Turbo Yeast


Turbo Yeast is substantially different to wine, beer or baker’s yeast. It is specially formulated to ferment regular white sugar (sucrose) and produce an exceptionally clean alcohol base with minimal congeners, off-flavours and off-odours. Turbo Yeast contains a yeast strain that is extremely alcohol-tolerant and a complex mix of nutrients that results in vigorous fermentation and, depending on which type of Turbo yeast is used, will yield 14%-20+% under optimal conditions.

There are three types of “Turbos”: one making 14% alcohol in three days, one making 18% alcohol in seven days and one making 20% alcohol in 18 days. The 18% yeast will yield 50% - 100% more alcohol from the same fermentation compared to baker’s yeast. With the 14% type, the fermentation will be fast and yield 2%-3% more alcohol than with bakers yeast. All three types of Turbos produce less congeners than baker’s or brewer's yeasts.

The yeast needs 17 grams of sugar per litre of mash to produce 1% alcohol. To get 14% alcohol in 25 litres of mash, 6 kg sugar is required. To achieve 18% alcohol requires 8 kg sugar. Under temperature-controlled conditions, 20+% alcohol is possible, requiring 9 kg of sugar. Note: If you are using a carboy for fermentation, the capacity is usually 23 litres, not 25 litres and the sugar weights will need to be reduced to 5.5 Kg, 7.0 Kg and 8.25 Kg respectively.

General Instructions for Fermentation

For detailed instructions on fermentation using specific yeasts, click on Turbo Yeast Fermentation.

Dissolve sugar (usually 6 kg for 14% and 8 kg for 18%) in warm water to give a total volume of 25 litres. The sugar must be completely dissolved to be able to ferment to alcohol. Use a clean 30-litre capacity plastic primary fermenter with a loose-fitting lid, or a tight-fitting lid with an airlock, so there is 5 litres of “space” left unused above the mash. If the container is not new, make sure it has previously been used only for food and not for dangerous chemicals.

Add the Turbo Yeast sachet contents and then place in a warm (20-25°C) location for a few days in order for the yeast to convert (ferment) all the sugar into alcohol.


It is most important to note that in the absence of oxygen, yeast will convert sugar into alcohol but if oxygen is present, it reproduces yeast cells but does not make alcohol! Keep the fermentation vessel closed until fermentation is complete.

Depending on the particular Turbo Yeast you’ve used and the temperature during fermentation, your wash will be at 14%-18% (perhaps even 20+%) alcohol when fermentation is complete.

How to Make Quality Spirits and Liqueurs at Home.

1. Make clean, pure ethanol.
2. Use the best available essences to flavour it.

You don't need to understand the science of fermentation to make good spirits and liqueurs in your home, unless you want to experiment with the fermentation system, i.e., fermenting larger volumes or higher alcohol levels; know-how is the basis for improvement. When you see fermentation from the yeast's perspective it helps in understanding the science.

Yeast is a living organism that is very similar to the individual cells in our own bodies. It is easy to think of dried yeast as "just another ingredient" like nutrients or sugar but nothing could be further from the truth. Yeast's sole aim in life is to reproduce. It does this by "budding" to produce a daughter cell identical to the parent.

Given a plentiful supply of oxygen, sugar, minerals, enzymes and amino acids, it will reproduce itself every 30 minutes and such a fermentation produces a bucket full of yeast but not much alcohol!

Take away the oxygen and you get much less growth and much more alcohol!!!

As far as the yeast is concerned, sugar (a sugar molecule) is a source of energy that the yeast cell imports (eats). Glucose has 6 carbon atoms joined together by chemical bonds. It breaks these bonds one by one, each time liberating energy, which is then used for growth. Without oxygen, it can only break one bond and so liberates only a little energy (also little growth). What's left is thrown out of the cell as a waste product: ethanol. So, if you want to make alcohol, keep the oxygen out!

To grow, yeast also needs amino acids, enzymes and minerals as well as the energy it extracts from sugar. These are needed to build new proteins (by creating bonds between amino acids) and carry out the many enzymatic reactions within the cell. Turbo Yeast contains all of these essential growth ingredients that collectively we call "yeast nutrients". If you have ever tried to ferment pure sugar with just yeast, you will know that you get very little alcohol, this is because yeast needs these other nutrients as well as sugar.


So yeast is a living organism that uses sugar to make energy for growth. If there is no oxygen around yeast cannot extract all the energy from sugar and throws out ethanol as a waste product.

As well as producing ethanol as a waste product, yeast produces another 1,300 other compounds, which we can call "congeners". These congeners fall into several chemical categories:

* Higher alcohol’s (also called Fusel alcohols)
* Esters
* Carbonyl compounds
* Organic acids
* Sulphur compounds

All fermented alcoholic drinks contain these congeners, whether made in the home or made commercially. Indeed, it is basically the amounts and types of these congeners that make, for example, dark rum taste and smell like dark rum or that makes whisky taste and smell like whisky.

It is important to make clean, pure ethanol in the home with a minimum of congeners. Activated carbon is used after distillation to remove these congeners. But, even the best activated carbons will not remove a large amount of congeners, so it is important to avoid producing them in the first place.

The choices of yeast strain and nutrients have the greatest influence on keeping congener production to a minimum.

The temperature during fermentation will influence congener production. Excessive temperatures will cause more congeners to be produced.

Pure sterile cultured special yeast strain.

The strains of yeast used in Prestige Turbo Yeasts are cultured especially for distillation applications – and is not a wine, brewer’s or baker’s yeast. It is grown under sterile conditions to ensure the absence of bacteria, which could otherwise influence the quality of alcohol produced and the percentage yield from sugar. Pure, bacteria free yeast also reduces congener production.

The fermented wash from both both Artisan and Alcotec Turbo’s is as pure as it can be and is used as a base for an alcoholic drink of strengths of 14% and 20% alcohol respectively. Many other yeasts are a by-product from molasses fermentation, and are therefore not bacteria free.

Osmotolerant yeast strains (high sugar tolerance)

Many other yeasts will not tolerate all the sugar at the start of fermentation; they need to be “sugar fed”. Our turbo yeasts will tolerate start-sugar concentrations (Specific gravity) of 1.160 for 18% and 1.150 for 14% varieties.

Fermentation Temperature

There are three important temperatures involved in fermentation; 1: The air temperature (ambient temperature) 2: The liquid temperature (process temperature) 3: The paralyzing temperature

Because yeast generates heat during fermentation, the liquid temperature will be higher than the air temperature. The difference between the two will increase as the volume you are fermenting increases. Yeast will die at 40° C. Yeast becomes intolerant of alcohol at as the temperature increases. At 14% alcohol (which is what you get using 6 kg sugar in a 25 litre volume), the yeast will become paralyzed if the temperature reaches 33°C and at 20% alcohol, at 24°C.

Providing you keep the liquid temperature below 30°C all the way through fermentation (24°C for very high alcohol), you will not paralyze the yeast. This is easy with volumes up to 25 litres because the difference between air and liquid temperatures is usually only a few degrees.

It is not so easy to keep the liquid temperature below 30°C when fermenting larger volumes. You either need to keep the heat generation down or cool the liquid by, say, introducing frozen 5 litre water containers after about 12 hours into the fermentation.

Lowering the fermenting liquid temperature also lowers the production of congeners. There is a practical limit for lowering the fermentation temperature. In practice the amount of congeners produced at a very cool temperature like 15°C is not much less than at 25°C.

Temperature has a huge impact on fermentation time. At 25°C, fermentation of 6 kg sugar per 25 litres will take 3 days but at 15°C it will take nearly 2 weeks! To keep down production of congeners a process temperature of 25°C is recommended.

Different ways to lower the liquid temperature.

In climates where the air temperature is 30°C and above, it is best not to use the 18% Turbo Yeasts, but only the 14% Turbo Yeasts; the same for fermenting more then 25 litres of 18% - 20% mash, otherwise the fermentation has to be cooled down by introducing containers of ice or by using a jacketed tank or cooling tubes in the mash. This is complicated, but works well.

Another way to reduce the heat from fermentation is to slow down the fermentation. One way to do this is to add 1/3 of the sugar at the start of fermentation and the next 2/3 after 5-7 days. To use half dosage of the Turbo Yeast (but never less) is another way (Pot Distillers Yeast is the best one for this purpose). The fermentation time will double or triple and it will not always work. The temperature has to be carefully controlled.