What Kind Of Yeast For Fruit Moonshine

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What Kind Of Yeast For Fruit Moonshine

The history of fruit wine may feature fruit, but it has always included yeast. They are the conversion factor that turns sugar into alcohol. Yeast also come in a huge diversity that can yield a nearly endless variety of wine profiles. Some yeasts are super aggressive while some are extremely sensitive to temperature & need to be closely monitored. When it comes to fruit wine some yeasts work better with certain kinds of fruit. They either react to each other well or the fruit compliments a certain wine profile that the yeast produces.

Pairing Yeasts With Fruit

Montrachet is a very good dry yeast to use for fruit wine. It has a broad appeal & is very dependable. When in doubt use this yeast. It is one of the more neutral yeasts available, ferments quickly & allows the flavor of the fruit to be more present in the wine. For optimum fermentation keep between 59-86 degrees Fahrenheit.

Red Star Cote des Blancs is a dry yeast strain that works well with apples, plums, pears or fruits that produce a white wine profile. This yeast is known to take its time during fermentation. When fermenting make certain to keep your temperature between 64-86 degrees Fahrenheit.

Red Star Premier Rouge is a dry yeast strain that produces very good red wines. When creating fruit wines it works well with raspberries, huckleberries, blackberries, or peaches. Ferment at 59-86 degrees Fahrenheit.

Red Star Pasteur Blanc is a yeast strain that creates a very dry apple wine. Use this yeast when it’s difficult to begin a fermentation. The extra aggressive nature of this strain allows the yeast to overcome less than ideal fermentation conditions. It works well with high acid fruits.

Don’t be afraid to try different strains of yeast because the yeast can play a large role in the final profile of your wine.

Each person is different in what they look for in a wine, and the yeast can make it possible for you to find that exact profile that you were looking for.

There is no rule that says you can't use a Pasteur Red yeast to make an apple wine. Give it a try; you might be surprised with the results.

A lot of people never think about what type of yeast to use with their wine. We believe that is because adding yeast to make wine is a relatively new concept.

Years ago wine makers would place their fruit in a crock, or container, leave it open to the air and let what yeast was floating around start the fermentation.

There are some obvious draw backs to this, but many people made wine this way up to the 1960s and 1970s. Some people continue to make wine this way.

We do not recommend making wine in this fashion for many reasons, but here are just a few for you:

  • The wine does not always ferment. This is a very common issue when relying on airborne yeast to ferment anything.
  • The fruit goes bad before the wine starts to ferment. No CO2 to protect the fruit will lead to a strong chance that the fruit will rot before you even start the wine making process.
  • A bacterium is introduced before the juice begins to ferment. Now all you have is nasty vinegar that you shouldn’t use.
  • Bugs carry the yeast to the fruit. Does anyone really want bugs to help make their wine? Children not included.

So, now you want to make wine, but you’ve got Grandpa’s old recipe which just says to leave the container open and it will start to ferment on its own. What do you do? Simple, you mix everything together just as Grandpa's recipe says, but you add your own yeast to the juice.

  • Hint: In addition to adding yeast, make sure you use a lid and an Airlock

Yeast Selection for Fruit Distillates | BSG CraftBrewing | Bulk Brewing & Beer Supply Company

Many types of orchard fruit are now or soon will be in season, and distillers across North America will be preparing washes. Fermentation is where many congeners are created and fruit flavors enhanced or lost. Here are some yeast strains to consider using for this season’s brandies, schnapps, applejacks, calvados, and more:

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Pathfinder TY Fruit is a combination of alcohol tolerant, high ester-producing yeast with a complete nutrient package. It is ideal for fruit-based washes, and performs reliably regardless of the nutrient contribution of the fruit.

SafCider is a fructophilic (readily ferments fructose) strain that’s very easy to work with: it’s tolerant of low pH and works across a wide temperature range, plus low nitrogen requirement and it settles readily. SafCider is an ideal choice for apple or pear substrates, but works quite well in other fruit mashes, including grapes.

SafSpirit FD-3  is another fructophilic yeast, a strain with a neutral or mildly estery profile that also features low nitrogen requirements and high resistance to ethanol. FD-3 is suitable for any kind of fruit distillate, and is excellent for traditional European-style fruit or grape brandies, schnapps, and slivovitz.

Enological strains from Vason are an excellent addition to the fruit distiller’s toolkit when working with many kinds of fruit, and wine grapes in particular.

Regardless of the varietal, style, or harvest conditions there is a strain in the Vason range for your application, and they are especially useful if only a portion of the harvest will be loaded into a still, leaving the rest to be bottled as wine.

As always, please contact BSG sales for technical support on fermentation, yeast selection, and other questions.

Moonshine Recipe Without Yeast
– HowtoMoonshine

Moonshine can be made with very few ingredients-even without yeast. Check out our moonshine recipe without yeast. 

Moonshine recipes come in a variety of sizes with many different types of ingredients. In general, most moonshiners are aware you can make moonshine from grain, fruit or sugar. However, most may not realize you can actually make moonshine without yeast. 

Making moonshine is a three-step process that takes a few weeks to complete. This means if you really want to try moonshine and make it yourself you better be patient! 

While the process isn’t super speedy, it is really satisfying. Not only are you able to make your own spirits from the comforts of home, but there are endless recipes at your fingertips to make different varieties of moonshine as well as different cocktails that include moonshine. 

It’s no wonder moonshining is growing in popularity so quickly. With so many people wanting to live more independently and off-grid, moonshine is a great option to get delicious tasting spirits without a bloated price tag. 

Moonshine is also a great spirit to give to friends and family as well as serve at special events. Gone are the days when moonshine was associated with a harsh tasting liquor. Today’s moonshine has a variety for every palate! 

The Role of Yeast in a Moonshine Mash

Yeast plays an important role in the production of moonshine. In fact, you could say yeast is the star of the fermentation stage of moonshining. This is because yeast is what actually turns the fermentable sugars in your moonshine mash into alcohol and carbon dioxide. 

Since yeast plays such an important role in the production of moonshine, it seems odd that you can make moonshine without it. The truth is, you can’t.

You can make moonshine without adding additional yeast. However, yeast is actually a living micro fungus that lives in the air. Under the correct conditions, your alcohol can ferment without adding yeast and using only natural occurring yeast and bacteria.

What Does Yeast Tell Us About Fermentation?

When fermenting alcohol is obviously our end goal.  However, the carbon dioxide produced by yeast during fermentation is also important. As your mash ferments, carbon dioxide will be released and bubbles will float to the surface of your fermentation bucket. 

These bubbles tell us a lot about what is going on with your moonshine. If your mash fails to bubble or stops bubbling early it is a sign there is something wrong with the mash.

Even if your fermentation bucket is covered and not clear, you can tell if your mash is bubbling with an airlock. 

With this in mind, it is apparent yeast is an important ingredient in moonshine. But can you make moonshine without yeast? The answer is yes! 

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Why Would You Make Moonshine Without Yeast? 

Many may be asking themselves, ‘what is the point of making moonshine without yeast?’ There are actually quite a few reasons to try to make a batch of moonshine using this method. 

The first and foremost is to make moonshine the traditional way. Many want to preserve the methods that were developed by early Americans to make white whiskey.

Early moonshiners were not able to simply purchase yeast to make their mash process easier. They had to rely on natural yeasts in order to ferment. 

In addition to maintaining tradition, many swear that moonshine made without yeast tastes better, smells better and leaves less of a hangover. However, others warn that natural yeast is a much slower process that results in a much lower alcohol by volume. 

Making moonshine without yeast can be done and many would argue the method is actually very simple. 

When making moonshine with yeast, there are many different options of yeast at your fingertips. Some, such as Turbo Yeast, can speed up the fermentation process. 

When you make a moonshine mash without yeast the process is much more simple, but you have less control. There is no magical ingredient to speed the process up. You need to go back to basics and have a little patience. However, your efforts will be well worth it! 

Making moonshine without yeast is not simple. In fact, it would be much simpler to make wine since many fruits, such as grapes, are covered in natural yeast which will easily lend itself to this type of fermentation method. 

In order to ferment fruit, you would simply crush or smash the fruit (the same way you would do in any fruit mash recipe) and place in an airtight container with a lid. Of course, because you are relying on wild yeast for fermentation, you cannot wash the fruit before adding them to the mash. 

Do you want to use yeast in your moonshine that you know will not taint your final product? Many swear by making their own ‘wild yeast starter’ instead of purchasing commercial products. 

This type of starter uses the natural yeast that is found on many wild fruits. Some great options are  juniper berries, elderberries, wild grapes, blueberries, or figs. Again, wild fruits that are foraged are what is needed for this recipe. 

  1. Once you have gathered your fruit, make a simple sugar solution of ¼ sugar to ¾ water. 
  2. Use a sterilized fermentation jar or airtight jar. Add your fruit and sugar water. 
  3. Put your jar in a warm dark place. Shake 3 to 4 times daily. After about 5 days you will see your solution is bubbly and ready to be added in the place of a traditional yeast. 

Make sure to smell the yeast before using. If it smells bad, do not use it

While fermentation plays an important role in making moonshine, it takes a backseat to distillation. Distillation is the process in which you use heat to separate the ethanol from the water in your mash. 

The right still can arguably make or break a run. This is because using top quality stills has a big impact on the taste, quality and ABV of your final product. 

At How to Moonshine, we believe that good quality stills don’t need to cost a fortune. Our moonshine still kits are made to be user friendly while still producing a quality product. 

Our Magnum Moonshine Still Kit is not only our biggest kit yet, but it also has some premium features that set it apart from the crowd. 

  • The Magnum's fermenter, condenser keg, and rectifying tower are all constructed with food-grade stainless steel material. This means your Magnum All-in-One Copper Coil Still Kit will be durable, sturdy, and easy to clean. 
  • The Magnum’s built-in copper coils perform rapid thermal conductivity to quickly cool your still. Copper is an important material in distillation as in addition to its superior cooling efforts, the copper coils also neutralize the sulfur in your moonshine resulting in a better-tasting whiskey. 
  • The Magnum is our biggest still yet! The large capacity of the pot is perfect for even the largest recipes. 


  • 50 pounds corn
  • 25 pounds sugar
  • spring water or rain water
  1. Start with a sterilized barrel that is outdoors.

  2. Fill your barrel with water until the volume of water is about 1-2 inches above the corn.

  3. Allow to sour in the sun for three days in hot weather.

  4. Once your mash has soured, it is time to add the sugar. Add more water to fill the barrel to the top.

  5. Stir, cover, and wait ten days.

  6. After ten days the wash should be ready for distillation.

  7. Distill as normal and enjoy!

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Selecting the right yeast strain

The enormous variety of strains on the market can be a bit daunting. At distillique, we sell about 15 yeast strains alone.

  We have seen that some people are quite hesitant when we suggest using a different strain than what they are used to.

This article will hopefully educate our readers what characteristics to look at when it comes to choosing a yeast strain for a specific style or type of beverage.  

Setting aside preferences for very specific strains from particular companies, there are some general guidelines we can follow when selecting a yeast strain for a particular product. These guidelines are not rules, however, and there is plenty of room for experimentation!

The names or categories used for commercial yeast strains can be a useful starting point, especially for alcoholic beverages in general. Some packaging will specify if it is intended for wine, beer, or spirits.

Some will make life even easier and specify the type of spirits (Fruit brandies, Grain-based spirits, Tequila, Molasses and Sugar cane, etc), the type of wine (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Shiraz, Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc etc) or even the type beer (Ale, Lager). These are quite self-explanatory.

Things can become tricky, however, when making a product with few or no specific yeast, such as mampoer, or when looking for alternatives to the specific yeasts available, such as when using wine yeast for rum production. In these cases, we need to consider several factors. 


Attenuation is a measure of how much available sugar a yeast strain ferments into ethanol (potential alcohol yield). This may be represented as a percentage or described as high, medium, or low.  

The higher the attenuation, the more sugar has been converted into alcohol and carbon dioxide and vice versa. 

Yeast strains with a low attenuation might leave some residual sugar in your product, meaning not all of the available sugar has been consumed. For beverages such as wine and beer, any residual sugar will influence the taste and mouthfeel, and thus the style of your product. If a dry wine or beer is required, it is best to use a yeast strain with a medium to high attenuation. 

Attenuation is also a big factor to consider for distillers. Although residual sugars won't influence the taste of your spirits, it is still important for economic reasons. Low attenuation means wasted sugar, and this is best avoided if possible to reduce unnecessary costs. As such, distillers would generally prefer highly attenuative yeast strains to minimise sugar waste.

Alcohol Tolerance 

Alcohol is toxic to all microorganisms, and this includes yeast. The alcohol tolerance of a given yeast strain determines how much alcohol it can produce before it reaches toxic levels and kills the yeast cells. 

Yeast has adapted to tolerate higher percentages of alcohol than most other microbes, and some strains tolerate alcohol better than others. This is a result of the selection pressure imposed on the yeast used for different beverages.

For example, wine yeasts can tolerate a high percentage (around 15% ABV). Beer yeasts are generally less tolerant, with some examples tolerating 8% ABV but some others up to 18% ABV.

Baker’s yeast can be highly resistant to heat but cannot resist high alcohol concentrations (between 6-8 % ABV). Distillers Yeast and turbo yeast can tolerate up to 18% and 21% ABV respectively.

The higher the alcohol tolerance (and sugar tolerance) of the yeast, the more sugar you can add to your wash before fermentation in order to have a higher alcohol yield during distillation. 

Yeast producers will specify the alcohol tolerance of a given strain. Although strains can be made to push their tolerance limits slightly, doing so, however, will often produce off-flavours as the yeast become stressed. It is best to choose a yeast that will be able to handle the target alcohol percentage.

Sugar Tolerance

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