BEGINNERS’ GEMS #6: Finally Taming the Yeast Beast

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HERE'S OUR SIXTH article for home distilling beginners, drawing a line under all we could find for you about yeast.

Our previous Beginners’ Gems posts containing helpful hints, tips and techniques for home distillers, include the following:


This sixth article wraps up any remaining issues you might have with your home distillers yeast.

Couple of facts about re-start yeast strains:

The 'special thing' about re-start strains is they have in-built tolerance to around 10% ABV but if added to 12% ABV they die.

If a yeast sticks, often times the ABV percentage will be above 12%ABV because even when the wash has overheated during fermentation it would usually hit 12%ABV anyway.

Alternately, it may be because the wash has cooled down below 15°C (59°F). In this case, warm the wash up and stir vigorously to get the yeast back into circulation. Once the wash is warm fermentation should continue normally.

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I have tried to get the wash going again but nothing seems to start it?

Distill it anyway. You will not get as much alcohol as you would from a normally fermented wash. Watch the temperature on the condenser and stop when you have reached the appropriate maximum temperature for your model.

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My wash has turned to jelly!

The problem described is the result of a bacterial contamination from Leuconostoc. Under certain conditions, this bacterium produces a polysaccharide. This polysaccharide looks like jelly. Whilst it is totally harmless, customers would definitely complain if they saw such a contamination.

This bacterium can live on surfaces within a brewing environment, especially where there is a lot of repeat brewing, this is likely to be the source of contamination. But, for leuconostoc to contaminate a brew would require very low temperatures - under such conditions, very little ethanol would be produced during the first 48 hours allowing the Leuconostoc to take hold.

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Until next time... Happy Distilling!

Cheers


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Posted in Distilling, Fermentation.