Hook Rum

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Hook Rum

Postby HookLine » Sat Nov 14, 2009 9:15 pm

This is how I do it. There are other ways.

(There is nothing original in this, I just put it together using the various info and tips I gathered from the forums and internet, plus a bit of my own experience, to make a basic rum guide.)

Comments and suggestions welcome.

••••••••••••

Rum Production Flow Chart

FERMENT

For a 60 litre ferment at 10% abv.

Ingredients

5 kg of raw sugar

7 litres of blackstrap molasses (= about of 5 kgs of fermentable sugars.)

2 teaspoons of DAP

20 litres of dunder (if using it, plus calcium carbonate). If not, then use 1 heaped teaspoon of citric acid.

About half the lees from the previous ferment. (Optional)

Clean, well aerated water to make up the final volume.

150 grams of dried bakers yeast.

Keep ferment around 25-30 ºC.


Vary the molasses/sugar ratio to your taste. More molasses equals stronger taste.

Vary the proportion of dunder to your taste. More dunder equals stronger taste. About 1/3 is a good place to start.

Throw all the ingredients into the fermenter, and use hot dunder from the still, or hot water, fill the fermenter to halfway to help dissolve everything, and help sanitise it all. Stir well for a few minutes. Cover and let cool overnight. Top up with plain clean water. Make sure the ferment is well aerated. Then pitch yeast straight on to the surface. Cover loosely. I don't use airlocks.

I use town water and add a very small pinch of vitamin C powder (as sodium ascorbate or ascorbic acid powders, from the health food store) to neutralise any chlorine or chloramine in the water. Works very well.


Molasses

Must be preservative free (most blackstrap is I think).

Can use fancy 'food grade' molasses, if you can get it in bulk and can afford it. But blackstrap is what all the commercial distilleries and most hobby stillers use. It is much cheaper and easier to get in bulk.

Blackstrap molasses weighs about 1.4 kg per litre, and the sugar content is about 50%. So a litre contains about 0.7 kgs of fermentable sugars.

Molasses is often low in nitrogen, so extra needs to be added. DAP (di-ammonium phosphate) works very well. Can substitute 2 tablespoons of plain tomato paste for DAP. Doesn't seem to affect the taste.

A hydrometer is not much use on a molasses wash, as the unfermentable solids in molasses gives false high readings. Just go by weights and volumes for the ferment mix.

Brown, or dark brown sugar can be used instead of molasses. It will give a much lighter flavour. If using these sugars you will need to add some extra nutrients (besides DAP), as they are nutrient poor compared to blackstrap molasses.

Commercial distilleries usually clarify their molasses before using it. Their version is a bit complicated with several steps, but a basic clarify is easy to do. Add 2 parts water to 1 part molasses (by volume) and mix well. Then heat to about 85 ºC (185 ºF), give it a good stir, cover loosely, and let it stand for at least several hours undisturbed to allow the solids to settle out. Finally, carefully remove the clearer liquid from the top, leaving any solids behind (as sediment on the bottom). I have not tried clarifying my molasses, but some say it significantly improves the taste. Removing the solids may also make it easier to clean out the boiler after the low wines runs. The inside of my boiler (and sometimes my pot column) can get pretty filthy after a few runs of rum wash, mainly above the liquid line, in the head space, and this may be in large part due to the unclarified molasses I use as it may foam a lot. This puking and fouling problem may also be helped by using a teaspoon or two of plain vegetable oil or butter in the still charge of wash, to act as a surfactant for preventing foaming and puking.


Bakers yeast

100-150 grams. More is okay, it will provide nutrients. Bakers yeast is pretty good for rum. (As I recall it is usually bred up on a molasses substrate, so it is already conditioned to it.) I don't make yeast starters for rum, too much mucking around, and bakers yeast is cheap, so I just throw a whole bunch on the surface of the ferment mix and let it go.

You can run higher than 10% with bakers yeast, maybe up to 12-14%, but only aiming for 9-10% keeps any stress on the yeast to a minimum.


Dunder

(Dunder is just the specific name for rum stillage or backset).

If it is the first ferment in the cycle, then just use plain water, and add a heaped teaspoon of citric acid. If using dunder, leave the acid out as dunder gets quite acidic naturally. In fact, to help keep the dunder pH from falling too far, after 2 runs in the cycle I start adding 2-3 grams of calcium carbonate to the ferment, (as Caltrate tablets, a calcium supplement from the chemist/supermarket).

My experience is that recycling the dunder is one of two critical ingredients in rum, the other being molasses. Molasses provides the basic taste, and recycling dunder is what gives rum its complexity and richness. The more times you recycle dunder, the better it gets. It is well worth keeping dunder in the freezer, or adding a bunch of neutral to it, to keep it unspoiled when you are not in a rum cycle.

Doesn't hurt to let the dunder settle and clarify, then take it off any sediment, before storing. Also probably worth doing it every few runs during a rum making cycle too.


DISTILLING

When fermenting has finished, wait another 2 days, then rack the wash into another container. Wait another 2-3 days (or longer if you want), then rack into the still for the stripping (low wines) run. Take it out to 98 ºC, or 20% abv, (go further if you want, some go to 99 ºC, or 10%).

Recycle dunder back into next ferment while still hot.

Some do not mind the taste that bakers yeast adds to rum, and leave most of the yeast in the wash and run that. Your choice.

Collect enough low wines to fill the boiler, at about 40% abv. I find leaving the low wines sitting in a container with a loose fitting lid (such as a cheap stainless stockpot) for a week or so, to let it air out a bit, noticeably improves the final product.


For the spirit run many add some fresh wash to the low wines (typically equal to about 10% of the low wines). It adds extra flavour. The ratio of wash to low wines can be varied to taste. More wash equals stronger flavour.


Make sure the low wines are no higher than about 40% abv, and charge the boiler to about 4/5 full for the spirit run. (Fill to a lower level if using more than about 10% fresh wash, to avoid puking into the condenser.)

After boil up, I run at about 600 w (2-3 drops a second) for the fores, step up a bit for the heads (about 4-6 drops, just below a stream), then finally step up to a thin stream a bit thicker than a pencil lead for the main cut (hearts). The power usually needs to be turned up a bit 2-3 times later in the main cut, to keep the same output rate.

I collect the first part of the run in separate jars, until I am clearly into the hearts, then switch to a bigger container and empty that into the main collection container every litre or so. Once I am getting near the tails, I switch back to the smaller jars. For your first few runs, it is better to collect the whole run in separate jars, until you know the basic pattern well.

Compared to brandy and whiskey the hearts to tails cut in rum is quite late, some go as low as 55-50%, or 92.5-94 ºC. I usually cut between 60-55%, or 91.5-92.5 ºC. Cover your collection jars with a single layer of clean plain cotton cloth or coffee filters, and let them air for 24 hours (some leave them for 48 hours), then dilute small samples to 35-40% to make the cut properly.

You can do a third run to give you a triple distilled spirit, which will be lighter and more refined, though not necessarily 'better' than single or double distilled, it depends on your personal preference. Simply dilute the hearts cut from the second run down to about 40 % abv, and run it again. You can probably run the third pass a bit faster than the second.


I keep all the feints (except the foreshots) and when there is enough I do a separate run through the pot still. I do this run slower than normal, to get better separation. You could put some mesh/scrubbers in the pot column to help with the separation. The feints from this run goes into the next neutral run through the reflux column.

Alternatively, you could just run the original feints through a reflux column, with the valve wide open to get a light rum. Plenty of room to experiment to your taste here.


OAKING & AGEING

I use both new and used sticks of charred oak (size approx 10-15 mm square x 150 mm long). For new I use 4-5 sticks per 5 litres. Leave for a month, then remove 2-3 of the sticks, and leave for another month or so. If the sticks have been used before, then leave for longer, and/or use more of them, or use a mix of old and new sticks. I usually use a mix of new and used sticks, and re-use sticks maybe 3 times.

I have tried 'renewing' oak sticks by scraping back the surface fairly hard and re-charring them. Worked okay, but obviously there is a limit to what you can get from a single small piece of oak.

Have not tried toasted sticks yet, as I don't have an oven.

My oak comes from used red wine barrels from a winery. I do not remove or char the red wine stain side of the stick (the inside of the barrel). I think that staining adds both colour and flavour to the spirit.


I put a double layer of coffee filter on the top of the ageing container, held on with a rubber band.

After 2 months or so on oak, I filter the particulate matter out through coffee filters, take a sample bottle or two and set that aside, and put the rest into a stainless keg with a coffee filter on the opening, this is my long term ageing barrel. Some people leave it on oak for longer, especially used oak.

You can flavour it with various things, such as cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla (natural vanilla, of course), dried fruit (raisins are particularly good), etc. With some of these you need to be a bit careful, a little can go a long way, and the flavours can also take a bit of time to fully come over. Have also tried a bit of (genuine) maple syrup and that works quite well too, adds a lovely hint of sweetness and smoothness, and of course maple.

I have also macerated fruit like strawberry, cherry, and blueberry in rum. That works quite nicely.

The more dunder is recycled, the more the rum develops a deep rich flavour all of its own. These days I just drink my rum just with water and a little sweetener, and maybe just a drop or two of vanilla and 2-3 teaspoons of maple syrup per bottle.


EXTRA NOTES

I find that after a few ferment cycles a sweet spot about 20-30% into the hearts cut seems to start appearing, where the flavour seems kinda just balanced right. I sometimes collect a single bottle of that and set it aside without any oak, for long term ageing just as plain whitedog rum. Different but also nice.

Also, after a few ferment cycles, I start getting these wonderful smells coming out of the still during the boil up phase (around vapour temps of maybe 40-50 C), before any real amount of distillate starts comes over. They smell better than anything that comes out during the main run, but they don't taste so good, so don't add them to your final product! Wish I could get the whole hearts to taste like that smell.

Rum is pretty raw and rough straight out of the still and it benefits a lot just from simple ageing. I leave mine for at least 2 months, and it is quite nice by then, but longer is better. The commercial stuff takes at least 2-3 years of ageing (by law in most countries I think), though their cuts are probably not as tight as ours (due to commercial pressures) and a lot of that time may just be to let the rougher cuts smooth out.


I used to do the 'rum oils' thing (see Arroyo & PugiRum below), but I don't anymore. To my taste most of the stuff you are after (for rum) is hidden in the dunder, which you are recycling. Not saying there is not plenty of good flavour in the rum oils, I just didn't notice a huge difference when they were added. Might be because I tried them early on in my rum making and they had not had time to build up enough flavour. But they do not get wasted as they get re-run in the feints run.


Two things I have not tried are:

1) Recycling all the feints (heads & tails) back into the next spirit run in the ferment cycle. As mentioned before, I just store them and when there is enough I do a separate spirit run with them.

2) Using various 'rum' bacteria to enhance the flavours. Either in the dunder with Propionibacterium thoenii and Clostridium propionicum, according to Maza-Gomez. Or in the ferment itself with Clostridium saccharobutyricum, according to Arroyo.


MORE INFORMATION ON RUM

'Rum Aroma Descriptive Analysis', by Sabina Maza-Gomez
http://etd.lsu.edu/docs/available/etd-1 ... thesis.pdf

'The Alcohol Textbook', chapters 6 & 16 (scroll down).
http://distillers.tastylime.net/library ... 20Listings

'Production of Heavy Rum', by Rafael Arroyo (scroll down).
http://distillers.tastylime.net/library ... 20Listings

Studies on Rum – Rafael Arroyo (1945)

Harry's Great-Great-Grandad's Rum
viewtopic.php?f=14&t=4468

PugiRum
viewtopic.php?f=14&t=5994

Blackstrap v. Fancy Molasses Showdown
viewtopic.php?f=11&t=6975

There is a whole bunch more of rum related stuff in the Recipe Development section.
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Re: Hook Rum

Postby blind drunk » Sat Nov 14, 2009 9:56 pm

Very nice Hook, thank you. Clears up alot of questions I have floating around in my head. Cheers, bd.
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Re: Hook Rum

Postby rubber duck » Sun Nov 15, 2009 11:05 am

Wow well that was a informitive wright up. I think ill have to try this one when I get back home.

When you say raw sugar are you talking about unrefined sugar?
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Re: Hook Rum

Postby HookLine » Sun Nov 15, 2009 3:52 pm

Thanks.

Raw sugar.

I use the cheap no name brands, but otherwise it is the same.
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Re: Hook Rum

Postby LWTCS » Sun Nov 15, 2009 4:37 pm

Great way to consolidate a lot of potential searching.
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Re: Hook Rum

Postby HookLine » Sun Nov 15, 2009 5:39 pm

Indeed, that is one of the reasons I did it.
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Re: Hook Rum

Postby blanikdog » Sun Nov 15, 2009 5:47 pm

That is almost exactly the same as I do Hook. I haven't used Calcium Carbonate, but there's always next time. Finished fifty litre wash just yesterday. A good tip about adding neutral to Dunder too. Thanks.

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Re: Hook Rum

Postby HookLine » Sun Nov 15, 2009 8:34 pm

blanikdog wrote:That is almost exactly the same as I do Hook. I haven't used Calcium Carbonate, but there's always next time.

If your water is already fairly alkaline ('hard'), then you may not need it, or at least not as much. If you want to add calcium without raising the pH then use gypsum instead (calcium sulphate). Though black strap molasses has a fair bit of calcium to start with. The only nutrient it is really missing is nitrogen.

blanikdog wrote:A good tip about adding neutral to Dunder too.

Came out of desperation. I have not got a freezer big enough, but had to stop the rum cycle for a while, and really wanted to hang onto the dunder. I recalled The Chemist suggesting to add a litre of neutral to a finished wash to keep it good if you were not able to run it for a few months (after racking it off from the yeast, of course). So it was only a tiny step from there.
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Re: Hook Rum

Postby Fester » Mon Nov 23, 2009 3:55 pm

Thanks HookLine, that's a definate addition to my recipe book. A very clear "How To".
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Re: Hook Rum

Postby HookLine » Wed Dec 02, 2009 5:55 pm

Just run another one of these ferments, and it is almost completely done after just 48 hours, fastest one yet.
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Re: Hook Rum

Postby CoOkEd » Wed Jan 06, 2010 3:13 pm

HookLine wrote:...It is well worth keeping dunder in the freezer, or adding a bunch of neutral to it, to keep it unspoiled when you are not in a rum cycle...


I can't make a new batch for a while and plan on adding my rum feints to the dunder as a preserver as I don't have any neutral yet. What final %ABV should the dunder mix end up being to keep the bugs in check? My rum feints are only about 20 %ABV.

When I am then ready to start a new batch I will then have to run the dunder mix through the still to strip out the added neutral/feints so that it doesn't kill the yeast when added back in the new wash, correct?
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Re: Hook Rum

Postby HookLine » Thu Jan 07, 2010 1:26 am

CoOkEd wrote:
HookLine wrote:...It is well worth keeping dunder in the freezer, or adding a bunch of neutral to it, to keep it unspoiled when you are not in a rum cycle...


I can't make a new batch for a while and plan on adding my rum feints to the dunder as a preserver as I don't have any neutral yet. What final %ABV should the dunder mix end up being to keep the bugs in check? My rum feints are only about 20 %ABV.

You would want the final mix to be at least 15%, preferably higher. Might have to find some cheap vodka.

When I am then ready to start a new batch I will then have to run the dunder mix through the still to strip out the added neutral/feints so that it doesn't kill the yeast when added back in the new wash, correct?

Correct. When you strip the neutral/feints back out they carry a fair bit of the dunder flavour with them. So definitely save them for the next spirit run of your rum.
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Re: Hook Rum

Postby Ayay » Thu Jan 07, 2010 2:22 am

Thanks Hookline for a thorough rumdown!

I tried Pugirum and it worked fine except I failed in the pot-stilling; it came out good in the reflux.

Recently I tried UJSSM dunder/molasses/Rad's All-bran (mishmash2) and it worked very well giving a strong molasses flavour through my reflux.

Your treaste above is reason enough for me to save it on my 'puter, read it again carefully, get another tub of molasses and fire up in pot mode once more.
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Re: Hook Rum

Postby plonker » Thu Jan 07, 2010 5:39 am

Maybe try a thumper if you can. Makes doing rums a lot easier.

I add fancy molasses in the thumper to make a navy style rum...
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Re: Hook Rum

Postby kiwistiller » Sat Jan 16, 2010 5:10 pm

This is one of the best posts on rum around. I'd like to nominate it for tried and true.
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Re: Hook Rum

Postby rubber duck » Sat Jan 16, 2010 6:44 pm

This is a informative, well written post, and it's a good solid recipe. A bit long winded, but if you're looking to learn something about rum this post is it.

I second the nomination.
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Re: Hook Rum

Postby HookLine » Thu Feb 18, 2010 4:04 am

Thanks for the vote of confidence.

I have made a few minor edits to the original post, if members wish to update their copy.
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Re: Hook Rum

Postby HookLine » Thu Feb 18, 2010 9:36 pm

I triple stilled a batch of this rum in December (my first triple stilled spirit), and just tried it for the first time today after oaking and ageing for 2 months. As you would expect, the taste is a lot lighter and more refined. Very nice. But I wouldn't say it is 'better' than my standard double stilled stuff, just different.

Obviously it takes more time and effort and heating energy to triple still. So I will probably only do it every so often, just for something different.
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Re: Hook Rum

Postby jimmy.23 » Sat Feb 20, 2010 10:44 pm

Cheers HookLine for the extra info.Will give the clarify thing a go for sure.
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Re: Hook Rum

Postby bencornish » Mon Mar 01, 2010 9:33 pm

Hi All,

I’m a massive Vodka fan and white blended spirits fan  - however a good mate has been hassling the crap out of me to do Rum or more to the point a Aussie Bundaberg Rum... being intrigued about the process and achieving it also enlightens me. And who knows i might be a Rum drinker after all this ...

Anyhow I just put down Pugi’s Rum Recipe. I just put a batch down to start this process and plan on doing it for a few weeks to get the Dunder rotation going and carrying the flavours. However I was curious on a few points and hoping on some direction:

In Pugi’s recipe, he throws the hearts into the neutral container and i presume uses elsewhere...and then he uses the 50% to 40% ABV as the Rum itself.
And for the 40 to 20 to use as Rum Oils.. i get that Concept, yet in Hook’s Rum Recipe he uses 60 to 55 and doesn’t use the Oils concept.. Seems vastly different to me.. or am i reading this all wrong ?
Is this all based around your personal taste of Rum or around your Still or the recipe you went with ?

Also do you use the BiCarb principle with the low wines before Spirit run ?

Also im going to attempt to do a Rum through a CM style Column(900mill high x 2”wide) (The one with 2Pipes through the top and 1 through the bottom)
I intend on removing the packing and no water flow through the top or bottom, and only use the condenser..
is this the best path to follow ? any pointers...

Sorry for the numpty questions
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Re: Hook Rum

Postby HookLine » Mon Mar 01, 2010 9:45 pm

In Pugi’s recipe, he throws the hearts into the neutral container and i presume uses elsewhere...and then he uses the 50% to 40% ABV as the Rum itself.
And for the 40 to 20 to use as Rum Oils.. i get that Concept, yet in Hook’s Rum Recipe he uses 60 to 55 and doesn’t use the Oils concept.. Seems vastly different to me.. or am i reading this all wrong ?

Yes, you are reading it mostly wrong. I suggest you read both posts again.

Personal preference plays a big part in hobby stilling, that is one of it's great benefits, we can experiment and make our spirits just how we want.
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Re: Hook Rum

Postby scarecrow » Tue Mar 02, 2010 12:27 am

Like Hook said, it's personal preference.
It took me about 12 batches of rum to finally come up with something that I like. You will have to find that "sweet spot" and no-one can tell you where it is.

Strangely enough, Hook does his rum almost identically to mine. :D

Trial and error is what this hobby is all about.

But once you get that recipe right............. :D :D :D :D

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Re: Hook Rum

Postby jimmy.23 » Sat May 01, 2010 10:32 pm

Just a Quick update... Been clarifying my Molasses with this recipe and let sit overnight , as well as doing the same with the Dunder. Seems to be a cleaner and better Rum.Im about 8 batches into this recipe and was wondering Hook... how many times you recycle your dunder for complexity.Aso Ive been ageing on Medium Toasted oak spirals and was wanting to know and try to char the spirals.
Anyone have any thoughts on this?

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Re: Hook Rum

Postby LWTCS » Sun May 02, 2010 5:45 am

I'm not using a spiral as such. But I do like an aligator char on a 3/8 x 3/8 x 6" stick per liter (or so).
I have been real happy with the results.
But I am also alternating the use of chared dried dates and apricotts and so forth within the same batches.
And used a liberal pinch of black tea on my last batch.

So my color has been a bit deeper with these last bottles. Smells fantastic. Can't comment on taste yet.
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Re: Hook Rum

Postby beelah » Sun May 02, 2010 7:00 am

Hook, I have a question about perservatives in Blakstrap molasas. I found some that is sulfured so it has sulfites in it. Is this ok to use or not?

I can get 5kg for $15 Canadian, and that seems like a good price to me if it is usable for making rum.
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Re: Hook Rum

Postby LWTCS » Sun May 02, 2010 7:12 am

Can slow and/or stall your ferment.
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Re: Hook Rum

Postby jimmy.23 » Sun May 02, 2010 12:20 pm

Thanks, How far do I char. Im using half a Barrel Mill Oak infusion Spiral would that be sufficient for 5L
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Re: Hook Rum

Postby kiwistiller » Sun May 02, 2010 1:25 pm

I'd avoid the sulphered stuff like the plauge. it can give off tastes as well, especially if there isn't much copper in your still.
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Re: Hook Rum

Postby beelah » Sun May 02, 2010 5:46 pm

Thanks LTWCS and Kiwistiller, I will do as you two advise and not use that stuff, but it sure waa a great price.

There is a company here on the west coast that refines sugar, but I think mainly out of beets, but there could be some cane sugar/juice that is processed out here.

I should cheeck and see if I can get some raw or less processed stuff and see if it is cheaper to run that in a wash.

I will let you all know what I can get
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Re: Hook Rum

Postby HookLine » Sun May 02, 2010 7:37 pm

jimmy.23 wrote:Just a Quick update... Been clarifying my molasses with this recipe and let sit as well as the Dunder over night and seems to be a cleaner and better Rum.

8)

jimmy.23 wrote:Hook I was wondering how many times you recycle your dunder for complexity.

Continuously. Been recycling dunder from the start.

jimmy.23 wrote:Ive been ageing on Medium Toaster oak spirals and was wanting to know and try to char the spirals.

Just hit them with a torch (propane or MAPP) until they start smoldering and looking charred, then quench them in plain water. I'd char some deeper than others, get a mix.

And I would avoid sulphured molasses (or molasses with any kind of preservatives in it, like propionic acid). If the ferment is finishing okay, and does not have a sulphur smell, it should be fine.
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