Hobby distillers are often overwhelmed with choice when it comes to selecting what yeast to use for their wash. A popular option is to go with a product called ‘Turbo Yeast’ in the hopes of achieving a fast and clean fermentation. This is a hybrid form of yeast used to acquire higher levels of distilled alcoholic beverages in a short time. It combines distiller’s yeast with a potent concoction of yeast nutrients to ‘turbocharge’ the yeast cells.
But is it any good? And, which turbo yeast should you use? The following guide will cover the different types of turbo yeast and how it is made. In addition, it will cover the different types and best turbo yeast types, there are.
We found the best turbo yeast is the StillSprit ‘Turbo Pure’ Turbo Yeast. If you don’t ferment too hot, this slightly slower turbo yeast seems to ferment cleanly with the lowest amount of funky esters being produced. It’s relatively cheap, and can turn about 6kg of sugar into a 14% wash in about a week.
What Is Turbo Yeast, And How Is It Made?
Turbo yeast is described as “a highly complex blend of distiller yeast with a combination of micro and macronutrients that’s made to maximize the quality and speed of the fermentation process”. When turbo yeast is used, it behaves much faster than when regular yeast is used alone.
Why should I use turbo yeast instead of regular yeast?
When we use turbo yeast we get results much faster than if they we regular yeast. They provide yeast the exact nutrients it requires to perform optimally, however, it can also come at a cost.
What’s the catch?
Pushing the yeast this hard and fast can cause the yeast cells to stress and therefore have a higher chance of stalling (and not finishing the fermentation) and create a whole lot of undesirable flavor compounds. They wash can ferment hot, which also increases the risk of ester production. Finally, the natural aerobic and anerobic cycles of yeast reproduction are shortened which can result in the wash not clearing or flocculating as it would usually do.
Turbo Yeast vs. Regular Yeast
Turbo yeast vs. regular yeast?
Turbo yeast is not like regular yeast, it is a special kind of yeast. It is complex and distillers prefer how the micro and macronutrients of Turbo yeast can produce an output of alcohol at much higher ABV% levels in less time. shorter periods. This is why distillers prefer to use it over normal yeast. Regular yeast just is not the right kind of yeast for creating that high alcohol ABV % or for making certain spirits.
How to use Turbo Yeast
When you are planning to make your own batch of whisky, vodka, or rum, the best way is to follow some professional tips. Below are three of the best ways to use turbo yeast to yield outstanding results.
Tip #1 – The Water
When using turbo yeast for brewing alcoholic beverages, what is the best water to use? Tap water is usually the typical choice; yet distilled or spring water will also be sufficient. Because turbo yeast has a totally complex set of minerals and nutrients it doesn’t matter what type of water is used. Although tap water is recommended there is no known disadvantage to using distilled water.
Tip #2 – Yeast Ratio
If you want to make a gallon of mash use the 2 to 4 grams turbo yeast ratio for each gallon.They type of turbo yeast you have is dependent on how much you should use–try to keep it at 1.5 to 2 grams. Additionally, you can blend together some distillers or active bread yeast with the turbo yeast.
Tip #3 – Low And Slow
If you use the Classic 6 or Classic 8 turbo yeasts fermentation can take from seven to twelve days. Heat will be activated in 24 to 48 hours at the start of fermentation. Although turbo yeast works well in high temperatures of over 120 Fahrenheit if you allow water to heat above the 140-degree point your yeast will start to die.
But, isn’t turbo yeast meant to be really bad?
Much has been said about turbo yeast since it came into the market. Some would claim that works like magic, while others would say that it was only fit to produce alcohol good enough to be used as paint thinner.
Our Honest Opinion On Turbo Yeast:
FYI: We’ve answered this question in full detail in this article here.
Turbo Yeast when used properly and with caution, can be a very good accelerator of ethanol production.It is not viable for wine and beer but is an excellent tool in making neutral spirits such as vodka and in turn, gin.
We would advise against using turbo yeast for any spirits where you won’t be using a reflux column – i.e. A pot stilled whiskey.
If you think that maximizing alcohol production in the fastest time possible sounds like a bit of you, then Turbo yeast given the right species and the right nutrition is definitely worth a try.
If you want to make a flavored spirit, check out our other guides for the best yeast to choose:
- The best yeast for making rum
- The best yeast for making tequila and mezcal
- The best yeast for making whiskey
- The best yeast for making vodka
What different types of turbo yeasts are there?
This section is a list of some of the different types of turbo yeasts there are. Each of the available yeasts for distilling has its own similarities as well as differences. Making them the best turbo yeast for distilling alcohol and moonshine.
- 24-hour and 48-Hour Turbo Yeast: This great marketing, and marketed for the distiller who’s in a hurry. You can yield five gallons with one 24-hour turbo yeast packet, with 14% alcohol. However, if you have a little extra time, the 48-hour turbo yeast will ferment much cleaner. The truth: Yes, these will ferment in record time, but we’d recommend you leave to the chill out for a few days to clarify and for the flavors to tidy up.
- Classic 6 Turbo Yeast vs. Classic 8 Turbo Yeast: These are turbo yeasts made by a company called StillSpirits. The classic 6 is designed to be used with 6kg of sugar and take the wash to 14% in around 5 days, while the Classic 8 turbo yeast will take 8kg of sugar to 18% ABV in around a week.
- High-temperature Turbo Yeast: If you need to ferment at temperatures above 91Fahrenheit/33Celcius (but not over 140 F) there is a high-temperature turbo yeast called “Heat Wave”. This is a recommended turbo yeast for “stacking”, as well as for fermenting in a hot environment. This is a Turbo Yeast created using a base yeast strain that does not produce off-flavors at high temperatures. If you live in a warmer climate or have hot summers, this is actually a really good option!
- Rum Turbo Yeast: This type of turbo yeast uses a unique profile made to bring out a taste and aroma that is pleasing to the spirit. This is what gives Rum that sweet taste. Molasses is another ingredient to use along with rum yeast. If you want to make rum, this is the turbo yeast to use. Rum turbo yeast ferments at temperatures of 68-86 Fahrenheit and takes around 3 days to complete.
- Whiskey Turbo Yeast: This yeast provides the intended likeness which works well with grains and malted barley to provide the ultimate yield. Use this turbo yeast to create a single malt whisky, corn liquor, bourbon, or whiskey.
- Vodka Turbo Yeast: This turbo yeast has a higher sugar-to-ethanol rate of conversion with a lower congener profile. It is the best turbo yeast to make vodka, moonshine alcohol, or other high-purity neutral spirits.
What Are The 4 Best Turbo Yeasts Of 2023?
We’ve taken a look at some of the most popular general-purpose turbo yeasts to come up with our recommendations. Included are the best overall, fastest fermenting turbo yeast, and the best value for your money categories.
Note: We have not reviewed products such a “rum turbo yeast” because we don’t believe Turbo Yeast should be use for any spirits that are going to be pot stilled. A fit-for-purpose distillers’ yeast should be used in these instances.
1 . Still Spirits – Turbo Pure (Best Overall)
We found the best turbo yeast is the StillSprit ‘Turbo Pure’ Turbo Yeast. If you don’t ferment too hot, this slightly slower turbo yeast seems to ferment cleanly with the lowest amount of funky esters being produced. It’s relatively cheap and can turn about 6kg of sugar into a 14% wash in about a week.
Still Sprits market this as a “revolutionary breakthrough in yeast development allowing “Triple Distilled” quality alcohol to be made in the home for the first time. It’s designed to be used with 6 Kilos of white sugar (sucrose) or 7 Kilos of dextrose (glucose power) and should yeild upwards of 14% ABV.
Note: We’re not suite sure how a yeast can make a ‘triple distilled’ wash.. but assume this is marketing speak for ‘tastes quite nice’.
- Heat 23L / 6gal of fresh water to 30°C (86°F).
- Add 6kg (13lb 4oz) of table sugar or 7kg (15lb 7oz) of dextrose, and stir until completely disolved.
- Optional: Add Still Spirits Turbo Carbon at the same time as the yeast to aid in purification.
- Add the yeast and stir well, rest the lid loosely on the fermenter and leave to ferment at an air temperature of between 18-24°C (65-75°F) for 7 days.
- Leave for another 7 days and cold crash to clarify. Or, add StillSpirits Turbo Clear to speed this process up.
- Above 24°C (75°F) fermentation will produce off flavors!
Ingredients: Yeast, Yeast Nutrient, Bentonite, Activated Silicon Dioxide
Net Weight: 110g
2. Still Spirits – Classic 8 (Highest ABV)
Still Spirits Turbo Classic 8 is the best value for your money because you get 5 packs for the price of one. This brand of turbo yeast is tolerant to temperature and will get 18%-20% ABV when you use 8kg of sugar. This turbo yeast brand has advancements that include new absorbing minerals for an improvement in the quality of distilling.
- NEW: Brand new packaging, Same great high strength alcohol yeast.
3. Alcotec 24-hour Turbo Yeast, 205 grams (Fastest fermenting)
Alcotec 24-hour Turbo Yeast acquired fame for being the fastest fermenting turbo yeast currently sold today. Yeast that is tolerant of temperature and high performing as well as is nutritionally complete. In a mere 24 hours of using this turbo yeast, you can produce alcohol at 14%.
With any fast fermenting yeast, you run the risk of higher temperatures and more unwanted flavours. I guess this is fine if you really know what you’re doing with your reflux column, or aren’t producing drinking drinking ethanol, but generally we’d advise to slow things down and try squeeze some better flavor out of your wash.
4. Alcotec 48 Hour Turbo Yeast, 135g (4 Packs) (Runner Up)
This turbo yeast is the best overall because it is actually yeast that is a dual recipe. In as little as 48 hours it will ferment as much as 14%. In just five days, depending on the recipe used, it will be nearly 20% fermented. Continue adjusting how much sugar you add and allow this yeast to do its job!