Turbo yeast, home alcohol distilling, industrial fermentations

Turbo yeast - what exactly is it really? It is a mix of a very alcohol tolerant yeast strain and an optimised nutrient, especially designed for high alcohol yield and low production of off-flavours and fusels. For home use, it comes in a small pack for 25 litres. For industrial use, it's sold in bulk for large scale alcohol fermentations.

turbo yeast alcohol
   

History

The concept of turbo yeast was founded in the early 1990's. Before then, there were super yeast which would today be called simply yeast and nutrient, these were very far from the turbo yeasts as we know them today.

The first real turbo yeast was likely the Swedish Turbo3 (still in production) followed shortly thereafter by Alcotec (the version we now call Alcotec 6).

The leading brand is Alcotec, now present in most markets around the world and also the brand with the largest range currently available. The Alcotec brand is manufactured by Hambleton Bard ltd.

Home distilling

Virtually all home fermented pure alcohol wash today is produced using a turbo yeast. The days when we used bakers yeast are long gone as the yield has moved more than 50% up with turbo yeast and fermentation times now range from 24-72 hours typically (5-6 days for high alcohol fermentations to 20% abv) from 2 weeks slow and sluggish fermentation reaching topmost 10% alcohol of low quality. The high alcohol fermentations are not possible at all with bakers yeast, or even with good quality wine yeast.

Industrial fermentations

The industry, especially larger scale breweries with tanks around 50,000 - 100,000 litres have always understood how to use yeast AND nutrition to reach decent levels. However, comparing any old style yeast/nutrition fermentation to a turbo yeast one, the difference is huge. With proper temperature control which is always in place anyway for large tanks, something like Alcotec 48 will produce 18% reliably in 5 days. That is at least 50% more than before and considerably faster. It is possible to tweak the Alcotec 48 large fermentations up to 20% and even a little above, but it takes careful considerations which are unique for each brewery.