Properties common to all fermentations

All successful alcohol fermentations share many properties in common, which are discussed here. In the sections on fermentations for specific purposes, we discuss the differences in procedure that produce the special flavors and characteristics of individual beverage types.

No matter what kind of product you are making, some things are always the same, and these are:

• All ethanol fermentations require a source of sugar to ferment, and have limits to how concentrated or weak that sugar can be.

• All ethanol fermentations will do best with rigorous cleanliness and sanitation.

• All ethanol fermentations require oxygen in their early phases, to promote the growth of yeast. (However, air MUST be kept out after the first day or two, or no alcohol will be made!)

• All ethanol fermentations produce heat. This is usually not a problem with a small batch, but temperature management can be a critical issue with larger volumes.

• All ethanol fermentations produce carbon dioxide gas, which is poisonous. Again, with small batches, this is not an issue, but with larger batches ventilation can be necessary. Every kilogram (2.2 pounds) of sugar will produce about 250 liters (8 cubic feet) of carbon dioxide over the span of the fermentation.

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