I am no expert, and most of what I have learned was from this site and the wealth of first hand knowledge that comes from experience... I thank the members of this site who have freely given of their time to share. So perhaps I can give back a little of my own... I have it on very good authority, a retired rum blender from the Appleton Estate in Jamaica, that the role of properly aged dunder in creating a full rum profile is second to none. Dunder goes through several stages before being ready, each stage does something different for the flavor. It is possible to control, or limit the stages to exact a more consistent and controlled flavor profile. Dunder, if left undisturbed for at least 6-8 months, depending on climate, will go through all the stages. First stage, initial infection... a white mold starts in multiple little colonies, eventually spreading to cover the entire surface... the mold eventually begins to turn blue, like in blue cheese... this mould eventually starts to sink... The Dunder is now left with a spicy heavy molasses smell, quite pleasant... this first bacteria has fed mostly on any traces of dead yeast as well as the unfermentable solids from the molasses... after this stage, the dunder could well be used in the boiler with first run spirits... a second bacterial infection starts to form, a brownish mushroom color, a bit musty in initial aroma... this bacteria supposedly feeds of the first bacteria as well as any remaining solids... this will eventually die and settle once there is nothing left to feed on, it now smells richly carmel, butter-pecan and banana... to maintain the dunder pit, fresh dunder must be added following the first or near the end of the second infection... if allowed to go to total completion, the flavor profile is exceptional IMHO and closely replicates the rich flavor of Jamaican rum... So, to perfect and standardize the flavor profile using aged dunder, it is imperative to maintain at least two pits, one in which fresh dunder gets added as available, another in which the dunder is allowed to go to completion. Myself personally, I have an issue with putting anything in my mouth that looked so disgusting at any time... so to assure total destruction of the bacterial cultures and save my priceless aged dunder... in the freezer it goes, for at least a week... then I defrost and store in glass gallons to be used when required.
I make a cheap wash 50% white sugar, inverted... 50% Molasses by fermentable weight (fermentable sugar weight is 60% using fancy)
I usually mash in one large starchy converted potato or two medium (prepared same way as when I make vodka) this gives a rich velvety mouth on the spirit that can not be duplicated with any grains or fruit... it is something unique and special about potatoes.
When ready, I do a strip run... what is left in the boiler, then goes 50 % into my dunder pit, 50% to start my next wash.
I air the spirit then store in glass for a few weeks, until I am ready to spend a day doing a final spirit run... nice and slow through a copper pot still.
After seperating the fractions, I blend, then air twice a day for 15 minutes with air stone for 5 days... then leave to age on alligator charred wood. I use two parts oak, one part sugar maple. I do not put any fruits or any other added herbs or spices at this point... only when finalizing do I concider adding a hint of extracts, home made of course... such as raisin, pepercorns, vanilla, etc...
Last edited by Liquid_Luv
on Sat Oct 16, 2010 9:52 am, edited 1 time in total.
Does it really matter where it comes from or only that it is; knowing what to do with it is the only thing that matters. Too many folks tend to lose track of what is important. Does it work or not? Now there's an intelligent question. Words to live by...