Turbo Air Still 1st run Observations

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Turbo Air Still 1st run Observations

Postby makum101 » Thu Apr 16, 2009 1:46 pm

Hi Guys, Newbie here . I need advice on my first run and comformation of what i think went wrong.

I bought a StillSpirits Turbo Air Still (4 Ltr capacity). Did my first run yesterday and although it is crystal clear and drinkable the finished product has a yeasty flavour (even on top of flavouring essence).

I think the above may be due to me thinking that my wash (21 ltr water + 6 bags of sugar and triple distilled turbo yeast + carbon stuff packet) was not finished after the specified 7 day period due to bubbles still coming from the air lock.

I left it for another 3 days, but it was still bubbling. At this point I checked the specific gravity and it was well below the 990 mark so I de-gassed it and added the finings. This topped the bubbling.

My question is this: Could the yeasty flavour be down to the fact that i left the wash sitting on the yeast for 3 days before fining, de-gassing and stilling? or is it just due to using a sugar wash with turbo yeast?

I did use the carbon filter after stilling but this made no difference.
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Re: Turbo Air Still 1st run Observations

Postby rad14701 » Thu Apr 16, 2009 3:03 pm

Whoa...!!! Wait a minute... Your post just isn't reading right...

Start over with your wash recipe... How much sugar, exactly, did you use...??? We need either lbs, kgs, cups, or something other than "bags"... Beyond that you make it sound like you added the carbon into the wash before fermenting... Is that accurate...???

Part of the problem sounds like you're trying to wring every last bit of alcohol you can get out of your first wash... If you're gonna do that, you're gonna end up with hooch that tastes and smells like what you got - or worse...

You also didn't mention whether you made proper cuts of foreshots, heads, hearts, and tails...

Did you rack off the wash or dump yeast and all into the still...??? It's usually a good idea to rack off the wash and let it settle for a few days and then rack it again into the still...

Have a good read here and you'll find that there are some limitations to those air stills... You'll also find that using turbo yeast is more of a pain than it's worth, for the most part... All in all, be happy you can choke your first hooch down...

Welcome to the forums... We say read, read, read for a reason... God luck and good reading...
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Re: Turbo Air Still 1st run Observations

Postby Ugly » Thu Apr 16, 2009 3:17 pm

Some turbos use a liquefied carbon sachet in an effort to mask the crap coming off the yeast.
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Re: Turbo Air Still 1st run Observations

Postby rad14701 » Thu Apr 16, 2009 3:47 pm

Ugly wrote:Some turbos use a liquefied carbon sachet in an effort to mask the crap coming off the yeast.

Guess it didn't work as well as expected if that's the case here...

We've got plenty of sugar wash recipes that can be pushed to 14% using bakers yeast without problems that are a lot less work that Turbos... I can sacrifice a few percentage points if it makes my life easier in the long run... COUGH... Check out the Gerber... COUGH... Almost fool proof... COUGH...
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Re: Turbo Air Still 1st run Observations

Postby olddog » Thu Apr 16, 2009 4:44 pm

I like many others started with an Air Still or similar, we have all been through the Turbo yeast, filtering , essence path.
I now have built a pot still, and use only bakers yeast, I now get a first class spirit with no off tastes and requires no filtering.
The only reason you have to filter with an Airstill and the process using turbo yeasts, is to remove the bad tastes produced by this method
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Re: Turbo Air Still 1st run Observations

Postby makum101 » Sun Apr 19, 2009 1:42 pm

Thanks for the replies guys. Very swift and very helpful.

in answer to Rad's questions...

6 bags = 6 Kilos of shop bought granulated sugar. I believe its made from sugar beat here in the UK.

The carbon was put in the wash at the same time as the yeast. The instructions that come with it tell me to do that. It makes the wash black whilst fermenting is happening.

Once i'd determined fermentation had finished i degassed then added the finings. it cleared to a perfectly clear liquid in a matter of minutes. There was a 1 inch crust of yeast and carbon at the bottom. As per instructions I waited 24 hours then racked off the clear wash to another vessel.

I then ran this through the still in 4 litre amounts, collecting 700mls on each run. I didnt discard any of this at either the start or end. Should I??

I then cut the produced spirit with 350mls of filtered tap water and ran this through the carbon filter contraption, before adding the required amount of flavouring essence (Gin). (i tried not filtering but it smells slightly 'eggy' if its not filtered).

It is drinkable, just a bit yeasty. I have bought worse in Spain (locally produced Gin), but I am striving for perfection - on a small scale :-)

Any thoughts would be gratefully appreciated guys.

Thanks.
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Re: Turbo Air Still 1st run Observations

Postby olddog » Sun Apr 19, 2009 2:17 pm

If you did not discard anything, you will be drinking forshots. With the airstill you should be discarding the first 50ml otherwise it will taste like crap (methanol). Also if you ar using turbo yeast, filtering is definately required to get rid of the off tastes of neutriants in turbo yeasts, which is why most of us use alternative yeasts.
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Re: Turbo Air Still 1st run Observations

Postby Aces High » Sun Apr 19, 2009 6:04 pm

I also started with the airstill and tried everything to get a clean tasting neutral before finding this site. You just cant get completely clean washes with turbos and the air still. That tripled distilled yeast you used was the cleanest tasting one I used and there was still some off tastes even after double and triple distilling.
Try the simple sugar wash from this forum.. it uses bakers yeast, tomato paste (yes tomoto paste) and a few other basic things and when you run it through an air still it tastes so much cleaner. Turbo yeasts push the yeast to the absolute limit to get the highest % ABV and they create off flavors that are really hard to get rid of. If you use less sugar (around 5kgs for a 25L wash) you sacrafice a little bit of the alcohol content, but you get a much cleaner wash. You still need to dump the first 50mls and only keep the middle 600mls heart section, but it will be so much cleaner... you also wont need to filter it .. You will be amazed at the difference, oh and it will cost about half the price to produce.
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Re: Turbo Air Still 1st run Observations

Postby makum101 » Mon Apr 20, 2009 12:34 pm

Ah, oops, OK Ive actually drunk three bottles (over a a decent space of time) of my finished product.

As I dint discard the first 50 mils of each run will the spirit do me any damage?

Now Ive added the flavoring essence (Gin, Absinthe and Whiskey) can I run it through the air-still again? If so do i just fill the still with spirit or mix it with water?

Or should I just bin it and start a fresh batch?

Aces High... Many thanks for the comments. If I just use 5 bags (kilo's) can I do that with the turbo yeast? I will try a bakers yeast wash one week soon but as a newbie I'll give the turbo one more bash first.

Sorry for bombarding you all with questions guys.
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Re: Turbo Air Still 1st run Observations

Postby olddog » Mon Apr 20, 2009 3:05 pm

If you want more bad tastes use Turbo, if you want a clean taste use bakers.
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Re: Turbo Air Still 1st run Observations

Postby rad14701 » Mon Apr 20, 2009 3:47 pm

No, don't bother trying to redistill now that the essences have been added... Either drink it as is or toss it out... It won't kill you but it might give you a bad head the next day...

Yes, you can use less sugar with turbo yeast, but you still have a huge amount of nutrients in the yeast and that's what causes the off flavors...

There's just no getting around learning the right way, eventually, so you might as well start learning the right way before bad habits set in... A good low gravity wash with bakers or distillers yeast, properly fermented and distilled, will teach you far more than the hit-and-miss education that turbos provide... This isn't a hobby for the impatient...
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Re: Turbo Air Still 1st run Observations

Postby HookLine » Mon Apr 20, 2009 4:18 pm

I have made reasonable neutral from Turbos by only running to 10-12% abv, and only using the Turbo packet at half the recommended rate (ie using the whole pack in a ferment twice the size recommended).

IIRC they have also stopped using urea in the nutrients, which will help clean them up further.

Turbos cost more. Can do it cheaper with bakers or distillers yeast. And you do not have to visit the brew shop.
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Re: Turbo Air Still 1st run Observations

Postby Aces High » Mon Apr 20, 2009 4:51 pm

Yeah you can still drink those ones that you've already made. The still spirits instuctions dont talk about dumping the first 50ml's in their instructions, so I never did and I never went blind :wink: Just remember the flavour of those ones, it will make it so much more satisfying when you make a good batch.

Just as an aside, I put a 4L sample of my DWWG (deathwish wheatgerm its on this website) wash recipe through my old air still last night just as a trial. I was really impressed with how it came out.. really nice flavour. The air still is really handy for me now when I am doing a test batch before doing a full size run.
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Re: Turbo Air Still 1st run Observations

Postby eric_pwb » Thu Apr 23, 2009 11:40 pm

I also recently started experimenting with a 4L airstill, and my first run was with a turbo, I did notice a fair bit of off flavouring, you live and learn I guess. I was tossing my first 75ml though.
I did find that soaking activated carbon in the distillate did make a huge difference.

I see now that birdwatcher's recipe is highly recommended here, and I want to know what purpose the tomato paste and the lemon juice serve in the fermentation process? I am a 3rd year university Chem major, and brew beer also, and I am interested in the theory of the process as well as just having a kick ass hobby.
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Re: Turbo Air Still 1st run Observations

Postby Husker » Fri Apr 24, 2009 3:40 am

I want to know what purpose the tomato paste and the lemon juice serve in the fermentation process?


Yeast is a living organism. It needs nutrients to survive and multiply. The paste, is for nutrients.

The lemon juice also provides some nutrition for the yeast but it also provides an acidic environment. An acidic environment (not super acidic, but in the ph 4 range), is ideal for yeast, but a bad environment for many bacteria. This will help the yeast to establish itself, while at the same time, inhibit the growth of nasties such as many strain of bacteria.

If you simply dump sugar into water, and dump yeast into this, then it is not able to multiply well, and will not ferment too much. The reason you can 'get away' with doing just a straight sugar/water mix with these turbo yeasts, is that they pack a lot of stuff OTHER than yeast into those satchets. There are ph buffers, that get the ph into the 4 range. There are many chemical nutrients in there. Also, there is a LOT of yeast in each satchet, thus the 'need' for the yeast to multiply is less, due to a larger starting colony of yeast cells. One thing to notice, is you can not simply 're-use' the yeast after a turbo ferment. If you dump more sugar/water back in after you rack off a ferment, it will not ferment well (if at all). All of the ph buffers are gone. All (much) of the nutrients are gone.

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Re: Turbo Air Still 1st run Observations

Postby ARRRRRRGH_NO » Sun Apr 26, 2009 11:12 pm

Well you went wrong when you decided to buy the airstill it is truely crock of ****! Time to either build you own or go out and buy a still. I have upgraded to the commercial essencia express still and carbon filter package that the local store owner talked me into buying. It would be a much better idea to take that approach rather than waste all your time messing around with probably the worst performing still on the market.

Save some time and get the best results you can, effectivley you are wasing most of you wash, it may be convenient but is it worth it? In other words throw it away and buy a new still or build you own!

Whos going to disagree with that? Quality+Quantity or S**T for Bugger all?
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Re: Turbo Air Still 1st run Observations

Postby punkin » Sun Apr 26, 2009 11:27 pm

ARRRRRRGH_NO wrote:Well you went wrong when you decided to buy the airstill it is truely crock of ****! Time to either build you own or go out and buy a still. I have upgraded to the commercial essencia express still and carbon filter package that the local store owner talked me into buying. It would be a much better idea to take that approach rather than waste all your time messing around with probably the worst performing still on the market.

Save some time and get the best results you can, effectivley you are wasing most of you wash, it may be convenient but is it worth it? In other words throw it away and buy a new still or build you own!

Whos going to disagree with that? Quality+Quantity or S**T for Bugger all?




Well, granted you are a step up from an airstill... :roll:

But it's such a tiny step up to where you are that you're superior attitude will just amuse the populace here. :mrgreen: :mrgreen:




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Re: Turbo Air Still 1st run Observations

Postby Ayay » Mon Apr 27, 2009 12:17 am

:D So true... a good home-made still is equal to two or three air stills + an essencia express. Different paths to a destination and some paths are longer than others.

The holy grail is very elusive, just follow your path and the destination will evolve :arrow:
Last edited by Ayay on Mon Apr 27, 2009 12:29 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Turbo Air Still 1st run Observations

Postby ARRRRRRGH_NO » Mon Apr 27, 2009 12:22 am

Sorry punkin but im a very large step up from the air still.

This is Merely just an informative post to help this individual. Questioning as to whether or not I have a superior attitude is somewhat inappropriate in this forum how about posting something that would in turn benefit this person.

We arent all Hardcore Distillers just ameteurs sharing our own views.
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Re: Turbo Air Still 1st run Observations

Postby ARRRRRRGH_NO » Mon Apr 27, 2009 12:27 am

You would also want to take into account how much time you want to spend on each distillation.
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Re: Turbo Air Still 1st run Observations

Postby HookLine » Mon Apr 27, 2009 12:48 am

ARRRRRRGH_NO wrote:I have upgraded to the commercial essencia express still and carbon filter package that the local store owner talked me into buying.

From the Essencia Stills site:

"This still represents the next generation in home distillation equipment."

"No still currently on the market comes close to the all-round performance of this still."

:roll: :roll: :roll:
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Re: Turbo Air Still 1st run Observations

Postby ARRRRRRGH_NO » Mon Apr 27, 2009 1:13 am

If you have enough interest and time build a still. See what you can come up with, there are some very good ones but they can take alot of time and effort. If you want to make a good job of it buy a good still (the essencia express is the best from what im told but there are others) and if you have been suckered into an airstill or just want to make a quick bottle of piss that wont be that flash but never the less will still be piss at the end of the day, Stick with the air still.

Seeing as you have bought a commercial still and you may not be interested in building your own still at this stage. You should take the step up to the next level. You know the basics, step up to a better still and see where you go from there. It may suit you to use an express still over a vodka maker or vice versa just do the research and see where you think you will be better off.
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Re: Turbo Air Still 1st run Observations

Postby Ayay » Mon Apr 27, 2009 1:44 am

No problem; you're enjoying your own product while your'e looking ahead for better otherwise you wouldn't be here.

We can't tell good from bad until we have tried both. So often the bad aint that bad and the good aint all that good either. Depends on what turns you or me on while moving forward.

I've drunk some vile stuff and thought it was OK until now. It's all relative in the overall scheme of things. Nobody could have stopped me in the early stages and now I stop myself because of some experience and a lot of help from this forum.
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Re: Turbo Air Still 1st run Observations

Postby HookLine » Mon Apr 27, 2009 2:10 am

If you want to make a good job of it buy a good still (the essencia express is the best from what im told but there are others)

The Essencia Express is 2nd rate, at best, even among commercially available stills.

For example, the PDA-1 is a infinitely better buy.

Essencia claim they can get 90%. Big whoop. The average reflux column here can get much better than that, and most can hit 95% +.
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Re: Turbo Air Still 1st run Observations

Postby olddog » Mon Apr 27, 2009 2:12 am

Nice blue plastic tap on that essencia still.
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Re: Turbo Air Still 1st run Observations

Postby Aces High » Mon Apr 27, 2009 2:40 am

Also ARRRRRRH_NO (was that enought R's for ya?) , if the essencis still is so good, why do you need the carbon filtering package? You've just thrown your money away right there and you're obviously taking advice from brewstores that either don't know any better or just push turbo yeasts so that they can sell you the carbon to clean up a poor product afterwards. Might be worth you doing a bit o homework yourself before you start shooting your mouth off.

I haven't needed carbon since i stopped using turbo yeasts.
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Re: Turbo Air Still 1st run Observations

Postby rad14701 » Mon Apr 27, 2009 9:33 am

+1 on Aces High's post... My sentiments, exactly...
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Re: Turbo Air Still 1st run Observations

Postby rabbit_ » Mon May 04, 2009 11:34 pm

Hey,

I'm new to this place...I unfortunately rushed into buying one of these stills and am severely disappointed by it.

I've been looking at spiritsunlimited.co.nz since discovering these forums and I'm wondering - would the H100 (5L Potstill) much better than the stillspirits still? and would it be upgradeable (eg, a larger pot?) The spirits that have been coming out of my airstill are horrible and harsh.

I'm not looking at brewing massive amounts of spirits (I'd LOVE to have 2-3 bottles of 40% spirit say a week..which would do me much more than fine) and I've the capacity to make about 28L of wash a week.

I'm not very prepared to make a still of my own (as I've just aquired the boat I am hoping to spend my weekends working on) and I feel that I lack the technical ability. But would consider buying one or paying for one to be made. At the moment I'm not too well funded either.

But yeah, these forums have been a very interesting and informative read.
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Re: Turbo Air Still 1st run Observations

Postby Dammfine » Tue May 05, 2009 1:09 am

In my first 4-6 months of distilling I was using an Air Still, sold to me by the guy at the brew shop.But then about 8 months ago I found this site; asked a few questions( but read 100 times more) and was prepaired to learn.

I now have a 50ltr pot still, I made out of a beer keg, using knowledge gained here with recipies I also found on this site,
Last week my wife sold my Air Still on E-bay for 1/2 the price I paid for it and I still reckon I'm in front.

The quality of my grog is 100% better and the scope for trying new things and improving my grog far out weighs any thing that I could have hoped to gain using turbo's and my Air Still.
I guess my point is if it wasn't for this site I'd still be using my Air still, thinking that my grog was top shelf and not knowing any better.By pulling my head in, showing respect to those who deserve it and asking some relivent questions my future in home distilling looks good.
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Re: Turbo Air Still 1st run Observations

Postby LWTCS » Tue May 05, 2009 4:21 am

rabbit_ wrote:I'm not looking at brewing massive amounts of spirits (I'd LOVE to have 2-3 bottles of 40% spirit say a week..which would do me much more than fine) and I've the capacity to make about 28L of wash a week.


2 to 3 (what size) bottles a week with a 5liter pot still? If your working a full time job and playing with your boat, you may have a tough time keeping up with production.

You can do it, but don't get side tracked on your boat while running your still.

Sorry for being a buttinski.

Best of luck.
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