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.
Nevertheless, much improvement has been done to it since it was introduced by Gert Strand of Sweden in the 1980s. By 1996, the product’s quality has improved so much that more and more people began selling and manufacturing it, and it’s even been adopted for use in some commercial distilleries.
Turbo yeast is fine to use if not run too fast or too hot. However, We’d never recommend someone buys turbo yeast and instead pick up some proper distillers yeast based on the style of spirit you’re trying to make. Using the right yeast, good temperature control, yeast nutrition, and aeration will produce a far superior wash.
In this article I’ll explain why.
Table of Contents
What is Turbo Yeast?
Turbo yeast is a blend of distiller’s yeast formulation that combines yeast with a high efficacy and alcohol tolerance, with a blend of vitamins and minerals to help propagate and sustain the yeast.
This nutrient formulation is meant to assist strong and accelerated yeast growth in the fermentation stage. The yeast strain that is used in the blend is chosen for its neutral and vigorous fermentation qualities. Turbo Yeast is known to produce a yield that is higher in alcohol (ABV%) levels, done in less time.
What’s The Difference Between Turbo Yeast And Regular Yeast?
First off, regular yeast is the type of leaven that most bakers use and it is the majority of the world’s yeast consumption. It is technically a bacterium, under the species named Saccharomyces Cerevisiae. This type of yeast is not really suitable for producing alcohol since its designed to make bread, and tends to die out at high alcohol levels.
Next, the distiller’s yeast or brewer’s yeast is a particular species of Saccharomyces Cerevisiae. This type of yeast is strong enough to keep metabolizing sugar and produce alcohol, even under harsh conditions. Under the Saccharomyces species are other sub-species of yeast that produce different flavor congeners.
With distiller’s yeast, not all have the same quality and performance. So, the distiller must be specific about choosing what type of distiller yeast to use since he has to match it with the kind of spirit he wants to produce.
Turbo yeast, on the other hand, is a blend of distiller’s yeast that is made up of a more robust character and is formulated to perform better and faster than regular distiller’s yeast. The science behind it mainly depends on what nutrients you feed the yeast to make it grow faster while maintaining quality.
How Long Does Turbo Yeast Take to Ferment?
Depending on the formulation, a certain brand of turbo yeast can produce 14% alcohol volume in one day, and subsequently, raise it up to 20% in five days. This type of yeast is given added nutrients on top of the nutrients it already has, thereby accelerating growth. This type is perfect for moonshine sugar wash.
Another kind of turbo yeast can make 14% alcohol volume inside of three days, and up to 20% in seven days. This type of yeast is great for simple sugar wash fermentation.
How to Use Turbo Yeast
24-Hour Turbo Yeast
Expected Yield: 14% ABV, premium quality wash/base
- Prepare 5.5 gallons (21 liters) of hot water using a 7.9 gallon (30 liters) fermenter.
- Add 13 lbs. of sugar and stir. Make sure sugar is completely dissolved.
- When the sugar solution is already at 95F or 35C add the contents of a 24-hour turbo yeast sachet (260 grams) and stir well.
- Firmly close lid on the fermenter then, attach an airlock. Let it ferment between 68 to 86deg Farenheight for 24 hours.
Note: The fermentation period may vary depending on temperature control and surrounding conditions.
We love this turbo yeast from StillSpirits since it’s good value for money, but any reputable brand will do.
- NEW: Brand new packaging, Same great high strength alcohol yeast.
- MIGHTY AGENT: Classic Turbo Yeast is the original Turbo yeast. It reaches 18% ABV where 8kg of sugar is used and has excellent temperature tolerance.
- FERMENTATION ESSENTIAL: Turbo Classic Yeast is the biggest selling turbo recipe worldwide and the flag ship of still spirits turbo yeast range. The best all around performing. It is recommended to use it with Turbo Carbon for a significant improved performance.
What Spirits Should I Use Turbo Yeast For?
While you can use Turbo Yeast on any type of spirit such as whisky, rum, vodka, moonshine, gin, tequila, mezcal, and others, we would strongly advise against it.
These sprits are all defined by the flavor of their ferment/wash. This means you want to taste what you’ve fermented.
Now as we’ve discussed, Turbo Yeast does create some off-flavors. It’s harsh, and to be perfectly honest, you don’t want your whiskey wash to finish at 14% ABV.
We recommend only using Turbo Yeast for making neutral spirits.
That is, a spirit that will be run multiple times, including in a reflux column to get as close to azeotrope (96% ABV) as possible.
Using turbo yeast for neutral allows us to benefit from the high alcohol, and quick fermentation properties of the yeast, without having to worry about any bad flavors it introduces into our process.
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
In Conclusion, Is Turbo Yeast Any Good?
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.