Turbo yeast products

Several different suppliers provide "Turbo" yeast products (many of which were designed by Dr. Cone), which contain carefully selected strains of yeast combined with nutrient and buffering mixtures designed for fermenting plain sugar. They are claimed to be able to ferment to 12-14 % alcohol in as little as three days, and some of the newest ones claim to be able to ferment to 18-20 % alcohol in as little as a week. Some new "Turbo" products have been designed to ferment at quite high temperatures, which is good news for those living in hot climates!

We have tried a few of them, and the results are quite good, though not quite as fast as claimed. While maintaining temperatures at the low end of the recommended range to minimize congener production, we have achieved 20 % alcohol in 12 days with an "8 kg" "Turbo" and 12 % alcohol in 5 days with a "6 kg" turbo (the "8 kg" and "6 kg" refer to the manufacturer's recommended quantities of sugar to use with each packet of "Turbo" yeast). In both of these cases, another two to three days were required for all the yeast to settle to the bottom of the fermenter.

The advantage of the "Turbo" products is that they require very little supervision while they are working. All the yeast, nutrients and buffering compounds are in a single packet. The one problem is that they can be so effective that the fermenting wash can heat to the point of killing the yeast, especially if an oversized batch is attempted. Techniques for lowering the temperature may have to be employed to ensure success.

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