First wash and question about Epsom Salts

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

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njsignman
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First wash and question about Epsom Salts

Post by njsignman » Mon Apr 06, 2020 5:02 am

Hi all,

It's been five years since posting on HD and have finally gotten moving with this hobby. I have a first wash sitting. I bought a Clawhammer 5 gal unit and decided to use their sugar recipe. Yes, I had forgotten about the tried and true section here. My next will be a batch of birdwatchers for sure.

I followed their recipe (5 gal liquid) but didn't have raisins so used pineapple chunks. After almost a week, nothing at all was happening. BTW, my initial reading was 1.075 which IIRC should have been a good start for a first wash. There still a load of re-reading that I'm catching up on. Anyway, after reading more here I realized that my storage area was just too cold (heated workshop at about 65 deg F) and moved it into the small bathroom. I've kept it at about 75 deg in there and wrapped a blanket around the bucket. Also, I added another 2 lb of sugar and a couple small boxes of raisins and another packet of yeast. A couple days later, now i can see it starting to bubble. Still nothing really strong but when I lift the lid on the fermenter i can see multiple small bubbles coming up every second. I'll give it another week at least since I started so cold. That also gives me time to do a 2nd/3rd cleaning run on the new beastie, get my water pump set up correct, etc.

My question is for the Birdwatchers, is there a substitute for Epsom Salts? I'm trying to avoid any more trips to a store for now. I did search here (and often suck at picking the right words to put into the search bar) but didn't find a substitute.

Thanks!

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still_stirrin
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Re: First wash and question about Epsom Salts

Post by still_stirrin » Mon Apr 06, 2020 6:02 am

A little DAP (diammonium phosphate) is a good nutrient. Epsom salts is magnesium sulfate, of which magnesium is good for yeast metabolism. Sulfur, not so much. But yeast love phosphorous, and nitrogen from the DAP.

If you search for “sugar wash nutrients” you’ll get a compendium of responses.
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Re: First wash and question about Epsom Salts

Post by cayars » Mon Apr 06, 2020 6:41 am

Just me personally but I'd not use Epsom salts in ferments. Instead add any grain wheat, oats, rye or barley. Grains are high in B-12 as well. Doesn't take much so a sugar wash with a little flaked oats (grocery store) thrown in will cover your B-12/magnesium needs plus add some mouthfeel depending on how much is added.

A banana will work great as well as it's high in potassium, rich in magnesium, vitamin C, vitamin B6. Hard to not like using them if available. 1/2 a banana skin and all in a 5 gallon wash will do the trick quite nicely and probably not even that much is needed. I don't do sugar washes very often but a banana or two in a 44 gallon brute with nothing but sugar and water ferments out just fine for me with pH adjustments if needed.
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Corsaire
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Re: First wash and question about Epsom Salts

Post by Corsaire » Thu Apr 09, 2020 4:02 am

Birdwatcher's uses tomato paste, not epsom salts.

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Saltbush Bill
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Re: First wash and question about Epsom Salts

Post by Saltbush Bill » Thu Apr 09, 2020 5:22 am

Corsaire wrote:
Thu Apr 09, 2020 4:02 am
Birdwatcher's uses tomato paste, not epsom salts.
That is true Corsaire the original here does not, but I think if you take the time to google up Birdwatchers Wash , TPW Wash you will find that nearly all of them do use some Epsom Salts.
Magnesium is quite important in many ways for yeast cell health and growth. If you can find an easier way to get some magnesium into your wash then please tell me. In my opinion there are a few washes out there that make a better neutral spirit than TPW, As far as I remember ,each of those use Epsom Salt in the recipes.
The Crux of it is.....as I see it, that recipes develop and get better as time goes on. People find what does and does not work, That is why we have the Tried and Proven recipes that exist and are used world wide today.
As an example here is a quote from an old post from the early days of the forum.
birdwatcher wrote:
Fri Nov 10, 2006 5:56 am
by birdwatcher » Sat Nov 11, 2006 12:56 am
Tater,
In my wash, I'm using sugar only. No nutrients.
23 liters water, 5 kg white sugar, 75 gr. bakers yeast. SG 1.09, 85 F
G
From reading that thread I suspect that the tomato paste was added at Taters suggestion...............I could well be wrong ....that post was made well before my time.

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thecroweater
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Re: First wash and question about Epsom Salts

Post by thecroweater » Thu Apr 09, 2020 6:57 am

It depends what ya got there, nuts have a high amount of magnesium, considerably higher than cereal as a rule but you are still going to need 35 grams of say almonds to get 100 milligrams of magnesium. That said 100 grams of tomato paste will give you about 45 milligrams of magnesium. One teaspoon of Epson salts will yield about 500 mgs and about how much I would use in an 80 litre wash.
The truth of the matter is you can do a Tomato paste wash without Epson salts but it may turn out a bit better and faster with it with a reduced chance of stalling, a hell of a lot of guys don't bother.
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Corsaire
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Re: First wash and question about Epsom Salts

Post by Corsaire » Thu Apr 09, 2020 10:56 am

Thanks for the info SBB. I've made it twice, to use in a cleaning run. So I'm far from an expert.
It did ferment out fine with just tomato paste though.

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