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Basic Sugar Wash Recipe

Start your journey into the world of distilled spirits with this beginner friendly wash perfect for liqueurs or high proof spirits.

| May 2019


Yes, I know that all fermentations use sugar. After all, that is what fermentation is. When I say “sugar fermentation,” I am actually referring to the simplest of all washes, which is usually referred to as a sugar wash. As its name implies, the sugar wash is simply a combination of sugar and water. Because a simple sugar wash provides no nutrition for the yeast, you must either add a complete nutrient complex or use turbo yeast. I highly suggest a simple sugar wash as your first strides into fermentation, due to its ease and relatively low risk of mistakes. Because distillation is a two-step process—fermentation followed by distillation—this can help troubleshoot the process if your final product is not what you expected on your inaugural run.


  • 14 pounds granulated white sugar
  • 6 gallons of fresh, filtered, and dechlorinated water
  • 1 package of turbo yeast, sufficient for 6.6 US gallons (25L)
  • Clearing agent


  • 8-gallon or larger primary fermenter with tight-fitting lid
  • Airlock
  • Long-handled plastic spoon
  • Thermometer
  • Hydrometer
  • Test cylinder (optional)


1.) Clean and sanitize all the equipment using equipment cleaner according to package directions.

2.) Bring two gallons of water to a boil and add to fermenter. Dissolve sugar, adding more hot water if required. Top up fermenter with a combination of ice, cold water, or warm water to obtain a total volume of 6.6 US gallons (25L) at a starting temperature of 100° F (38° C) or other temperature as noted on turbo yeast package.

3.) Float your hydrometer in the wash, or add sample to test cylinder (the advantage to moving a sample to the test cylinder is that you are able to wait until the temperature is nearer the calibrated temperature of the hydrometer before taking your reading. Record temperature and hydrometer reading.

4.) Add turbo yeast and stir vigorously until all nutrients are dissolved and no clumps of yeast remain. Place lid on fermenter, fill airlock halfway with water, and place into lid.



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