Techniques for employing either the Cone Protocol or turbo yeast

The turbo yeast packets are generally sized for a fermentation volume of 25 liters (6.6 US gallons), too large to fit in a standard carboy. The Cone methods may be employed on any volume from one gallon to 10,000 gallons or more, provided the equipment is capable of handling the tasks of oxygen, pH and temperature management.

For the home producer, 25 - 50 liters (6 - 13 US gallons) is a very reasonable volume to work with.

The easiest technique is to utilize one of the large plastic fermenters normally used for primary fermentation of wine (a plastic trash can with a lid). As noted earlier, the biggest single drawback to these fermenters is that if they become scratched (from over-vigorous agitation or stirring, for example), they can become very difficult or impossible to sanitize adequately. Fortunately, they are cheap.

A simple way to manage the temperature of a fermentation in one of these containers is to place the fermenter in a laundry tub connected to hot and cold water and a drain. Add the sugar to the fermenter, dissolve it in a small amount of hot water, and bring it to the desired volume and temperature with cool water. Then fill the tub around the fermenter with water at the desired temperature. The extra thermal mass of the water around the fermenter will greatly slow down any temperature swings or spikes created by active fermentation. A liquid crystal thermometer placed on the fermenter (above the level of the water around the fermenter, but below the level of the fluid inside the fermenter) will allow you to monitor the temperature. If it starts to climb, drain out some of the water in the tub and replace it with cold water. One or two adjustments should be all that is required during a fermentation.

Another method of controlling temperature is to freeze water inside of sanitized plastic bottles or jugs, and then place one or more of these jugs directly in the fermenting wash. Experience will teach what size of bottle works best and how many it takes to drop the temperature a specific amount. You could also construct a cooling coil out of copper or stainless steel tubing and run cold water through it. Copper will be etched by the acidity of the fermenting fluid, so a copper coil should NOT be left in the fermenter for a long time. Just put it in when the temperature needs to be reduced, and remove it and rinse thoroughly as soon as the temperature is reduced to the desired level.

Copper Coil For Distillation
Fig. 1-4

For more active control, a system with aeration, circulation and temperature control can be devised. One old idea in this direction is to use a laundry tub as a fermenter, and place an aquarium pump and heater in it. This idea will work, but a plastic laundry tub has all the same problems of sanitation as the trash can, and costs considerably more to replace.

Home Distillation
Fig. 1-5

We suggest that if you want to experiment with active systems and controls, you purchase a 75-110 liter (20-30 US gallon) aquarium starter kit. These can be obtained inexpensively at almost any tropical fish or pet store. A starter kit usually comes with the aquarium, a circulating pump, an air pump, a heater, a thermometer, and a sliding or folding glass lid for the aquarium. The only thing you will have to add is some means of temperature reduction - such as frozen plastic bottles or a cooling coil.

You can buy everything you need in one place at a low price. Glass is easy to clean, and it's easy to watch the process through the sides of the aquarium. For example, you can see if yeast is settling, which might indicate that you should change the circulation pattern to avoid dead spots, or stir the tank a bit. After the fermentation is complete, switch off the pump and heater, wait for the yeast to settle out, and siphon the fermented fluid away from the settled yeast.

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