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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. If you have read The Best Yeasts for Distilling you know that 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 you add to your mash.

Champagne or Beer Yeast

Whiskey mash with Bread Yeast If you are 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. If you are using champagne/beer yeast use 1 packet for every 5 gallons of mash.

Distillers Yeast

If you are 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

If you are using bread yeast we have had great results with Fleischmann's bread yeast over the years. You can buy bread yeast 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 increasefor the convenience/storage factor. If you follow the steps we have outlined below you will have great results using bread yeast as well.

    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 you are 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 your starter has doubled in size add it to your mash and aerate. 


     If you would like to learn more about yeast and fermentation check out our article "Making Moonshine - Fermentation and Yeast".



    • (((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
    • At what temp should I add yeast to corn mash distillers act dry yeast

      Posted by RIck on April 15, 2019
    • A week ago made 2 batches 6gal each of corn mash using ~8lbs corn, 1lbs of malted rye, 1lbs of malted barley and 8lbs sugar in each batch. Used 48hour turbo yeast and bubble like crazy for 2 days and has been bubbling a little still, 5 days later. Yesterday I made another 2 batches and they bubbled like crazy for only 1 day and have since stopped. Should I try adding more yeast? I now have some Distillers active dry Yeast should I hydrate some and add?

      Posted by Ray on March 26, 2019
    • Hey bright,think I’m the guy your looking for.Have been making corn shine,Rye whiskey,applejack whiskey for years and you have to taste my black birch whiskey,all from 150 year old recipes.

      Posted by SNeakypete on November 26, 2018
    • Hey bright,think I’m the guy your looking for.Have been making corn shine,Rye whiskey,applejack whiskey for years and you have to taste my black birch whiskey,all from 150 year old recipes.

      Posted by SNeakypete on November 26, 2018
    • In my 15 gal.mashes, I use 20 lb. sugar,7 teaspoons of bread will also need some yeast nutrient,box of raisins or believe it or not small tomato paste. Most importantly airate well with mixer. Wii form a nice cap,and start a rapid ferment in hours. Most mashes all grain for whiskey,Rye and corn Vodka.

      Posted by SNeakyPete on November 26, 2018
    • hi bright contact me

      Posted by Danny on July 31, 2018
    • How many packets would you put in 50 gal of mash?

      Posted by Billy on June 05, 2018
    • Hi what business opportunity i can do that

      Posted by Dan on April 26, 2018
    • ANyone out there with experience in making premium shine, inbox me for details about a business opportunity. Thanks!

      Posted by Bright on February 06, 2018
    • ok so i am not really new at this as we have been making shine now for awhile but this week we have had a few issues. We ran out of Daddy yeast and we had some turbo. We went ahead a used a whole package of turbo yeast for a 5 gallon bucket of sugar mash. I used 5 lbs of sugar in the bucket. The bubbler went crazy the first 2 days and now it is stopped. I read somewhere this morning that you should not use Turbo yeast in shine so i decided to make a different batch (I have not dumped the bucket out yet), Question, is this still ok and is it true you should not use Turbo?
      I went ahead and decide to make another batch in another 5 gallon bucket. I dont have any yeast so i went to the grocery store and got bread yeast. It says to use 2 packets so that is what i did. Again i have a 5 gallon bucket, 5 lbs of sugar and 2 packets. I I started the yeast in a half cup of 110 degree water and 2 tsp of sugar until it doubled and dumped it in the bucket with my new bucket of sugar mash mixture. It has not started to bubble. What did i do wrong? I have 2 buckets of sugar water with yeast. What do i do??? Please please help me

      Posted by SueAnn on November 01, 2017
    • aMazing how the container doubles in size?!

      Posted by Jono on September 22, 2017
    • Clawhammer, i need some help brother ,How much flechmans yeast to run a 15 gallon ,15 pounds of sugar batch of shine ?


      Posted by james vizcarrondo on May 21, 2017
    • Hi Emmet

      I still haven’t seen in the blogs how much yeast to use ? The best i can see or work out is 10 grams per litre of mash. I was using turbo but have just started my first one with bread yeast . I will let you know how it goes.

      Cheers Shane

      Posted by shane on April 17, 2017
    • this is the first time distilling i thought i go with a simple sugar shine batch to start with your recipe calls 5 gallons of water and 8 pounds of white sugar nothing is stated about yeast i read about the starter yeast please give my a little more detail from there do i add the starter to the 5 gallons of 70 degree and the 8 pounds of sugar a little more step by step please i plan on using bread yeast is that a good starting place?

      Posted by Mark on December 29, 2016
    • I have trouble on my bread yeast and sugar fermEntation , anyone please help me, I TRY TO FERMENT 5liters of water on 2 kilo gram of sugar,1 table spoon of yeast .. I wait almost 5 hours but still there no bubble on my airlock and then I leave it and then I wait again days, but still my theres no bubble showing and no foam forming inside the fermentor bottle .. now its almost two weeks now still the same I going to throwthis and change a new one? Guys please help me ,, any suggestion please coz I dont want to waste … one question .. I am FERMENTing sugar wine for almost a month now but still no foam and bubbles come out and it has still noise on the fermentor bottle if im going to distilled this still it can produce alcohol?

      Posted by radian on October 16, 2016

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