Troubleshooting Guide

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Note: Some of the causes and remedies here are for other type stills
Fermentation Problems
&
Distilling Problems


Contents

My wash has failed to start fermenting.

Problem:
Cause
Remedy

Remove the lid of the fermenter and check to see if there are any bubbles rising through the liquid or any froth on the surface or around the sides. If there is sign then seal the fermenter.

Cause
  • Too Cold.
Remedy

Fermentation should start as low as 15o C-59oF. If wash is below this add heat using a heater pad or belt from a specialist brewing store.

Cause
  • Too Hot.
Remedy

If you added the yeast to the wash when it was too hot you may kill the yeast. In this situation you should not add more Turbo as this will result in too much nutrient. Obtain an EC1118 wine yeast from a specialist store and add this to the wash when the temperature is 20o C-68oF.

Cause
  • Preservatives in wash inhibit yeast growth.
Remedy

Dump the wash and start over with different ingredients.

Wash started to ferment but stopped

Problem:

My wash started to ferment but stopped and my hydrometer reading is not down to 990 SG.

Cause
  • The temperature rose too high in the first 24 hours of fermentation.(The yeast activity can raise the wash temp by as much as 8o C-46.4oF in the first 24 hours of fermentation.) It is important to start the wash at around 20o C-68oF and not use any heat in the first 24 hours. If the wash overheats during this period the yeast may not have the energy to finish fermenting.
Remedy

First stir the [[wash[[ vigorously to stir the yeast back into circulation. If the SG has not lowered within 24 hours then obtain an EC1118 wine yeast from a specialist store. As there is alcohol present you should first start the yeast working in 200 mls 6-3/4 ounces of water. Once the yeast has dissolved, add a teaspoon of dextrose. When this is fermenting, add 200 mls 6-3/4 ounces of wash. When this is fermenting add half of this to the stuck wash and top back up with wash. Continue this until the wash starts fermenting.

Cause
  • The wash has cooled down below 15o C 59oF.
Remedy

Warm the wash up and stir vigorously to get the yeast back into circulation. Once the wash is warm fermentation should continue normally.

Cause
  • I have tried to get the wash going again but nothing seems to start it
Remedy

Distill it anyway. You will not get as much alcohol as you would from a normally fermented wash. Watch the temperature on the condenser and stop when you have reached the appropriate max. temp. for your model.

Did not get as much alcohol as the instructions said

Distilling Problems;
Problem:

I did not get as much alcohol as the instructions said I would.

Cause
  • Incorrect quantity of sugar used.
Remedy

Check that you have used the right quantity and type of sugar. Standard Turbo and Temperature Tolerant Turbo.

  1. 6 kgs Still Spirits Turbo Sugar or;
  2. 6 kgs of White Sugar or;
  3. 7 kgs of Dextrose
Cause
  • Steam leak from the still.
Remedy

Fix leak.

Cause
  • Wash has not fermented out.
Remedy

See Fermentation section.

Alcohol is not as strong as the instructions said

Problem:

My alcohol is not as strong as the instructions said it would be.

Cause
  • Check in above section.
Remedy

Make sure you do not exceed the maximum temperature allowed at the top of the condenser. If the alcohol is not in the wash then you can’t distill it.

Distillate is blue

Problem:

My distillate is blue.

Cause
  • Ensure you have used Still Spirits Turbo products.
Remedy

Some brands of Turbo produce a blue spirit due to an imbalance of nutrients.

Cause
  • Use only one Turbo sachet per 25 litre wash.
Remedy

If the fermentation stick do not add another Turbo sachet as this will result in an imbalance of nutrients.

Distillate is cloudy

Problem:

My distillate is cloudy when it comes out of the still.

Cause
  • The wash has frothed and come out the condenser.
Remedy

Use Turbo Clear prior to distilling and/or Distilling conditioner.

Distillate was clear but became cloudy

Problem:

My distillate is clear when it comes out of the still and has been filtered but it goes cloudy after a few days.

Cause
  • Mineral Salts have been washed out of the carbon and have reformed in the distillate. These are harmless but unsightly. This problem can also appear as coloured sediment when flavour has been added as the salts pick up the colouring from the flavouring. This problem is also more common with Turbo Extra as distillate from this wash is more prone to flushing out the mineral salts.
Remedy

1.Thoroughly wash the carbon in the Z Filter prior to use

2.Ensure that the temperature is kept as close as possible to 20 degrees C during fermentation of wash'.

3.Filter spirit containing sediment with a wine filter or coffee filter paper'.

4.Leave until sediment has all dropped out (cold temperatures will accelerate process) and decant off sediment.

Cause
  • Fermentation temperature is too high causing the production of unwanted but harmless proteins
Remedy

See points 2, 3 & 4 above.

Distillate is discoloured or has dark flecks

Problem:

My distillate comes out of the condenser discoloured or has dark flecks in it.

Cause
  • If the condenser is used for the first time then this could be residue from the manufacturing process.
Remedy

Soak with White Vinegar or flat Coca Cola to clean this away then rinse with a weak solution of dishwashing liquid and warm water.

Cause
  • If this has not occurred the first time the condenser has been

used but occurs second and subsequent times, then it can be traced to collecting too much distillate. This will result in the problem showing up next time the condenser is used.

Remedy

Clean as above and only collect the correct amount of distillate. Before distilling ensure that the SG is down to 990 otherwise make sure that you do not distill above the temperature limits of your condenser.

Condenser overheats despite large water flow

Problem:

The condenser seems to overheat even though I am running far more water through it than is recommended.

Cause
  • The condenser may not be plumbed correctly.
Remedy

Fill the condenser with water then pull the hoses off the base of the main condenser. One of these will be the inlet for the water and the other will be the hose that transfers the water into the reflux condenser. The water should flow out of the condenser through the pipe that the inlet water pipe is connected to. If it flows out of the other one then the hoses have been fitted the wrong way around.

Cause
  • The internal overflow outlet is missing or loose.
Remedy

Take the marble out of the Reflux condenser and shake the whole condenser. There should not be any rattling. If there is then the overflow pipe may be loose.

Spirit from my reflux still is not as strong as it should be

Problem:

The spirit from my reflux condenser is not as strong as it should be.

Cause
  • The packing is not in the Reflux Condenser.
Remedy

There should be packing in the Reflux condenser. . The packing ensures that all the alcohol laden steam comes in contact with the inside of the Reflux chamber. It can happen that the packing is too small. If the packing is missing, then the condenser works more like a Pot Still condenser.

No spirit comes out of my condenser

Problem:

No spirit comes out of my condenser.

Cause
  • There is a blockage in the condenser.
Remedy

When the condenser is removed from the still, it should be easy to blow in through the spirit outlet tube. Any resistance here would indicate a blockage that will need to be opened up the best way possible.

Don't know proper water flow for condenser

Problem:

How do I know how much water flow the condenser needs to run correctly.

Cause
  • Water flow is extremely important for the correct operation of the condenser. First the water runs through the main condenser The water warms up in the main condenser as it removes heat from the

condensing spirit.If the flow of water is too high then the con- denser becomes too efficient which reduces the flow of steam into the main condenser.This reduced flow will also result in a higher alcohol content as more of the heavier molecules like water are returned to the Still and what does get past the reflux condenser is the lighter molecules or the alcohol.

Remedy

When a condenser is running properly, the top two bands of the main condenser should be very hot. The bottom band of the spiral should be cool and the one above it should be hot but not be too hot to touch.

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