Saving rum dunder

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zapata
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Re: Saving rum dunder

Post by zapata » Sat May 19, 2018 9:44 pm

What's the temp of your garage FLOOR? My concrete slabs are never near as hot as the heat of the day air is, thermal mass and moisture wicking evaporation keep it cool. Fill a bucket, set it on the floor and compare to ambient temps after a few days, I bet it stays at a tolerable temp. Which btw is different for different microbes, but temps around 100 are fine for most of them. Rum is an equatorial beast after all. Although my current dunder seems to be actively fermenting better in the high 80s than it was at 100, but there were a lot of other variables.

If it really is really getting up to 120+ in the bucket, it's the dessert, right? A dream for low tech cooling us swamp people can only dream of. Set a tub or shallow tray on the garage floor, set dunder bucket in that. Fill shallow tray with water. Wrap a thin towel around and over the bucket. The towel wicks the water, evaporates and cools the bucket. Add a fan if you really need to (can't imagine you need to for infecting rum dunder). Works well for fermenters too from my limited experience in dry climes. A dab of bleach keepa the water and towel from getting funky, keep that in mind before bleaching SWMBO's favorite blue towel.

Aside: Always struck me as mean to call it a swamp cooler if it can't actually cool in a swamp. Whoever chaired that naming committee should be fired. "What's it do? Cools. Well call it a cooler, done. WAIT, that names taken. Ok, where does it cool stuff. The desert. Call it a swamp cooler. Lunch time!" Yeah, F that guy.

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Re: Saving rum dunder

Post by distiller_dresden » Sun May 20, 2018 5:01 am

You could always do what I do; I keep my dunder in a 5 gal bucket. I only have a 5 gal still so this is I think sufficient for my purposes, at least for now it is. I keep my dunder bucket pit in my laundry room in a back/out of the way corner. It doesn't smell bad, if your dunder smells bad, as I understand it, then your PH is too high/basic or something else is off/wrong (bad infection). I supposed some people with overly delicate noses or something could argue it smells bad, but I think it smells like funky 'hot' brown sugar, a touch of soy sauce, pineapple, and a general 'tropical fruit' smell.

Things you can add to it for 'good' infections:

a bit of - yogurt (live active), swiss or emmentaler cheese, raw potato
each of these will add different infections and they should be able to coexist

when der wo or Otis chime in I'm sure they will have some good tips and info

you might try these threads for rum leaning into the dunder thing because this has been a real exploratory topic for us of late
viewtopic.php?f=101&t=69639
viewtopic.php?f=39&t=70627
viewtopic.php?f=101&t=70404
viewtopic.php?f=101&t=66527
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Re: Saving rum dunder

Post by distiller_dresden » Mon May 21, 2018 12:31 pm

Hey sampix; I hope that's some good info so far for you. I heard from Otis and der wo, they don't have experience with the high temps and don't know about over 100F. I'd say if you can, go for keeping it inside in a laundry room? I do that, it really doesn't smell badly at all honestly, it's quite pleasant. Also, when it's outside, even a garage, you realize you are more likely to get 'critters' or insects in it. I just keep a piece of foil loosely on top of mine, not tight just laid over it so it can breathe fine and get air, no crimping at all.

If you have to keep it in the garage I'd keep a cheap box fan on it all the time, on med or high, and get a kiddie pool or something, with a large towel wrapped around your dunder container walls, water in the pool. I wouldn't even worry about bleach or anything since it will evaporate before anything even has a chance to grow. With the towel and the fan, I don't see the temp even if it is hitting 120F and above, getting over 100F in the dunder. Besides, as mentioned, Jamaica is a really hot tropical environment which is not only humid but hot also, and regularly, especially lately like last 10-20 years, hitting 100F or above.

Given the swamp cooler precaution I think you'll be good. That's probably the same way you could mash in your rum too, to do a nice 90-95F ferment so you get good ester formation. Use a wine yeast like K1V-1116, which I'm going to be using myself for my next rum mash in this week, it is recommended in "The Distiller's Guide to Rum," a book I highly recommend. Here's my rum thread, if you'd like to follow along my own experiences and see what I've done so far and what I'm doing-- viewtopic.php?f=11&t=70044

If you want to get cheap high quality or blackstrap molasses I get mine from webstaurantstore in 5 gallon buckets, shipping is kind of a bitch, and I don't remember where you said you are (if you're not in NA it might be moot point, sorry if so!) but 5 gallons high quality for $34 and about $50 total shipped is a great price in my book. Their blackstrap is even cheaper.
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Re: Saving rum dunder

Post by distiller_dresden » Mon Jun 04, 2018 12:35 pm

I'm dumping my dunder. I know what to add to get the right infections now, and I don't want to have it around as it was getting to be a bit much. Not the smell, but as some may know I kept it inside, in my laundry room. I don't want bugs or maggots or something in it, thus inside. Well, somehow I finally picked up fruit flies and nothing I did knocked them out and they have begun all out war. I've got it covered in foil tightly, which isn't healthy for the pellicle, so I move it to the back room far away from around the corner to the kitchen (where laundry is) and crack the foil.

Obviously I didn't want to use any bug spray; anybody got some homespun tip for killing/trapping/taking out/preventing fruit flies?
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Re: Saving rum dunder

Post by zapata » Mon Jun 04, 2018 1:42 pm

Heat it up to kill, reinfect with desired microbes? Foam plug in the neck / hole or such to seal out future bugs but allow a bit of breathing if the pellicle microbes need it. Or stuff the hole with some sort of fabric, poly quilting batting or pillow stuffing makes great air filter plugs and is super cheap at any Walmart or fabric store.

The neck on mine is just plugged with a rag at the moment, though I did just stumble across one of my foam plugs and will replace with that when I get around to it.

I have zero tolerance for breeding insects myself.

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Re: Saving rum dunder

Post by distiller_dresden » Mon Jun 04, 2018 9:14 pm

This is a good idea; I use a 5 gal bucket for my dunder 'pit' though. What I think I'm going to do is get a bigger 'pit'/bucket, and one with a top, like one of the 7 or 8 gal buckets w top I've seen, and modify the top with a larger hole. Then put foam in the hole for breathing, but I'm also going to modify the bucket with a tap nozzle about 8-10" up the side, so I can tap the good stuff direct without having to disturb my pellicle at all, and just tap my infected dunder when I want it. Make it completely mess/yuck free and as 'sterile' as I possibly can.

This will be my new dunder pit when I re-establish it. That whole concept actually really is exciting as it's completely mess free and maintenance free other than watching/checking my PH once a month, which again I can do just by tapping a small amount out of the spigot and testing it. Yeah, I like this idea, and then it doesn't have to be open air because of your wonderful foam idea - thanks zapata!
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Re: Saving rum dunder

Post by Thegekko77 » Sun Aug 12, 2018 6:05 am

I have had my dunder from a Rum run 18 months ago in a 5 gal bucket but have had a lid n it the whole time. It has been in the garage.
I opened it up and it smelled good (a bit sweet and alcoholic) It has some fuzz around the edges but pretty clear otherwise. Should this be OK to use in my 2nd run?
From now on I am going to leave the lid cracked!
G

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Re: Saving rum dunder

Post by Fiddleford » Sun Aug 12, 2018 6:36 am

Thegekko77 wrote:I have had my dunder from a Rum run 18 months ago in a 5 gal bucket but have had a lid n it the whole time. It has been in the garage.
I opened it up and it smelled good (a bit sweet and alcoholic) It has some fuzz around the edges but pretty clear otherwise. Should this be OK to use in my 2nd run?
From now on I am going to leave the lid cracked!
G
From my experience with dunder. yes it is ok to run that. it sounds rather tame compared to what others have. You need to leave the lid open next time and if there is no alcohol put some old feints in it and leave the lid open so the fruit flies and get in there and start the dunder reaction, in the search bar type in dunder and read the things that come up with dunder or rum in the title.
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Re: Saving rum dunder

Post by aircarbonarc » Sun Aug 12, 2018 10:17 am

I had about 40gal of Dunder in a plastic tank in my yard if my old place, I opened it and took a whiff and it smelled of poop and rotten eggs. This wasnt something worth keeping so it had to be tossed. Ended up drilling holes in the bottom of the barrel it was in and let it drain. It was stinky for a few days.
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Re: Saving rum dunder

Post by ShineonCrazyDiamond » Sun Aug 12, 2018 10:48 am

You messed up. Shame.
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Re: Saving rum dunder

Post by Havenor » Thu Aug 16, 2018 10:23 am

I'm not a believer in the aged dunder pit idea. First, from what I can tell it's an archaic thing that goes back in history, probably went into a pit for lack of plastic buckets 100 years ago. They certainly weren't going to waste oak barrels on the dunder back in the day so it ended up in pits. JMO. The next time you go on a rum factory tour ask the question and you'll get a confused look. I tend to think it isn't being done in modern times. When I make rum I always save the dunder and reuse a portion, since it definitely matters, but my days of keeping the muck is over. I save it in a plastic bucket, covered.

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Re: Saving rum dunder

Post by distiller_dresden » Thu Aug 16, 2018 10:32 am

Havenor wrote:I'm not a believer in the aged dunder pit idea. First, from what I can tell it's an archaic thing that goes back in history, probably went into a pit for lack of plastic buckets 100 years ago. They certainly weren't going to waste oak barrels on the dunder back in the day so it ended up in pits. JMO. The next time you go on a rum factory tour ask the question and you'll get a confused look. I tend to think it isn't being done in modern times. When I make rum I always save the dunder and reuse a portion, since it definitely matters, but my days of keeping the muck is over. I save it in a plastic bucket, covered.
Hampden Distillery is the only distillery in Jamaica that specializes exclusively in the making of Heavy Pot Still rums. It prides itself in the Art of making High Ester Rums from knowledge handed down from generation to generation using fermenters made more than a century ago. Although utilizing the latest technology and equipments to ensure product quality, Hampden’s Master Distiller and Wash Masters pride themselves in predicting the outcome of each production run making the process an art as much as a science. It is this, the long history, the retention of skills, the transference of knowledge through the generations, the preserving of tradition, the use of fermenters that allows for the right yeast interaction with the carefully blended wash materials and the unique processing of it’s Lime Salts that makes Hampden paramount in the High Ester universe of rums. Hampden do not use commercial yeast but cultures, suspends and regenerate its own. It is for this reason that Hampden is privileged with having the most loyal of customers that vote their approval via their orders decade after decade. We are proud that some of our current buyers can tell stories of their grandfathers not only buying rums from the distillery many years ago but also supplying equipment for the sugar factory and spending summers at the estate.



Hampden makes a variety of rums ranging from 50 to 1600 Esters. Orders are shipped in Liters Absolute Alcohol (LAA). The higher the ester range, the more intense the bouquet of the rum. Our rums are used extensively in the blending of other rums throughout the world. Our highest ester rums are prized by the food, flavoring and perfume industries. Currently, all rums are manufactured to order, however, Hampden does set aside certain Marks for aging.
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Re: Saving rum dunder

Post by Havenor » Tue Aug 21, 2018 7:06 am

I'm perfectly OK with the disagreement. I've gone that route, and I didn't see the benefit. Honestly, I've never tried rum from that producer but if we could get the data I'm sure they are in the well in the minority.

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Re: Saving rum dunder

Post by distiller_dresden » Tue Aug 21, 2018 7:18 am

Havenor wrote: if we could get the data I'm sure they are in the well in the minority.
I don't understand this to respond? What data, and did you mean "they are well in the minority"? What minority? If what you typed was what you meant, what do you mean 'in the well' and 'in the minority'? Not being snarky, I really don't get what you're contextually saying.

As far as 'data' Hampden rums test higher for esters than any in the world, and they make some rums that are so incredibly high in esters they aren't even sold to the public. Nobody else makes rums with ester counts as high as 1600. Nobody. They're world renowned. Just because you don't personally know something, or of something, doesn't mean that it's irrelevant.

I can agree that for most home distillers just using infected dunder, it's still got a science to it, and they aren't going to get huge results if they aren't doing everything just right. That includes using sulfuric acid just prior to distillation to drop the acidity of the wash and create an environment for the creation of esters during distillation. There are threads here by 'der wo' with several of our members discussing even the use of lees and sulfuric acid to create lime salts, just as Hampden does, and this is key for isolating the compounds that are necessary for the creation of massive ester bomb rums. So most users who aren't knowledgeable or not willing to pick up some sulfuric acid, or both, probably aren't getting noticeable results from the use of infected dunder. Many users here are, though, even without sulfuric acid and lime salts, like ShineOn who regularly makes rums this way and has dunder pits going very well infected properly and knows how to use them.
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Re: Saving rum dunder

Post by distiller_dresden » Tue Sep 18, 2018 12:44 pm

Need some advice - or opinion -

I've been running a dunder pit for about a month now. I just added more dunder from a run this weekend and I'm at 6.5 gallons, pretty infected developing. Bits of potato, Swiss cheese, parm cheese, goat cheese, and over ripe molding peach a chunk from away from the mold. Had some white, green, blue pellicle. When I dumped in the new stuff and balanced PH again, the next day (yesterday) I noticed that it appears there is some fermentation going on.... Or something? There is movement like a tiny tornado just at the top going beneath the surface, enough to disturb and lightly twist/mix the surface about 2" across, moving about. Just one incidence of this.

What is it?? The rest is still.
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Re: Saving rum dunder

Post by MtRainier » Tue Sep 18, 2018 1:21 pm

What would anyone think about using a lambic culture from white labs or wyeast to start up a live dunder pit?

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Re: Saving rum dunder

Post by kiwi Bruce » Thu Sep 20, 2018 2:58 pm

rubber duck wrote:Be careful with that rum dunder. I dumped my well aged dunder and my little dog got into it, she didn't get much of it either. That dunder had a neurotoxin in it that cost me a 700 dollar vet bill.
OK this is a totally disturbing warning...did the vet have any idea what this could have been ? and how did you explain what it was the puppy got into ?
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Re: Saving rum dunder

Post by Expat » Fri Sep 21, 2018 3:57 am

Somthing as basic as soil can carry botchilism bacteria and other nasties. They're usually broken down (denatured) when exposed to high temps like in a boiler. It's the reason why you don't taste what's in the dunder pit, or drink out of a stagnant ditch... Ick.

Pup okay after?

kiwi Bruce wrote:
rubber duck wrote:Be careful with that rum dunder. I dumped my well aged dunder and my little dog got into it, she didn't get much of it either. That dunder had a neurotoxin in it that cost me a 700 dollar vet bill.
OK this is a totally disturbing warning...did the vet have any idea what this could have been ? and how did you explain what it was the puppy got into ?
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Re: Saving rum dunder

Post by distiller_dresden » Sat Sep 29, 2018 10:34 am

Anybody know if fruit mold I got from a bit of fresh peach (which damnit wasn't moldy!) and has taken over my pellicle completely makes my dunder ruined?
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Re: Saving rum dunder

Post by Celis » Sat Sep 29, 2018 11:08 am

I hope not, my pellicle has been gone since the temperatures have dropped. It does smell very good and fruity! I think it will return next summer when the temperature rises again. Haven't used it yet, so am looking forward to my next run :)

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Re: Saving rum dunder

Post by distiller_dresden » Sat Sep 29, 2018 11:23 am

Celis wrote:I hope not, my pellicle has been gone since the temperatures have dropped. It does smell very good and fruity! I think it will return next summer when the temperature rises again. Haven't used it yet, so am looking forward to my next run :)
Check your PH, it should be around 5. Also, have you been adding/removing/exchanging fresh dunder on some kind of regular basis -- it needs fresh nutrients/food. When my pit is running well I'm taking out about 25% every couple months at least and adding fresh 'cooked' and cooled dunder from my pot after a cook. I think you can add a small bit of molasses or sugar to it, or just a small amount of wash, too.

But that didn't really address my ponder on the fruit/peach mold on top - it's all fuzzy green and the pellicle is healthy, wrinkled up and growing like a SOB, but all the other 'colors' and infections are not apparent, it's just straight green mold cap.
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Re: Saving rum dunder

Post by Celis » Sat Sep 29, 2018 12:18 pm

I haven't done a rum rum since I started my dunder pit. I did however trow an overripe banana in it. Will it hurt to keep it this way and check PH next time when I will be adding fresh dunder again?

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Re: Saving rum dunder

Post by SaltyStaves » Sat Sep 29, 2018 12:31 pm

distiller_dresden wrote:I think you can add a small bit of molasses or sugar to it, or just a small amount of wash, too.
Potential alcohol = potential acetic acid infection.
Not a bad thing when starting a pit, but if it happens mid cycle, it would acidify the pit and arrest further bacterial development.

Lees (dead yeast) are the primary food stock for bacteria.

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Re: Saving rum dunder

Post by distiller_dresden » Sat Sep 29, 2018 12:46 pm

There you go Celis, next run of anything, save the yeast bed and then add it to your dunder. Maybe make sure to drain off as much wash as you can so you don't get the acetic infection going.

Salty, any idea about my mold pellicle going? It's totally the kind you seen on a peach when it gets old and moldy, soft green and barely fuzzy, if you tap/touch it then spores/powder comes off.
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Re: Saving rum dunder

Post by SaltyStaves » Sat Sep 29, 2018 3:37 pm

distiller_dresden wrote: Salty, any idea about my mold pellicle going? It's totally the kind you seen on a peach when it gets old and moldy, soft green and barely fuzzy, if you tap/touch it then spores/powder comes off.
To me, it suggests that your pit is static. Mold doesn't tend to do well when the underlying surface is percolating. Organisms feeding and excreting in your pit should be making it more difficult for mold colonies to get a foothold. Also look at how you might be trapping condensation in the pit. Airflow should be managed.

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Re: Saving rum dunder

Post by distiller_dresden » Mon Oct 01, 2018 9:33 pm

Pulled the mold pellicle off my dunder and threw it out, beneath the dunder is going nuts - big bubbles occasionally, all kinds of swirling motion and activity going on. I replaced my top with the middle cut out and cheesecloth over it with just cheesecloth for better air circulation/breathing. There was condensation on the sides of the inside of the bucket, so definitely a ton of moisture. It was still nothing on top but fuzzy green peach mold. Now that's gone, I'm sure it's still in there though, obviously. And it's definitely not static, active as hell. I reinfected with swiss cheese, goat cheese, yogurt, and a dead fruit fly I just killed - so it can't breed in there, but I get the bacteria they have on them into the pit. Will see how it goes with an 'open' top for full air flow now... Smelled good, like chocolate, soy, sour rum, tropical fruit, a bit of licorice.
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Re: Saving rum dunder

Post by SaltyStaves » Mon Oct 01, 2018 10:03 pm

Sounds like moisture was the main problem then.
distiller_dresden wrote:Smelled good, like chocolate, soy, sour rum, tropical fruit, a bit of licorice.
I would be very disheartened to lift the lid off my pit and describe it as such.

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Re: Saving rum dunder

Post by SpiritOf76 » Tue Sep 01, 2020 6:44 am

Thanks everyone for sharing your experiences.

On my 2nd or 3rd try at AG whiskey I poured about 2.5 gal of backset into the new wash - but it created a metallic flavor in the final product (probably because of what the copper removed in distillation). Does this not happen with rum?

I switched to rum because it's less labor and faster to make, and that's helping me more quickly develop skills running the still, cutting and blending.

There's less sulfur for the copper to remove I suppose? I haven't tried using or saving the backset with rum. I'm concerned about messing up the product like I did with the AG. I'm running a ss boiler with traditional copper onion and lyne arm and a copper liebig, with some copper mesh in the lyne to slow the vapor velocity on the spirit run (to prevent huffing).

I leave about 2 gal of wash and lees in the fermenter for the next batch, and I re-run all the feints in the next spirit run. I think the dead yeast helps as a nutrient for the new batch (I add only DADY no other nutrients and nothing to the water. Tap water from our city is just fine, good water report every year).

Not sure how the final product compares to what you all are producing with infected dunder. What I do know is that after 1 week on charred oak and toasted maple with 1/2 a real vanilla bean produces a rum unlike any I can buy (and I don't like store bought rum).

It's more like a whiskey with the mouth feel of liquid caramel, a little bit marshmallow-y in flavor, but not sweet compared to store bought.

I have a long way to go before I reach your level of sophistication with my craft. Meanwhile the process I'm using is really worthwhile. Once I have more confidence I'll try some of the techniques you've all described.
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