Adventures with turbo

Sugar wash info and questions

Adventures with turbo

Postby ultrasuede » Thu Dec 19, 2019 8:24 am

So how bad is turbo? I'm going to find out. The interwebs is packed full of people replying to first time stillers who are after advice on their first distillation, and they are replied to by tens of people advising them to drop the turbo and go with one of the cleaner, cheaper methods like TPW or TFFV and the like.

Well getting close to Christmas, I put down 100lt of TPW hoping to get her stilled before the big day. Unfortunately, I got over confident and eye balled everything including the water volume and the hydrochloric acid. Turns out, I under watered and after 5 days, I tasted and she was still a bit sweet. I blew the dust of the refractometer and gave it a test. 11 brix. Whoops! I did the same with the PH meter. 3.0 double whoops! So after adding more water and raising the PH to 4, she is still bubbling away, but won't be ready until Christmas eve (if i'm lucky).

What do I do? I can't bring myself to buy vodka, and I'm not dealing with my family sober.

Enter the turbo. The alcotec 24 hour to be specific. How bad can it be?? I mean, if I strip then run it through my big dirty 1.5 metre boka that could strip the tar off a hooker’s teeth, would it be drinkable?
I mean it’s just ethanol produced quickly, and it doesn’t contain fertilizer anymore from what I’ve read. Even Odin rates the 48 hour turbo and he hasn’t steered me astray in the 10 years I’ve been reading his posts.

SO onto the experiment. Last night I mixed 12kg of sugar with enough water to hit the 50lt mark and threw in 2 packs of Alcotec 24 hour turbskies. (22 Brix)
Mother of F***K did it take off. Like I could feel a stream of C02 shooting out the airlock hole.
12 hours later, she’s fizzing away like nothing I’ve ever seen before. 12 brix. Wow.

This afternoon after work I plan of dropping some gelatine in there to settle all the crap if it’s done fermenting and run it tomorrow.
I’ll keep you all updated.
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Re: Adventures with turbo

Postby ed9362 » Thu Dec 19, 2019 10:16 am

are you putting hydrochloric acid in your washes?
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Re: Adventures with turbo

Postby The Stig » Thu Dec 19, 2019 10:31 am

Hi ultra.
All the turbos contain fertilizers, it was Uria that has been removed and outlawed
Oh and I hope you mean something other than hydrochloric acid :scared-eek:
Last edited by The Stig on Thu Dec 19, 2019 10:34 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Adventures with turbo

Postby Sam. » Thu Dec 19, 2019 11:12 am

Unless the acid is food grade I would not be using it.

Also I would have used a bit less sugar to not stress the yeast out, as this is where a lot of the off flavours will come from.

Double distilled, cut hard and carbon filtered you will get a half decent product.

But for the cost of that crap and the extra effort it's not really worth it, that's why the vast majority use the tried and proven recipes here :handgestures-thumbupleft:
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Re: Adventures with turbo

Postby ultrasuede » Thu Dec 19, 2019 11:23 am

The Stig wrote:Hi ultra.
All the turbos contain fertilizers, it was Uria that has been removed and outlawed
Oh and I hope you mean something other than hydrochloric acid :scared-eek:


Thanks Stig, I do remember reading that somewhere.

I use lab grade hydrochloric acid (muriatic acid) as well as lab grade sodium hydroxide (Lye, caustic soda) to do my PH adjustments. Such chemicals are completely safe for human consumption if handled correctly. Just do your research and show the chemicals some respect and you will be fine.
I also use the sodium hydroxide to make pretzels.

Happy to not mention the use of these chemicals on here for the mods sake if you think it might danger un-informed people into burning themselves.
Last edited by ultrasuede on Thu Dec 19, 2019 11:30 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Adventures with turbo

Postby ultrasuede » Thu Dec 19, 2019 11:28 am

Sam. wrote:Unless the acid is food grade I would not be using it.

Also I would have used a bit less sugar to not stress the yeast out, as this is where a lot of the off flavours will come from.

Double distilled, cut hard and carbon filtered you will get a half decent product.

But for the cost of that crap and the extra effort it's not really worth it, that's why the vast majority use the tried and proven recipes here :handgestures-thumbupleft:


I was thinking about doing that (less sugar) but I thought for experiment purposes, I would follow the packet directions this time.
And don't you worry, I'll never stop making TPW and kale wash for my gin, this is just a one off emergency and to satisfy my curiosity.
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Re: Adventures with turbo

Postby Nathan02 » Thu Dec 19, 2019 11:57 am

Hey mate make a kale wash with the alcotec vodka star. It actually ferments out really clean!
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Re: Adventures with turbo

Postby Sam. » Thu Dec 19, 2019 11:57 am

ultrasuede wrote:Happy to not mention the use of these chemicals on here for the mods sake if you think it might danger un-informed people into burning themselves.


This would probably be best mate, for hobby purposes citric acid and various carbonates are all that should be required :handgestures-thumbupleft:
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Re: Adventures with turbo

Postby Sam. » Thu Dec 19, 2019 11:58 am

ultrasuede wrote:I was thinking about doing that (less sugar) but I thought for experiment purposes, I would follow the packet directions this time.
And don't you worry, I'll never stop making TPW and kale wash for my gin, this is just a one off emergency and to satisfy my curiosity.


Will be interesting to hear the results, would also be great if you could do a side by side tasting with one of the other washes for true comparison :handgestures-thumbupleft:
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Re: Adventures with turbo

Postby ultrasuede » Thu Dec 19, 2019 12:00 pm

Nathan02 wrote:Hey mate make a kale wash with the alcotec vodka star. It actually ferments out really clean!


Thanks mate, how long did it take to finish fermenting?
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Re: Adventures with turbo

Postby ultrasuede » Thu Dec 19, 2019 12:08 pm

Sam. wrote:This would probably be best mate, for hobby purposes citric acid and various carbonates are all that should be required :handgestures-thumbupleft:


No problem.

I'm pretty keen to see if it's a viable way to get decent neutral. I don't see a point in using the 48 or regular turbo yeast, as you can just as easily do a TPW or TFFV for cheaper, but I'm happy to spend a bit extra if I get a decent product in 24 hours.
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Re: Adventures with turbo

Postby db1979 » Thu Dec 19, 2019 3:32 pm

Citric acid is a weak acid, which means it'll get to a certain pH and won't get any lower even with more addition of acid. Hydrochloric acid is a strong acid and will take your pH down to 1 or even lower if you use wayyyyy too much. Stick with citric acid.
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Re: Adventures with turbo

Postby ultrasuede » Fri Dec 20, 2019 12:18 am

Well, 24 hours later and she's still bubbling away like crazy which is a bit disappointing as it should be done by now. Brix is down to 8 from 22 which is pretty incredible for 24 hours. It smells like a wine wash with a strong vitamin b tablet dropped in.
I'll skip the gelatin and run it tomorrow regardless of if it's done or not, considering its already at around 11 - 12% alcohol already.
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Re: Adventures with turbo

Postby ultrasuede » Fri Dec 20, 2019 2:50 pm

Alright, we have a result.
Due to some family stuff coming up, I've had to expedite process.
She was still bubbling away this morning and read 6.5 Brix. But I have not time to wait for it to completely finish, so in the still she goes.

Now here's where my time limitations come in. The plan was to strip then run low and slow to get my final product.not anymore. It's a single run, straight through the reflux. I have a 2 cup Boka still with a 2" pipe with a 1.5 metre packing section (half ss scrubbers, half copper scrubbers)
I ran it ultra slow. It took 8 hours to finish with an hour at the start to stabilise. I threw out about 800ml of heads and foreshots, then collected the rest.
Ended up with 3.5 litres of 91% goodness. Not bad considering the wash was about 13% according to my calculations.
There is a bit of flavour there. She's definitely not as neutral as a tpw or tffv, that's for sure, but was also expected. Reminds me of when I started out and ran my tpw twice through a pot still.
I've diluted half of it down to 40% and I'm actually very surprised, not bad. Fairly smooth and I'm sure it will smooth out once it's had some time to air out.
I'm going to filter it through some carbon to clean it up a bit, then throw it on some wood to mask any remaining off flavours.
This has been a fun experiment. Within 3 days I have a acceptable neutral.
If you are strapped for time and don't mind compromising on a bit of value and quality, this 24 hour turbo is a viable alternative and it may just get you out of a pinch.
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Re: Adventures with turbo

Postby ultrasuede » Sat Dec 21, 2019 12:27 am

What a day. After 8 hours of distilling and 4 hours of driving, I had a chance to sample the product. After a couple of passes through 500g of carbon, she cleaned up real nice. Not something I have to do with tpw or the like, but well worth the extra effort for something drinkable, considering the circumstances. Great as a mixer, probably not so great straight up (although, I'd rather this than European vodka on the rocks)

Just a disclaimer to the t500 users out there. You will not get anything close to my product using that still. Hit up the boys at 5star if you want something comparable, or read the forum to build your own.
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