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Slow Sugar Wash


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After forever, we are finally in production!

I have 2 batches of sugar wash 'shine' (basically Rum) started. One was started on 2/25 and one was started on 3/1. Batch #1 didn't take off correctly from the start. Lesson learned about nutrients and pH... After I amended it, it finally started to pick up a little bit but has been sluggish at best. Batch #2 I doubled in size, and also juiced up with nutrients AND a much better yeast starter. It's 3/7 now and neither one is done with their ferment, they're just over half way. Unfortunately we were really planning to open this weekend but these sluggish washes are taking their sweet old time.

Some specs:

Batch 1 -

200 lbs sugar

100 gallons water

72g of Lavlin EC-1118 to start

250g of DAP added to the wash prior to pitching.

Starting SG = 1.09

The temp has been held steady around 80 degrees. We ended up putting circulating pumps in both batches to help keep them getting oxygen. #1 fizzled so on 2/28 I added 250g Red Star Dady and some calcium carbonate to correct the pH. It picked up from there and has been making ok progress but nothing special.

Batch #2 I refined my recipe a bit

350 lbs sugar

170 gallons water (to make 200 gallon batch)

5 lbs yeast nutrient blend

500 g red star dady started on a DME/nutrient blend.

Starting SG = 1.08

Batch #2 is already down to 1.03, where as batch #1 is at 1.04 as of today. They've dropped about .01 SG each day at a pretty steady rate.


So the question is... is this a normal ferment rate? I feel like it should be going faster . I understand sugar washes can be tricky, but we're not quite ready to go all grain yet with our equipment. Unfortunately, I already broke my pH meter, and the replacement won't be here another day or two so I can't tell if they've crashed or not. THey were both around 4.8 the last time I was able to check. Should I expect them to make it to 1.0 without adding more nutrients? They're both still fizzing away like a lazy river (when the pump isn't on).

I do live in NW PA, so the place is on the cool side, but we've kept heat on the fermenters. They've both been on pump cycles to keep things rolling which definitely seemed to help. I started with the Lavlin because I hoped it would perform better at the lower temps. I switched to the dady because I knew it would be a workhorse once I was in a pinch.

And finally... how big of a no no would it be to just run the damn stuff if it gets down to 1.02 or so for this round.


My brain is fried. Any insights would be welcome. Thanks!



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I do molasses/sugar fermentations using Fermaid yeast supplements, DAP, and a calcium Buffer against pH crashing.  I do a second supplement/DAP/calcium/molasses/sugar/water addition at 1/3 sugar depletion of the original start. My fermentations will finish in 3-4 days at 90f, 4-5 days at 80f.  You really shouldn't need or want to aerate after fermentation begins as oxygen introduced will reduce your yield because the yeast will use that for other efforts than ethanol production. I would be curious as to what the pH is now, and the quality of the supplements as a sugar wash is nutrient poor.

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