Making the cleanest and best tasting spirit is not a difficult process, but rather simple once you break it down into 4 main steps.
Step 1: Fermentables, when making your wash most people use white sugar, it is a cheaper option and easier to come by, but also contains ‘Fructose’ a complex sugar that is harder for your yeast to break down. During this process, the yeast creates a lot of unwanted flavours which will add to the taste of your finished product. Dextrose is a much cleaner alternative, and should not only give you a better finished product, but a better yield also!
Step 2: Yeast, a lot of nutrient is in almost all commercially available yeast, but it is this nutrient that gives your finished alcohol a harsher and less desirable taste. Yeast nutrient is what gives ‘turbo yeasts’ the added volume and fast fermentation periods, however think of this ‘nutrient’ as you do fertiliser. Pump fertiliser into your flowers and your garden grows fast and looks great, pump your tomatoes full of fertiliser and there not going to taste nearly as good as organic!? Well, it’s the same with distillation, the better quality ingredients you use, the better quality product you end up with! Using a yeast like ‘Essencia Super 6 Ultra Pure’ will give you a cleaner alcohol, but unlike most turbo yeasts you will get a lower volume. It is a decision you are faced with, quality over quantity, Turbo Yeasts with more nutrient will give you more alcohol, cleaner yeasts with less nutrient will give you a better alcohol!
Step 3: Fermentation temperature, fermenting for a longer period at a lower temperature is ideal! As with beer and wine fermentation, the same principles apply to spirits. The yeast you use will have a specific temperature range to ferment within, most yeasts will ferment as high as 35C (some up to 40C) but although they will manage this will little problem, the ideal fermentation temperature for almost all spirit yeasts is 20-25C and this is the temperature that will allow a slower ferment, causing less undesired flavours (created from stressing the yeast at higher temperatures) and a cleaner finished product.
Step 4 : Carbon Treatment, to ensure a great tasting spirit it is important to use an effective carbon filter system! The old way to carbon treat was to soak your spirit on Activated Carbon for a number of days to a week, then use a finishing carbon and an inline/drip filter to run through the soaked spirit. When this was the only method available it worked as best it could, but it really is an ineffective means of trying to carbon treat alcohol, and does not work very well compared to the filters of today. These days there are many filters that are not only faster and work more effectively, but produce a much better finished product as well! See our “Filters & Carbon” section to look at some of the latest and greatest carbon filter systems available.