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Rum experiment

PostPosted: Tue May 09, 2017 8:18 pm
by vickrockafeller
Having never made rum, i'm going to try to dial in a good rum recipe within the next month or so. My plan is to make 15 gallons. I'm think I'm going to start with table grade molasses, use enough to bring it to 19 Plato. Bring it to a boil to sanitize, and then divide it into 3 different carboys. Ill pitch 3 different yeasts. Thinking baker's yeast, a distiller's yeast, and a Trappist Belgian ale yeast. Same nutrient, just oxygenate the Belgian. Then run each one through a four plate column still.

Do a taste test to pick my favorite yeast, and then do it again. This time, if I want it cleaner i'll use cane sugar, if I want more flavor ill use blackstrap and sugar. Maybe even a little honey or something to be creative. Same starting gravity, and at a ratio that will give me approximately the same ABV, if I can figure that out. 3 Carboys again, one with my favorite yeast from the last round, the other with something different. Maybe a Saison, or a brett/sacc blend or a rum specific yeast? still not sure. Maybe change up the yeast nutrient. Probably the same distillation, unless I really don't like anything from the first batch and want to radically change it.

I'll come back with my results. Any suggestions?

Re: Rum experiment

PostPosted: Tue May 09, 2017 9:47 pm
by Zymurgy Bob
Coupla things to watch for: Molasses is a mix of fermentable sugars and unfermentable sugars, and they both show up in the specific gravity readings. You really need to find out the percentage of fermentable to know what your Plato reading really means.

Also, all those unfermenable sugars will show up in your final gravity.

I love making rum, but you need to unjigger what you think the right numbers are, or you'll be confused.

Re: Rum experiment

PostPosted: Wed May 10, 2017 9:33 am
by vickrockafeller
For sure @Zymurgy Bob. I was figuring on 90% fermentable on the table grade. That's why I went as high as 19P. I'm hoping to get close to 8% AVB wash. Guess I actually need to go up to 20P to hit that. Think I read here that blackstrap is around 65% fermentable, so if I go that route I was going to try to figure out a balance of blackstrap and sugar to give me a similar Plato and final AVB. Thanks.

Re: Rum experiment

PostPosted: Wed May 10, 2017 5:49 pm
by Zymurgy Bob
Sounds like you've got it covered. Some distillers are surprised by the numbers when they start to make rum.

Re: Rum experiment

PostPosted: Thu Jun 29, 2017 4:17 am
by Saltbush Bill
Interested to see what the out come was here, has there been any progress?

Re: Rum experiment

PostPosted: Sat Jul 08, 2017 4:57 pm
by vickrockafeller
@Saltbush Bill didn't seem like too much interest, so I kinda let the post die. I used Bakers, a SAF distillers yeast, and a Belgian strain I got a friend from a local brewery to harvest for me. 18 Plato, table grade molasses. Performance wise the Bakers yeast did the best. Belgium started out great as the the others were dry yeast, and I did not slurry them, but stalled out, and didn't finish as low as the others. Flavor wise, I liked the baker's yeast better than the distillers. They finished out almost identically, so I tried to distill and cut them as close as possible. It was slightly sweeter, and cleaner. Belgian had some very interesting floral and fruity characteristics. Kinda moved away from what you would expect from a rum, and might be too much for some people. It was pretty interesting to see how much of a difference there was between the 3. I haven't done a second batch yet, but saved some dunder for it, and will try to monitor the PH more carefully, I think it got too low, and that is why the Belgian stalled. Think I'm just gonna stick to table molasses with the dunder, but may try a blackstrap sugar mix if it is cheaper.

Re: Rum experiment

PostPosted: Mon Jul 10, 2017 5:29 pm
by Saltbush Bill
Ok interesting results , thanks for the reply.
The old bakers yeast is fairy hard to beat for Rum.
For what its worth I make a fair bit of rum, I never use processed sugar, only 100% molasses.
I have never yet checked PH or needed to adjust PH, and have never had a failed ferment.
It seems to me that PH is only an issue if you use to much Dunder in the wash.
4-5 L in a 28L wash works for me.

Re: Rum experiment

PostPosted: Mon Jul 10, 2017 6:26 pm
by sugarcreek
90% fermentables is overly optimistic. In the distillery we buy our suppliers highest grade and the cut sheet lists it at between 68 - 72% TSAI. I would use those figures. Re: yeast -- go simple. Initially we used a "rum" yeast from fermentis but found the flavor profile a bit bland. Bakers years (besides being much, much less expensive) gave a favorable flavor profile. For us, these were important factors in a good deep rum flavor:

1. Go with bakers yeast over specific rum strains
2. Blackstrap yields a deeper flavor. Its critical to know the TSAI of whatever molasses you're using
3. Backset. Use 25% backset in subsequent runs. Provides flavor and buffers pH.
4. Recycle feints!
5. Keep ferm temps in the high 80s
6. Broaden your cuts. You dont want your rum tasting too neutral.

Re: Rum experiment

PostPosted: Tue Jul 11, 2017 4:58 pm
by vickrockafeller
For sure Bill. Thought it was the ph, because I'm fermenting some tequila now, with a couple different agaves, and the PHs are all over the place. I never actually tested it in the rum. I'm more familiar with grain, which is a super forgiving buffer. Thanks for the tips @sugarcreek is the high temp for ester production, or for yeast vitality?

Re: Rum experiment

PostPosted: Wed Jul 12, 2017 6:04 pm
by just sayin'
Interesting post, Vick. Great input, Sugar. Never have been much of a rum drinker, but you are peeking my interest.

Re: Rum experiment

PostPosted: Fri Jul 14, 2017 6:21 pm
by Saltbush Bill
I also run my rum ferments fairly hot, I usually kick them off at around 38C, my feeling is that a hot ferment makes a tastier end product.

Re: Rum experiment

PostPosted: Fri Jul 14, 2017 9:11 pm
by Azframer
I am going to go back to my using Total Rasin Bran with my rum again. I had found some pretty cheap Dark Brown sugar and will set about finding a better recipe than I used before. I just hope I can find the 50 pounds for $25 again when I need it.