Yeast in Moonshine: a Complete Guide for Moonshiners

Yeast in Moonshine: a Complete Guide for Moonshiners

When it comes to moonshine ingredients, yeast is one of the most important. However, those new to shining face a lot of confusion of what type to use and even what amount. Check out our complete guide on everything related to using yeast in moonshine. 


What is a Mash?




A mash is a mixture of ingredients, usually corn, rye, barley, or wheat, water, and yeast that is used in the distillation process to produce whiskey.


The importance of the mash lies in its role as the starting point for fermentation, where the sugars in the grains are converted into alcohol.


This fermented liquid, known as the "wash," is then distilled to create whiskey. The ingredients and ratios used in the mash recipe greatly affect the flavor and final product of the whiskey.

For example, using a higher percentage of corn in the mash will result in a sweeter, smoother whiskey, while a higher percentage of rye or barley will yield a spicier, more robust flavor.

Key components and ratios needed in preparing the mash for fermentation include the type and percentage of grains used, the ratio of grains to water, and the addition of yeast for fermentation.

For example, a typical bourbon mash recipe may include around 70% corn, 15% rye, 15% malted barley, and water, with yeast added to initiate fermentation.

These crucial elements of the mash recipe ultimately determine the flavor profile and quality of the final whiskey product.


Why is Yeast Important in Moonshine? 




Yeast is arguably the most important ingredient in your mash. While it only amounts to a tablespoon or two, it does all of the heavy lifting during the fermentation process. 

Many people who are new to the craft of moonshine have a lot of questions around yeast. After all, many of the recipes available online gloss around the subject-yet it is of the utmost importance. 


One of the reasons that most recipes do not specify the amount of yeast to use is that it will often vary depending on the type used. Of course to someone new to moonshining who is trying to gather their ingredients for their first mash this can be very frustrating. 


Knowing how much yeast to buy is only half the battle. There is also the very important question of what type of yeast to buy. Of course, this can come down to personal preference.

There are many different types of yeast available that will work-even the bread yeast you probably have in your cupboard! 

Before We Get Started Let's Check if We Have Everything You Need

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Types of Yeast to Use in Moonshine



Beer/Champagne Yeast: This type of yeast is usually packaged so that one packet is used for 5 gallons of mash. Unless otherwise written on the directions, use one package for 5 gallons of mash. 



Distillers Yeast: If you are using distillers yeast it is important to first refer to the directions on the package. If there are no directions available, use 1 tablespoon per 5 gallons of mash. 

Of course, we suggest using out Best Yeast for Moonshine. This yeast has been professionally developed to get the most out of your mash every time. Our yeast includes complete nutrition and amyloglucosidase, to help with the starch conversion. 

Discover a faster fermentation process and superior taste with our advanced yeast! You'll enjoy complete dextrin conversion, maximum yield, and 6.6-gallon fermentation with just one package. Unleash the full flavor potential of your homebrews - try it today!


Bread Yeast: Bread yeast is readily available, inexpensive and works well. Bread yeast can be purchased in individual packets or in bulk. You can use one tablespoon of yeast per 5 gallons of mash or follow the directions below to make a yeast starter. 



Turbo Yeast: Experience professional-grade distilling results with Turbo Distilling Yeast! Turbo yeast is a favorite among moonshiners who want to give their shine a kick start. Turbo yeast cuts down on fermentation time while still delivering a high quality fermentation. 

At How to Moonshine, we love our Turbo Yeast for great tasting shine in a hurry.  This advanced turbo yeast allows you to craft high-quality alcohol with up to 18% ABV in just 48 hours, creating up to 25 liters of clean, low-congener wash.

Achieve a delicious and efficient result every time with its unique formulation. Unleash the craft distiller in you today!


What is Turbo Yeast?



Turbo yeast is a specialized strain of yeast that is designed to produce higher alcohol content and ferment more quickly than traditional yeast.
This high-performance yeast is ideal for producing homemade spirits, such as vodka, rum, and whiskey, as well as for making high-strength wines and beers.
Turbo yeast contains a mix of yeast, yeast nutrients, and other essential ingredients that maximize alcohol production and ensure a clean, smooth fermentation process.
With its powerful alcohol tolerance and ability to convert sugar into alcohol at a faster rate, turbo yeast has become a popular choice for home distillers and brewers looking to create potent, high-quality beverages.


Why Use Turbo Yeast for a Five Gallon Mash?



Turbo yeast is a popular choice for fermenting a five gallon mash due to its numerous benefits and advantages.


One of the key benefits of using turbo yeast is its ability to ferment to a high alcohol percentage in a short amount of time.


This makes it ideal for those looking to produce a potent and high-proof batch of alcohol.

Additionally, turbo yeast has a high temperature tolerance, allowing it to continue fermenting even in warm or fluctuating temperatures.


This makes it a reliable option for home brewers who may not have precise temperature control during the fermentation process.


Moreover, turbo yeast undergoes a pure fermentation process, resulting in a clean and consistent end product.

When measuring and mixing turbo yeast with other types of yeast for a five gallon mash, it is important to carefully follow the recommended dosage and instructions provided by the manufacturer to achieve optimal results.

By using turbo yeast in a five gallon mash, brewers can enjoy the advantages of high alcohol percentage, temperature tolerance, and a pure fermentation process, resulting in a successful and efficient fermentation process.

Types of Turbo Yeast




When it comes to brewing alcohol, turbo yeast is a popular choice for many home brewers and distillers.


This powerful yeast strain is known for its ability to ferment quickly and efficiently, producing high levels of alcohol in a short amount of time.


There are several types of turbo yeast available on the market, each with its own unique characteristics and intended uses. 


Dry vs Wet Yeast



Dry yeast is granular and has a longer shelf life, while wet yeast is a creamy, liquid form of yeast that must be refrigerated and has a shorter shelf life.


Advantages of dry yeast include its longer shelf life and ease of use, while advantages of wet yeast include its ability to potentially impart more complex flavors to the final product.

Disadvantages of dry yeast may include a slower rise and less complexity in flavor, while disadvantages of wet yeast may include its shorter shelf life and the need for refrigeration. The type of yeast used, as well as its quality and quantity, can significantly impact the final product in terms of both texture and flavor.



Calculating How Much Turbo Yeast to Use




When making homemade alcohol or spirits, using turbo yeast can help accelerate the fermentation process and produce higher alcohol content. However, it's important to use the right amount of turbo yeast to ensure the best results.

Here's how to calculate the right amount of turbo yeast to use for your home brewing needs.

Estimating the Number of Packets or Grams Needed Per Gallon of Mash


There are several types of yeast commonly used for fermenting moonshine, including baker's yeast, distiller's yeast, and turbo yeast.

Bakers's yeast is generally used at a rate of 1-2 teaspoons per gallon of mash, while distiller's yeast is typically used at a rate of 1-2 tablespoons per gallon.

Turbo yeast, on the other hand, is used at a rate of 1 packet (approximately 14 grams) per 5 gallons of mash.

To mix turbo yeast with other types of yeast for optimal fermentation, it is recommended to follow the specific instructions provided by the manufacturers of each type of yeast.


In general, turbo yeast is a specialized high-temperature tolerant yeast that can be mixed with other slower-fermenting yeasts to speed up the fermentation process.


When mixing turbo yeast with other types of yeast, it is important to carefully measure and mix the appropriate amounts of each type of yeast to achieve the desired fermentation results.

Overall, the recommended amounts of yeast per gallon of mash vary depending on the type of yeast being used, and mixing turbo yeast with other types of yeast can help optimize the fermentation process for making moonshine.

Factors that Affect the Amount of Yeast Required




The type of yeast used can significantly affect the amount required for moonshine production.

Different strains of yeast have varying fermentation capabilities, resulting in different optimal pitching rates.


For example, a more potent strain may require less yeast compared to a less effective strain due to its higher fermentation rate.


Mash size is another crucial factor influencing the amount of yeast needed. Larger mash sizes will require more yeast to effectively ferment all the available sugars.


For instance, a 100-gallon mash would require more yeast than a 50-gallon mash to achieve the same fermentation rate.


Fermentation time also plays a role in determining the amount of yeast required. Longer fermentation periods may require higher yeast concentrations to maintain an active fermentation process. Conversely, shorter fermentation times may necessitate a lower yeast dosage.

Other influencing factors include the initial sugar content of the mash and the presence of any inhibitors.

And for these factors, a higher initial sugar content would require more yeast, while the presence of inhibitors may require a higher pitching rate to overcome their effects.

Understanding these influencing factors is crucial in determining the appropriate amount of yeast needed for moonshine production.


How to Make a Yeast Starter



Making a yeast starter is a great idea. It is one small extra step that can make a big difference to your end results.


By making a yeast starter you are adding healthy yeast cells to your mash. It is a great way to ensure an accelerated fermentation and to ward off the growth of wild bacteria which can alter the final taste of your moonshine. 


If you have ever baked a loaf of bread you will have an advantage for this step since you have already made a yeast starter. The process is pretty much identical for making a yeast starter for your mash. In fact, you can even use bread yeast!