Birdwatchers is a simple recipe for sugar wash. Sometimes it is referred to as TPR (tomato past recipe).

It produces a neutral wash and can easily be scalled. I regard it as a fail safe recipe with a great taste.

My recipe is calculated for 15 % final ABV. The amounts will yield a total volume of about 11,2L.

The tomato past serves as yeast nutrient. From my experience fresh bakers yeast will do a good job, as does any other yeast I tried. For convenience I am using dry yeast now.

The ingredients

  • 9400 g clean water
  • 3000 g sugar
  • 112 g tomato paste
  • 112 g lemon juice
  • 20 g dry yeast



The equipment

  • balance
  • pitcher or pot for measuring
  • whisk
  • funnel
  • large pot (5L) and stove
  • air tight container
  • air lock, e.g. ballon
  • thermometer

Work steps

1.  Measure 3000 g water pour in pot. Start heating water on stove.


2.  Measure tomato paste and lemon juice. Add to pot.


3.  Add 3000g sugar to pot.


4.  Whisk mixture until sugar is dissolved. Further apply heat. Be careful to not burn the suggar.


5.  Pour 6400 g water into container.


6.  Add sugar mixture from pot and mix.


7.  Wait for the temperature to drop below 30 C.


8.  Add dry yeast and mix in carefully.


9.  Add air lock to container. The mixture will start fermentation within hours.

10. Wash it ready after two to four days (at 20-25 C). The sparkling stops and taste is dry. The alcohol content should be around 15 %. Temperatures have an effect on the duration. The warmer the faster. If it is to warm fermentation might stall.


4 thoughts to “Birdwatchers – Recipe of the Month

  • Luke

    How can it be possible to get 15% in 2-4 hours?

    • Robert

      Thanks for your comment and pointing out that mistake. It should read 2 to 4 days, ofcourse.

      Usually, I am leaving the wine one to two months to equilibrate. That extra resting time improves quality of the spirit.

  • Erdem Günaltay

    What is the alcohol percentage of birdwatchers when we finally distill it, how should we dilute?

    • Robert

      The birdwatcher recipe is calculated to reach about 15% ABV (vol. % alcohol). When fermentation is finished and the birdatchers tastes like dry white wine, it should be at roughly 15% ABV. All sugar has been converted to alcohol, hence the dry taste.
      Now for running it on the microstill. The microstill uses the wine to cool the distillate. Therefore it is necessary to dilute the 15 % birdwatchers. There would be to little heat taken up by the 15 % ABV wine and the spirits would not condense.
      I recommend diluting the wine to 8-10 % ABV. I am using 10%, my room temperature is about 23C, and it works well.


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