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January 24, 2014

Bourbon, Whiskey, Vodka and Moonshine - How Much Yeast?

We get a lot of questions about yeast. Everyone seems to want to know how much yeast is needed for making 5 or 10 gallons of mash. For those that have read The Best Yeasts for Distilling, it's obvious we are very fond of bread yeast. We have found over the years that bread yeast can easily produce as much alcohol as other yeasts if used correctly.

The question we hear a lot is "How much yeast do I need for the ____ recipe?" The answer is "It Depends." Every type of yeast is slightly different. In general, yeast can be categorized into three different groups: champagne & beer yeast, distillers yeast, and bread yeast. Use the following guidelines for measuring the quantity of yeast that is added to a mash.

Before we get started, a reminder: Distilling alcohol is illegal without a federal fuel alcohol or distilled spirit plant permit as well as relevant state permits. Our distillation equipment is designed for legal uses only and the information in this article is for educational purposes only. Please read our complete legal summary for more information on the legalities of distillation.

Champagne or Beer Yeast

Whiskey mash with Bread Yeast When using a champagne or beer yeast it will have directions on the packet. Every champagnebeer yeast we have ever used is packaged to ferment 5 gallons of beer. When using champagne/beer yeast use 1 packet for every 5 gallons of mash.

Distillers Yeast

When using distillers yeast follow the directions on the packet.  If there are no directions we suggest 1 tablespoon of yeast per 5 gallons of mash.

Bread Yeast

When using bread yeast we have had great results with Fleischmann's bread yeast over the years. Bread yeast can be bought in packet form or in 1-2 pound bulk packages. It is normally cheaper to buy in bulk but it is more convenient to store the yeast in packets. We prefer packets and can justify the slight cost increase for the convenience/storage factor. Just follow the steps we have outlined below in order have great results using bread yeast.

Clawhammer Supply is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

    Create a simple yeast starter for 5 gallons of mash

    1. Add 1/2 cup of 110 degree water to a sanitized jar.
    2. Add 2 teaspoons of sugar to the water and mix thoroughly.
    3. Add 2 packets of yeast (14 grams or 1 tablespoon if using bulk yeast).
    4. Swirl the glass to mix in the yeast with the sugar water.
    5. Let the glass sit for 20 minutes and it will double in size.
    6. Once the starter has doubled in size add it to the mash and aerate. 


    To learn more about yeast and fermentation check out our article on "Fermentation and Yeast".

    Remember, it is illegal to distill alcohol at home for consumption. Do not do this.



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    • I make about a 3 gallon mash
      I have a packet of 8.6 Oz fermfast turbo yeast
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    • I’m making my 3rd & 4th gallans of Wine right now,& I’ve created my own brand called Strawmagranate. I love it.

      Posted by Tommy Hamilton on March 30, 2021
    • I made a sugar wash bout four gallons put one pack of flesh dry bread yeast in bout 5 or6 pounds sugar and raisins in think that be enough yeast

      Posted by Kevin on January 26, 2021
    • In a small batch of make your own at home how much yeast would I use for 64 fluid ounces of juice for the 48 hour recipie

      Posted by Kasey on December 22, 2020
    • In the recipe above, how much does 2 packs of Fleishman’s cover 5 or 10 gallons??

      Posted by tommychic on September 09, 2020
    • (((Does yeast have anything to do with Fighting liquor vs courtin/lovin liquor?
      What is the difference in the process/recipe?
      How do You insure Your going to make courtin/lovin liquor and not fighting liquor?)))

      Answer—-You must be kidding, Right? —Do Yourself a huge favor and stop at your local store, and buy yourself a bottle of "crown royal apple. This is excellent courtin Liquor, and it contains less that .15 fights to the pint. If your question was serious,,,, please do not attempt to distill anything flammable, ever.

      Posted by on May 04, 2020
    • I would like to make some homemade moonshine in a growler… growler is 64oz, which would be 1/10th the volume as you list your recipe for… could i just do the math and downsize your ingredient amounts to 1/10th or is there a different ratio I should use?

      Posted by Kevin on February 10, 2020
    • Does yeast have anything to do with Fighting liquor vs courtin/lovin liquor?
      What is the difference in the process/recipe?
      How do You insure Your going to make courtin/lovin liquor and not fighting liquor?

      Posted by chris on December 05, 2019
    • They claim they can make hangover free liquor.
      Does yeast have anything to do with creating hangover free liquor?
      How do You get Non hangover liquor?

      Posted by chris on December 05, 2019
    • Im new at this. Got a 25 gallon still.put i 25 gal water, 25 lb sugar,25 lb cracked corn, a forth cup yeast. Took 5 hrs before i got a drip. Temp. 208 to 210 an all i got was 30 ounces of shine. What did i do wrong? Please help

      Posted by Jim on October 09, 2019

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