finish ?
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Re: Birdwatchers sugar wash recipe

Postby Greenthorn » Thu Oct 06, 2016 4:05 pm

That pic was 16 days after I first started it.
Edit: But I have had it look the same at 12 days.
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Re: Birdwatchers sugar wash recipe

Postby der wo » Fri Oct 07, 2016 2:32 am

Looks fine...
I also ferment little ferments like your 5gal. When it slows down I shake them once or twice a day without opening it. It helps for me, but doesn't explain, why others have success without shaking of course...

Shells or calcium carbonate will not make much difference. I would use 2 tbsp calcium carb for your 5gal. The most of it will not solve. That is the pH buffer. Is your tap water really such bad that you have to use distilled water? You could try once your recipe with your tap water.

Does the fertilizer solve completely? I ask, because it is a long term working one. Perhaps not the best choice.
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