First Mash and could use advise

Many like to post about a first successful ferment (or first all grain mash), or first still built/bought or first good run of the still. Tell us about all of these great times here.
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AZJarhead
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First Mash and could use advise

Post by AZJarhead » Fri Feb 19, 2021 7:57 am

I am a beginner running my first batch of mash and trying to be patient. The mash is just water/sugar/yeast.
After reading a couple books and a lot of information online, I am not sure of a couple things.

My mash mixture is 5Gal of water, 14lbs of sugar and 1 package of Alcotec 48 pure Turbo Yeast.
- I heated up 4gal of water to 95deg, added the sugar and mixed until it melted.
- Let it cool to 80deg, I added another gal of water and mixed in the yeast slowly.
- With 2 - 5Gal buckets I poured it back and forth, and then left equal amounts in each bucket.
- Put a lid on the buckets, 1 being a fermenting bucket and 1 with a small hole in the lid.

In what I have read, some put on lids and some use a net to cover the bucket. So after 5 days I put a net over my buckets vice the lids. I have stirred the mash twice a day the entire time. When I stir it now it still foams up a good amount while stirring. I can still smell the odor of bread baking, but it does not taste sweet. Can taste yeast and then some alcohol with it being cloudy and an off yellow.

Started mash 10days ago
Mash has been at 70deg the entire time of fermenting

Questions;
Did I use too much sugar?
Which is better, lid or a net while fermenting?
How do I know it is ready to distill?

Any and All advise would be greatly appreciated.

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Deplorable
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Re: First Mash and could use advise

Post by Deplorable » Fri Feb 19, 2021 8:26 am

Well. This may sound harsh, but you used turbo. It's designed for making fuel, not alcohol for consumption, so its gonna taste like shit. All is not lost though, you need to do a sacrificial alcohol run anyway use it for that.
If its sour, it's likely done fermenting. A hydrometer reading at the beginning and a reading at the end would tell you if it's consumed all the available sugars.
Once you've stirred in your yeast, there is no reason to keep stirring it. Leave it sit and the suspended solids will fall out. Siphon the cleared wash(sugar, water and yeast is a wash. You didn't mash any grains) into your still and run it.
Since this is your first, it's a good time to learn how to run your still while not working about the product taste. Learn how to control the output using just heat applied to the boiler, and your senses. Then you can save that shit alcohol for future cleaning if you add to your still or when you get frustrated and build a bigger, more efficient still.
For you first wash to make for consumption, check out one of the many sugar washes in the tried and true recipes here. You will get a better product at a lower cost.
Have fun, and enjoy your new found hobby.
Use all your senses, and its not that hard. You just have to pay attention.

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Re: First Mash and could use advise

Post by AZJarhead » Fri Feb 19, 2021 8:54 am

Thanks for the reply. I am not thin skinned and appreciate the Truth!! I purchased the turbo yeast on amazon and the reviews were good which is why I used it. I also have some DADY yeast and will use that on my next run.
So is it best to cover the buckets while fermenting or put a mesh net and let it get more air?

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Re: First Mash and could use advise

Post by Tabucowboy » Fri Feb 19, 2021 9:38 am

I cover my fermenters with lids with airlocks.
CM Reflux Still -- Copper mesh 16" ,column 31" tall, dia. 2",temp at boiler,top of column, power - PAC w5500w Element
Pot Still -- Copper mesh 16",column, 23" tall dia. 2", temp at boiler, power - PAC w5500w Element

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Re: First Mash and could use advise

Post by Deplorable » Fri Feb 19, 2021 9:58 am

You'll get a mix of opinion on air locks. A loose fitting lid is all I use, but I ferment in a 32 gallon Brute trash.
Use all your senses, and its not that hard. You just have to pay attention.

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Re: First Mash and could use advise

Post by Setsumi » Fri Feb 19, 2021 10:11 am

congrats on your first wash.try reading a bit more on HD before purchasing from amazone on their reviews.
press https://homedistiller.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=79008
twins viewtopic.php?f=50&t=80886
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Re: First Mash and could use advise

Post by Saltbush Bill » Fri Feb 19, 2021 10:34 am

What you have made is called a wash.......not a mash......a mash is made with grains.
Gets confusing if we dont use the right words for the right things.

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Re: First Mash and could use advise

Post by AZJarhead » Fri Feb 19, 2021 12:29 pm

Ya, I am getting the verbage down. Thanks for all the advice. I can always use some.
So I ran the sacrificial alcohol run, only about 3gal worth. Using this Chinese still (which I tried to return) it never got over 50C and was spitting out liquid at 30C. The head was almost 70proof using the Chinese Alcohol hydrometer, the next jar about 60 and then 50. And yes it smells like CRAP. So I am pouring out the rest of my wash and starting over.

Just got an email from milehidistilling.com that my still is on the way, which made my day. Manual in English and don't have to Jerry Rig it. :thumbup:

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Re: First Mash and could use advise

Post by shadylane » Fri Feb 19, 2021 2:01 pm

AZJarhead wrote:
Fri Feb 19, 2021 7:57 am

Questions;
Did I use too much sugar?
Yes, you used too much sugar.
1.5 pounds of sugar per gallon of water is what I use..

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Re: First Mash and could use advise

Post by AZJarhead » Fri Feb 19, 2021 3:38 pm

Starting over and would like to know if this is good.
Creating a new basic sugar wash as I want to add apple cider/juice + spices after making a run.
Using the following per directions on pkg;
5Gal of water, starting with 3 to melt the 7lbs of sugar.
Cool then add;
Red Star Distiller's Active Dry Yeast; 1/4 tsp per gallon
Fermax Yeast Nutrient; 1 tsp per gallon

And hope I get a good wash????

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Re: First Mash and could use advise

Post by Deplorable » Fri Feb 19, 2021 4:18 pm

Use Shady's Sugar Shine recipe in the tried and true section, and follow it to the letter. If you have any issues at all, there is a whole forum here to help you troubleshoot it. Making up recipes on the fly and guessing is a hard (and expensive) way to learn.
Save the rest of that Turbo wash to clean your new still you ordered
Use all your senses, and its not that hard. You just have to pay attention.

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Re: First Mash and could use advise

Post by 30xs » Fri Feb 19, 2021 4:19 pm

AZJarhead wrote:
Fri Feb 19, 2021 3:38 pm
Starting over and would like to know if this is good.
Creating a new basic sugar wash as I want to add apple cider/juice + spices after making a run.
Using the following per directions on pkg;
5Gal of water, starting with 3 to melt the 7lbs of sugar.
Cool then add;
Red Star Distiller's Active Dry Yeast; 1/4 tsp per gallon
Fermax Yeast Nutrient; 1 tsp per gallon

And hope I get a good wash????
Look in the tried and true for birdwatchers, close to what your contemplating. There’s also Shady’s sugar shine and Wineos that come to mind.

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Re: First Mash and could use advise

Post by shadylane » Fri Feb 19, 2021 8:23 pm

AZJarhead wrote:
Fri Feb 19, 2021 3:38 pm

5Gal of water, starting with 3 to melt the 7lbs of sugar.
Cool then add;
Red Star Distiller's Active Dry Yeast; 1/4 tsp per gallon
Fermax Yeast Nutrient; 1 tsp per gallon

And hope I get a good wash????
That recipe will work.
The DADY likes warm temps, keep it around 80'F if possible.

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Re: First Mash and could use advise

Post by AZJarhead » Sat Feb 20, 2021 9:41 am

Thank you for confirming my new wash. It seems to be steady at 75F.
So how can I use the Bad output from my first run to clean my new still when I get it? I got a gallon of output.
And do I have to also run a sacrifice run in it?

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Re: First Mash and could use advise

Post by Deplorable » Sat Feb 20, 2021 11:52 am

AZJarhead wrote:
Sat Feb 20, 2021 9:41 am
Thank you for confirming my new wash. It seems to be steady at 75F.
So how can I use the Bad output from my first run to clean my new still when I get it? I got a gallon of output.
And do I have to also run a sacrifice run in it?
When your new still arrives, wash it with hot soapy water and assemble it, and run a 1:1 ratio of water and vinegar through it, checking for leaks. let it run for a while with no water going through the product condenser, then turn on the cooling water and learn how to manage the cooling water flow to get a temperature gradient in the length of the condenser. Cool at the water in side and warm at the water out side. Now that you have an idea how much cooling water you need to flow to knock down water vapor, shut it off. drain the boiler, and fill it with a dilution of your saccrificial alcohol and water, a couple of gallons or so, of 25 to 30% abv. Now run the still to collect the distillate from the mixture. Go ahead and let it run long enough to learn a few things about yoru still. Adjust the output rate by applying more/less heat to the boiler, and see how fast it reacts to the changes you made.
You will learn a lot of valuable information playing with it this way, as well as making sure all of the flux, oils, and manufacturing and assembly byproducts are removed. You can keep the alcohol from your cleaning run, and reuse it when you add new parts, or modify the still, but mark it so it isnt accidently consumed.
Once you've performed this cleaning process, you dont have to repeat it unless you add new parts, or modifications to the still. You can pretty much just rinse it out after a run, dry it well, and put it away ready for the next run.
Use all your senses, and its not that hard. You just have to pay attention.

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Re: First Mash and could use advise

Post by AZJarhead » Sat Feb 20, 2021 2:27 pm

Deplorable, Thank You very much for that info/breakdown. Learning a lot from you all.
Thanks again.

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Re: First Mash and could use advise

Post by dukethebeagle120 » Sat Feb 20, 2021 6:36 pm

Deplorable wrote:
Fri Feb 19, 2021 4:18 pm
Use Shady's Sugar Shine recipe in the tried and true section, and follow it to the letter. If you have any issues at all, there is a whole forum here to help you troubleshoot it. Making up recipes on the fly and guessing is a hard (and expensive) way to learn.
Save the rest of that Turbo wash to clean your new still you ordered
Wineos simple sugar wash has beena winner for me for many years.
Its as neutral as you can get
And uses few ingredients
its better to think like a fool but keep your mouth shut,then to open ur mouth and have it confirmed

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Re: First Mash and could use advise

Post by AZJarhead » Sat Feb 20, 2021 6:45 pm

Great, however here is the confusing part. The yeast I am using; Red Star Distiller's Active Dry Yeast; calls for 1/4 tsp per Gallon. But his Simple Sugar Wash calls for 1/4 cup of distillers yeast. So which is correct? Other than that it is a good one for me to learn the basic wash before going to a mash.

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Re: First Mash and could use advise

Post by River Rat » Sat Feb 20, 2021 6:56 pm

Red Star DADY does great in small amounts for grain mashes, in my experience. I've never done a sugar wash but it sounds like most folks on here pitch a lot of yeast in sugar washes. I would follow the tried and true recipe and go with the 1/4 cup.
Plain ole pot rig.

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Re: First Mash and could use advise

Post by shadylane » Sat Feb 20, 2021 7:27 pm

Here's my theory
An all grain mash has lots of nutrients that yeast needs to multiply.
Most sugar washes, not so much. So we pitch lot's of yeast.

On a side note
I prefer bakers yeast over distillers yeast.
DADY has a higher alcohol tolerance, but bakers wins on every thing else.
Bakers is cheap enough to boil some of it and use it for nutrients. :wink:

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Re: First Mash and could use advise

Post by River Rat » Sat Feb 20, 2021 8:06 pm

Makes sense to me.
Plain ole pot rig.

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Re: First Mash and could use advise

Post by AZJarhead » Mon Feb 22, 2021 11:48 am

My new still from www.milehidistilling.com arrived yesterday. I used the cleaning instructions Deplorable listed above and all went well. Learned a lot about the still and how easy it is to control the heat. Great Still. Waiting to run my first wash in it!!! Thanks for all the help/info.

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Re: First Mash and could use advise

Post by Deplorable » Mon Feb 22, 2021 12:12 pm

Take any pictures of it to share yet?
Use all your senses, and its not that hard. You just have to pay attention.

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Re: First Mash and could use advise

Post by AZJarhead » Tue Feb 23, 2021 9:28 am

No I didn't, but will when I run my first run in it.

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Re: First Mash and could use advise

Post by AZJarhead » Tue Feb 23, 2021 11:20 am

Sorry to drag this out, but still learning.
I made 2 washs, one per using the Distillers yeast and one using the Turbo yeast. Didn't want to just through away the turbo.

The Turbo yeast pkg shows to run it in 2 to 7 days depending on the amount. Yet it never seems to "clear" so does that matter. I attached a pic of the Turbo wash I siphoned into my still.
[/align]
image0.jpeg
turbo wash.jpeg
The recipe (listed in earlier post) I used with the Distiller's Yeast (1/4 cup) which I started last Friday. I had to use a Wort Chiller to keep it below 80deg. But is now staying at a good 73.5deg with little activity. When should I see this starting to clear, or do I need to wait past 5 days for it too clear?

Also attached some pics of the still, showing relux and pot setup.
Pot setup
Pot setup
Reflux setup
Reflux setup

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Re: First Mash and could use advise

Post by Deplorable » Tue Feb 23, 2021 11:47 am

Once fermentation is complete on a sugar wash, (noted by consistant readings on a hydrometer over a few days) the suspended solids will fall to the bottom of the fermenter. It will not get "clear". I let my washes sit a couple of days to settle out the yeast trub. AG mashes and sugar heads, sit longer.
What was the reading on your hydrometer before you pitched yeast on the 2nd wash? Its done when it reads 1.000 or less, but may stall due to a pH crash, so monitor your pH and adjust accordingly.

Make sure you do the math to ensure your boiler will remain sufficiently full to cover the element after you've boiled off all the available alcohol.
I'd stuff some copper mesh in that spool above the boiler to remove sulfites, and in pot still mode, Id run it wihtout the sight glass and the reflux condenser.

In reflux mode, Id pack that column full of copper mesh, and run it very slow to maximize the efficiency of the water jacket RC. SS has poor heat transfer, so you'll want a good supply of consistant cold water over the course of the run to make sure you maintain reflux.
Use all your senses, and its not that hard. You just have to pay attention.

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Re: First Mash and could use advise

Post by Deplorable » Tue Feb 23, 2021 11:55 am

Oh, one more thing. Put a peice of tape over that thermometer. Learn to run your still without it. Listen to your still, feel where the heat is in the column. Smell the spout, you'll know when its about to start producing. Then feel, and smell the out put. Rub it between your fingers, smell it, rub it on your lips. you'll learn the difference bewteen heads, hearts, and tails pretty fast doing this and reading the thread on making cuts for new distillers.
Read, read, read some more. Read until you are talking in your sleep about distilling.
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Use all your senses, and its not that hard. You just have to pay attention.

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Re: First Mash and could use advise

Post by AZJarhead » Tue Feb 23, 2021 12:48 pm

Good catch on not using reflux section, I removed it and doing better. Running the turbo wash, and it is real easy to keep the heat at 180deg.
Captured 400mil of my heads, which lighted easily in a spoon and burns clear and blue and steady with a flame I can't see .
2nd Jar is at 130P/65% still running. at a constant drip.

Not sure about "the math" as ai put in enough wash to get to the top ridge of the milk can, but still plenty of room. Plus this still has a 5 LB Safety Valve to relieve pressure build-up in still.

For the 2nd wash, I checked PH and it was down to 3.50 so I added some lime juice but hasn't changed yet. The SG is at 1.000.
I have been reading/using "How to Master Moonshine" written by R.W. Marshall and doesn't talk about PH for a regular sugar wash.
Home Distilling handbook, by Christopher Yorke does.

I know this is a lot of info and I really appreciate your help!!! Thanks. :thumbup:

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Re: First Mash and could use advise

Post by Deplorable » Tue Feb 23, 2021 3:01 pm

Lime juice is going to take it the wrong direction making it more acidic. Read up on pH crashes in a sugar wash. Use the Google search at the top of the page.
Read until your eyes bleed. Everything in this hobby takes time, including the learning.
Use all your senses, and its not that hard. You just have to pay attention.

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Re: First Mash and could use advise

Post by AZJarhead » Wed Feb 24, 2021 7:33 am

My ph level was 3.50 which by what I have read is too low. Lime is suppose to raise it which it did, now at 3.75 but not 4.5. So I have ordered some calcium carbonate.

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