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Spirit Making FAQs

Home brewing is a great hobby which always rewards your hard work. Below we have detailed some of the common spirit making FAQs. Whether you are new to spirit making or an old hand, these spirit FAQs are are useful reference.

The airlock hasn’t bubbled, is the yeast working?

Just because the airlock is not bubbling doesn’t mean that your wash isn’t fermenting. In most cases, the CO2 (which is a by-product of fermentation and what causes the airlock to bubble) is escaping through a gap around the seal of the fermenter lid. You can try and rectify this by loosening the fermenter lid, quickly repositioning the lid and screwing it back on. There is no need to excessively tighten the lid.

What is a wash?

A wash is the name given to the water, sugar/dextrose and yeast mix that you ferment.

Do I really need to use a hydrometer?

A hydrometer is a useful tool confirm your wash has finished fermenting. The hydrometer helps you to determine there is no unfermented sugars left in your wash. The consequence of leaving unfermented sugar in your wash is a lower yield. A hydrometer read of 990 confirms the wash has finished fermenting.

What temperature should I ferment my wash?

The brewing temperature is determined by the yeast you use. Typically, most spirit yeasts will have an ideal temperature range between 20-30˚C. Each yeast will have it’s ideal temperature range detailed on the packaging.

How long will it take to ferment my wash?

A spirit wash usually takes around 7 days to ferment. However, fermenting time is dependent on the yeast, how much sugar/dextrose was used and the temperature it was fermented at. As a general rule, allow 7 days for fermentation and use your hydrometer to confirm fermentation is complete.

I’ve used my hydrometer, my wash hasn’t fermented after a week. What do I do?

This may occur if you have used yeast that is out of date or the temperature you have fermented at is too high or low. Firstly, out of date yeast can be rectified. Simply add an additional pack of yeast and let your wash ferment. Secondly, if the brewing temperature has been too high, you may still be able to pitch another yeast and ferment it within range. Lastly, if your temperature is too cold then you can restart fermentation by warming your brew. Use a heat mat, heat belt, or simply a blanket.

My wash is cloudy, is it okay to still?

Using a clearing agent such at Still Spirits Turbo Clear causes flocculation and settling of yeast and other compounds in your wash. Alternatively, letting your wash sit for a couple of weeks will also help the wash settle.

How much foreshots do I take?

The first 100-150mL produced from a 25 litre wash is predominately methanol and needs to be disposed of. Therefore, once removed the remainder of spirit produced is safe once watered down and filtered.

My spirit has a home brew smell and taste.

Filtering is the best way to improve the smell and taste of your spirits. Are you are not happy with the finished product from your pressed carbon filter? Look at upgrading to Still Spirit’s Filter Pro. The Filter Pro is a gravity-fed, carbon filter that will filter 8 litres of spirit at a time.

We hope that our beer brewing FAQ’s helps you on your brewing journey. Have a question we have missed? Let us know, we are always happy to help! Still Spirits also has a great list of spirit making FAQs.

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