Sugar Wash Observations

Sugar, and all about sugar washes. Where the primary ingredient is sugar, and other things are just used as nutrients.

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Dennis
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Sugar Wash Observations

Post by Dennis » Tue Mar 24, 2020 8:06 am

What I’ve done so far with my first sugar wash.

25 pounds of sugar inverted
12 gallons of water
14 oz tomato paste dissolved
128 grams of yeast/proofed
.28 grams epson salts dissolved
PH of water approximately 5-6 after adding ingredients except yeast
Wash/room temperature 70-74 degrees

I’ve never read a hydrometer before but read and watched a few videos on the subject.
My first reading appeared to be about 1.140 with a 20% potential alcohol content prior to adding yeast.

10 days later the hydrometer reads about 1.06 yeast added

It is still bubbling but over the past several days the hydrometer hasn’t moved much. I just have the containers loosely cover no air lock. Lots of very tiny bubbles. When I stir the wash it foams up quite a bit then settles down.

Is this about what should happen with a sugar wash? Seems to be talking longer than I expected. I’m not in any hurry just wondering. Any comments?

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Re: Sugar Wash Observations

Post by still_stirrin » Tue Mar 24, 2020 8:22 am

An OG = 1.140?? Monstrous!

You didn’t say what yeast you used....I only hope it wasn’t a Turbo yeast. Frankly, I’m surprised it even started as that is too much sugar and will stress the yeast.

And with the gravity stalled at 1.060-ish, it is no wonder. I bet if you check the pH now it’ll be down around the low to mid 3’s, ie - 3.2 to 3.4. That’s damn acidic, enough to shutdown yeast activity. Even with the nutrients you added, yeast simply can’t tolerate an environment that is too acidic. 4.0 or so is fine. But below 3.5 and it is detrimental. Remember, pH is logarithmic, not a linear scale.

And what’s more, there is probably a lot of unfermented sugar still in the wash. Your best bet would be to split the wash and add water and warm it up to see if you can restart the ferments. Adding water will dilute the sugar concentration as well as dilute the acid level. But don’t add any more fermentables or nutrients. You shouldn’t need to stir it up either...just let it restart....and it may take a day or two to restart. You should (hopefully) get a finish gravity down around 1.000 in time.

Next time, don’t try to push your opening gravity above 1.070-1.075 (10%ABV potential).
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Re: Sugar Wash Observations

Post by StillerBoy » Tue Mar 24, 2020 8:36 am

Dennis wrote:
Tue Mar 24, 2020 8:06 am
Is this about what should happen with a sugar wash? Seems to be talking longer than I expected. I’m not in any hurry just wondering.
No... if done properly, it should be done in 3 - 4 days..

Where did you get the information that 25 lbs to 12 gal of water was a good recipe for a sugar wash..

Mars
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Re: Sugar Wash Observations

Post by GCB3 » Tue Mar 24, 2020 9:49 am

I agree with the comments above. Also, did you correct your hydrometer readings for temperature?

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Re: Sugar Wash Observations

Post by Evascroll » Tue Mar 24, 2020 10:00 am

In my opinion! Way to much sugar! I use 4 pound for 12 gallon of water in my recipe!

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Re: Sugar Wash Observations

Post by Evascroll » Tue Mar 24, 2020 10:05 am

I suggest you to go to the parent site and read all the information there firts!! Will help you on the long run and save you $$😁😁😁

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Re: Sugar Wash Observations

Post by Dennis » Tue Mar 24, 2020 11:13 am

Thanks for all the comments. I used the Birdwatchers calculator and used what it said to for the wash. At least pretty closely. So now I’m a bit confused as I thought I was following a recipe. For the original SG I may have read that incorrectly. But right now the ph is at 5-6.

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Re: Sugar Wash Observations

Post by GCB3 » Tue Mar 24, 2020 11:43 am

Dennis, you’re not too far off. I use 22 pounds for a 14 gallon BW wash and the OG falls between 1.072 and 1.075 every time. Typically finishes dry at 1.0 or below. I’m guessing you are correct your OG reading may have been an error. I am however surprised that your pH is that high. I typically add five or six oyster shells and as the ferment progresses the pH will buffer in the low to mid 4’s.

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Re: Sugar Wash Observations

Post by Dennis » Tue Mar 24, 2020 1:17 pm

GCB3 I’m using litmus ph paper and it appears to be accurate. What I don’t get is the concerns about the amount of sugar. Maybe a bit high but not by much according to the birdwatchers calculator. As I’m just learning I thought the calculator was correct apparently not from people’s comments. I did use bread yeast for this wash. I’m not going to try and correct anything At this point I’d rather start over with a better recipe I guess. I’ll do more research!

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Re: Sugar Wash Observations

Post by StillerBoy » Tue Mar 24, 2020 2:17 pm

Three things that required proper monitoring in a sugar wash.. the pitching temperature that the yeast is pitched at, usually around 90 - 95*F.. the temperature that the yeast ferments best at, baker's yeast (bread) usually at 85*F.. and the Ph of the wash both at the pitching time (Ph 5.5) and at the 6th and 12 hrs, which will require an adjustment to bring in back to 4 - 4.5 range, done with using calcium carbonate or calcium hydroxide..

Your Ph papers, in my view, are not indicating the right acidity level of your wash, or you are not reading it properly.. there is a big different in a Ph of 5 and Ph of 6, and you stated the you had a reading of 5 - 6.. with the level of sugar used, the Ph is surely below the ideal level that the yeast enjoy.. a Ph meter is the tool to that with, and the 10# on ebay will do the task well..

Baker yeast require a fermenting temperature of at least 85*F and maintained at that level throughout the fermenting period.. if the about info outline about is followed, fermentation is done in 3 - 4 days..

Mars
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Re: Sugar Wash Observations

Post by GCB3 » Tue Mar 24, 2020 2:38 pm

Hey Dennis. As I said above you are not far off of the BW recipe. One of the corner stone beliefs on this site is that a higher quality product results from unstressed yeast. Most recommended an OG of less than 1.08 for a sugar wash. It has been a longtime since read the BW recipe thread, but, if memory serves, I believe he reduce the OG recommendation further into the thread. I may be wrong About that.

Sugar washers will typically drop pH during the first few days. This can crash your wash. I also use the strip paper but it is notoriously inaccurate. I keep several packs and often Double check from two different packs. As soon as I started adding oyster shells I no longer had any PH issues.

You can try another neutral recipe , but, this one is popular neutral wash and has been successful for many of us.
Good luck and Will come together for you before long.

Please excuse any typos. I currentlyI have to have two dictate these posts and the translator has some quirks.

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Re: Sugar Wash Observations

Post by Dennis » Tue Mar 24, 2020 2:53 pm

I will get that ph meter from Amazon. The yeast was pitched at about 85 degrees but not maintained. The temperature settled in at about 75 degrees at it highest and there it remains. Time for so sort of heaters. I see a few members use aquarium heaters or strap heaters, even a heating pad might work. Aquarium heats will probably be the cheapest and can be submerged. Right now I’m using 7 gallon buckets but would like something bigger. Well thanks for the advice I will keep at it.

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Re: Sugar Wash Observations

Post by StillerBoy » Tue Mar 24, 2020 3:48 pm

It is always a good thing to have the appropriate tools for the task.. in a sugar wash, a thermometer, a Ph meter, some means to maintain temperature, some buffing agent, are some of tools required for good results..

A temperature of 75*F in a low limit for bread yeast, as it will take days to work off, again, providing that the Ph is within the ideal range, if not it will stall..

Mars
" I know quite certainly that I myself have no special talent. Curiosity, Obsession and dogged endurance, combined with self-criticism, have brought me to my ideas "

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Re: Sugar Wash Observations

Post by Dennis » Sun Mar 29, 2020 7:28 am

Update: I put heating pads under the pails 3 days ago and set the temperature to 86 degrees the specific gravity shows it has move from 1.06 to 1.03. About 15 days into this wash so far. Haven’t got the ph meter yet so I don’t know the ph level. This is my first and I think the temperature was the biggest problem. Once this one ends I’ll start another with new tools and information provided by members. It does smell great!

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Re: Sugar Wash Observations

Post by GCB3 » Sun Mar 29, 2020 9:44 am

Congrats!

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Re: Sugar Wash Observations

Post by Dennis » Tue Mar 31, 2020 6:35 am

This is my first sugar wash or only wash so far and was going to be used as the sacrificial run for my still. Is there a problem just running the wash as it is, 1.01. Or will the sugar content gum up everything. I could wait but getting anxious to start a second wash.

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Re: Sugar Wash Observations

Post by cayars » Tue Mar 31, 2020 11:11 am

If you haven't done a vinegar/water wash get that done first. Then do the sacrificial wash run.
1.01 is good enough for the sacrificial run especially if you need the containers to start a new wash for actual spirits which I'm sure your anxious to get too.

Next time try to keep the potential ABV at around 10% which will allow you to finish much faster.
Best of luck to you.
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Re: Sugar Wash Observations

Post by Dennis » Tue Mar 31, 2020 12:16 pm

Thanks cayars I have done the required other cleaning and just waiting for this wash to finish. Made enough mistakes one this one so the next should be a charm. I now have all the necessary materials to do the job correctly. That old adage buy two hydrometers and you will have two forever well my name was on that list :? Mars says I can do it in about three days can’t wait. Thanks again for responding.

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Re: Sugar Wash Observations

Post by StillerBoy » Tue Mar 31, 2020 1:18 pm

Dennis wrote:
Tue Mar 31, 2020 12:16 pm
Mars says I can do it in about three days can’t wait.
You've got the info, the process, the ingredients, and the tools.. all it takes now is the doing..

If the process is followed, 3 days..

Enjoy the learning of following a process..

Mars
" I know quite certainly that I myself have no special talent. Curiosity, Obsession and dogged endurance, combined with self-criticism, have brought me to my ideas "

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Re: Sugar Wash Observations

Post by Dennis » Wed Apr 01, 2020 1:18 pm

still_stirrin wrote:
Tue Mar 24, 2020 8:22 am
An OG = 1.140?? Monstrous!

You didn’t say what yeast you used....I only hope it wasn’t a Turbo yeast. Frankly, I’m surprised it even started as that is too much sugar and will stress the yeast.

And with the gravity stalled at 1.060-ish, it is no wonder. I bet if you check the pH now it’ll be down around the low to mid 3’s, ie - 3.2 to 3.4. That’s damn acidic, enough to shutdown yeast activity. Even with the nutrients you added, yeast simply can’t tolerate an environment that is too acidic. 4.0 or so is fine. But below 3.5 and it is detrimental. Remember, pH is logarithmic, not a linear scale.

And what’s more, there is probably a lot of unfermented sugar still in the wash. Your best bet would be to split the wash and add water and warm it up to see if you can restart the ferments. Adding water will dilute the sugar concentration as well as dilute the acid level. But don’t add any more fermentables or nutrients. You shouldn’t need to stir it up either...just let it restart....and it may take a day or two to restart. You should (hopefully) get a finish gravity down around 1.000 in time

Next time, don’t try to push your opening gravity above 1.070-1.075 (10%ABV potential).
ss
SS just got the PH meter and calibrated it. Guess what you were correct. The reading was 3.2! Weather has been bad so I’m not running it yet. Curiosity got the better of me so a few more days before I run won’t hurt I guess. The SG is still at 1.01. Going to add some water also and see what happens.

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Re: Sugar Wash Observations

Post by Dennis » Fri Apr 17, 2020 6:41 am

Well finally was able to run my cleaning sugar wash run. I ran for about 3 hours and got two quarts at between 68/70%. Two quarts at about 60/62% and two quarts at about 55%. This is where I stopped. I don’t throw anything away. It was very interesting as I played with the boiler temperature and the different results. Also the water flow to the product condenser. It took some time to heat up, about 1 hour 45 minutes. I wasn’t sure how much power to put to it to start so I stayed around 2000 watts. This in the end was a good spot for the entire run after heating up. Caught me off guard when the product started flowing. When it did I turned on the water to the condenser which was still quite cold. I don’t have a thermometer except for meat one. I just placed it on the top of the boiler and it was approximately 186 degrees. At the top of the column it was approximately 172 degrees. I only had to make a few adjustments to keep it in that range a little higher towards the end. So the sweet spot for my rig seems to be around 2000 watts and I get a constant flow maybe a bit to much but this was just a cleaning run. It took 13 kilowatts to preform the task.

For the water source I used the stand size wash tub in the laundry room. My CCVM reflux condenser was attached to the piping and I didn’t remove it just submerged it in the water. Must say the wife didn’t like the smell from the process. Not sure what to do with that. Any no I can’t get rid of her. :lolno:

So all in all it was fun and I learned a bunch. Time now for something I can drink. Thanks again to everyone who help me!

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