Maple Syrup Rum

Anything to do with rum

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Maple Syrup Rum

Post by RandyMarshCT » Fri Oct 18, 2013 12:31 pm

I've been working on a Maple Syrup Rum recipe for about a year now. I couldn't really find any information on a distillate that used maple syrup as the primary fermentable, so I did 2 experimental batches and I feel I have honed a relatively simple recipe in for my equipment setup. I'm going to be setting up to do a bigger run on this recipe before Christmas this year and I was hoping to get some feedback, suggestions, or ideas from anyone who might offer. The following is my recipe and general process. It isn't super accurate because I'm getting lazy and don't record all of my information like I used to. If I've left anything out or anyone has any questions, I'd be happy to answer. Just as a heads up, this is probably one of the most expensive sugar sources you could use for a wash. I have a contact in New Hampshire that generates large quantities so I get a pretty good deal, but to buy it normally would probably cost $50/gallon or more.


Maple Rum

2 gallons Maple Syrup (+1 cup for flavoring)
4 Packets of baker’s yeast
Go Ferm Pro & Fermaid K
3 pounds Brown Sugar
1 (14 oz) Jar Molasses
2 – 6 gallon fermenting buckets

Sanitize everything. Bring 3 gallons of water to a boil in a 10 gallon kettle. Remove from heat and add maple syrup, brown sugar, & molasses. Stir well. Add 1 gallon of cold water to each fermenting bucket (so the hot syrup mix doesn’t warp the plastic). Split the syrup mix between the 2 buckets. Top off to appx. 5.5 gallons with cold water (using a hydrometer, shoot for 1.075 to 1.080 Og). Make 2 starters to rehydrate the yeast packets (2 packets per starter) with wash as a base (make sure wash is around 85 degrees tops). Pitch yeast starters. Ferment 2 weeks minimum, adding nutrients per manufacturer’s directions. Clear by cold crashing or clearing agent. Rack into boiler.

Single run through 4-plate reflux column. Do not add parrot yet! I pulled 1 pint of foreshots/heads (I don’t discriminate because I threw it all away) slowly (less than 1 drip per 3 seconds – I don’t go over 10 amps on my 5500 watt element). Collect in quart jar until your nose and tongue tell you that you are hitting hearts. Put column back into full reflux to stop flow. Add parrot. Ease back in and run a pencil lead stream, collecting in quart jars. When your proof starts to drop (with my CM column), switch to a new jar and continue collecting to 50% abv.

I got:
Jar 1 – Pint – heads/fores
Jar 2 – Quart – Heads (about ¾ full)
Jars 3-6 – Quarts – Hearts (average 92% abv)
Jar 7 – Tails (from 88% abv to 50% abv)

Proof to appx 60% abv and add to new 5 liter oak cask. Wait 1 month. Drain through a coffee filter into a glass carboy. Proof to 82-84 proof (41% to 42% abv). Add 1 cup of maple syrup for flavor. That’s it. Obviously you can add other seasonings, but I don’t. I love the stuff just like this. Baker’s yeast takes a little longer, but gives a buttery mouth-feel that’s great for this rum. I keep my feints (jars 2 & 7) for the next run. I haven’t messed with keeping any dunder for my future washes because these 2 runs were experimental and, to be honest, I didn’t even know if the maple syrup would ferment out properly… so I suppose this isn’t really a “legit” rum, but I like the results anyway. The reason I want to do a bigger run is to fill a used 20 liter whiskey barrel. That would be 2 separate runs with 4 buckets each in my 26 gallon boiler (8 gallons syrup). Thanks in advance for any input!
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Re: Maple Syrup Rum

Post by mmwhiskey » Sat Oct 19, 2013 3:16 pm

Coming from up state New York, in going to have to try this, this Christmas.
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Re: Maple Syrup Rum

Post by RandyMarshCT » Fri Nov 01, 2013 12:17 pm

I just wanted to give this thread a bump to see if there is anyone on HD who knows if there is a better yeast I could use than bakers yeast for this maple syrup base. I have 8 gallons of syrup coming in on Sunday and I was hoping to get some feedback from anyone who knows more than me in the yeast department before I set up these washes. I plan on documenting these runs with plenty of pictures just in case anyone is interested.
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Re: Maple Syrup Rum

Post by Prairiepiss » Fri Nov 01, 2013 1:38 pm

Can it really be called a maple syrup rum? Wouldn't maple syrup brandy or schnapps be a better name?
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Re: Maple Syrup Rum

Post by rad14701 » Fri Nov 01, 2013 3:54 pm

I'd call it Hail Mary... :shifty:

Just not getting the whole concept... Maple syrup is expensive... Maple sap is only 3% - 5% sugar so that wouldn't be a good option either... Not sure why anyone would use maple syrup, brown sugar, and molasses, and then add Go Ferm Pro & Fermaid K... Where's the kitchen sink...??? :think:

Syrup has nutrients... Brown Sugar has nutrients... Molasses has nutrients... Hence, no need for additional nutrients... But I'm still confused on the whole hodgepodge recipe, if you want to call it that... Which leads me to calling it Hail Mary... :eugeek:

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Re: Maple Syrup Rum

Post by LWTCS » Fri Nov 01, 2013 4:03 pm

I would call it Steve,,,,,,or maple likker.
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Re: Maple Syrup Rum

Post by Prairiepiss » Fri Nov 01, 2013 4:14 pm

Steve. :lol:
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Re: Maple Syrup Rum

Post by RandyMarshCT » Mon Nov 04, 2013 5:56 am

Ok, I suppose it couldn't be called rum. I've been calling it rum because I took my rum recipe and subbed in maple syrup to see what would happen. Then I added the yeast nutrients, molasses, and brown sugar because I couldn't find any information anywhere concerning yeast nutrient content in maple syrup. I know molasses has yeast nutrients because I don't use any other nutrients when I make regular rum. I searched for hours on several different forums and there is very little information on fermenting maple syrup. So I imagine I could leave the fermaid K and Go Ferm protect out, then? I have these nutrients for mead making, so I try to err on the side of caution when I go into a new recipe.

The reason I want to make this spirit isn't because I think maple syrup is a good cheap source of sugar (as I mentioned in the original post), it's because I like maple syrup, I have an inexpensive source for it, and I think (so far) it makes a very nice spirit. Are all of the recipes on this forum formulated specifically to be dirt-cheap and scalable to commercial runs? I didn't think that was the point of this forum, I though it was a place for people to share information and develop home recipes they like... asking for help from others who know a great deal more, and offering help to those that know less. I appreciate the constructive criticism and look forward to more. So, Maple brandy it is.

Now that we've determined what it should be called, does anyone actually have any advice on the yeast?
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Re: Maple Syrup Rum

Post by Fastill » Mon Nov 04, 2013 5:57 pm

I use Red Star Montrachet for mead. Honey ferments work well with any good champagne yeast.
Treat maple syrup like honey.
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Re: Maple Syrup Rum

Post by steve2md » Mon Nov 04, 2013 6:07 pm

I agree! Call it Steve! That's a brilliant name!!!!
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Re: Maple Syrup Rum

Post by tropik » Sat Nov 09, 2013 8:08 pm

How inexpensive is inexpensive?

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Re: Maple Syrup Rum

Post by Fastill » Sun Nov 10, 2013 5:58 am

tropik wrote:How inexpensive is inexpensive?
If you tap your own trees it isn't that expensive at all. :lol:
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Re: Maple Syrup Rum

Post by RandyMarshCT » Mon Nov 11, 2013 5:00 am

tropik wrote:How inexpensive is inexpensive?
I get it for $30 a gallon, from a close family friend. It's still exponentially more expensive than most sugar sources, but the fact that I've never seen any other recipe that uses maple syrup for the base sugar (just flavoring) makes me want to make it. The first two runs I did produced a very nice spirit, or I never would have scaled the recipe up this big.


Actually, my bourbon grains to produce equal amounts of spirit (filling a 20 L barrel @ oaking proof) cost nearly as much (appx $200).
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Re: Maple Syrup Rum

Post by steve2md » Mon Nov 11, 2013 9:47 pm

Still haven't named it "Steve" yet I see......:( DO IT!!!!!! lol
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Re: Maple Syrup Rum

Post by BoisBlancBoy » Mon Mar 03, 2014 6:28 am

I just wanted to add about he sugar content of maple sap. Rad had said its between 3-5% which really inst correct. It is generally 1-2.5% and rarely hitting 3% in the very beginning of the season. My family has been making maple syrup commercially for 20 years.

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Re: Maple Syrup Rum

Post by Odin » Sat Jun 21, 2014 7:34 am

I have been the fortunate guy that actually got to taste Randy's Maple Syrup Rum. Now, I am not a rum man. Not in making them, anyhow. Neither do I have insight in the name giving rules that apply in the USA. But I do have some experience in drinking rum. And, tasting Randy's Maple Syrup Rum, I can say two things about it. First, it does taste like rum. Second, whether it be rum legally or not, it is the best drop of rum I ever tasted. Tasty, intense, complex, no burns whatsoever. Unfortunately, I only have one very small 60 mls bottle left and I hope to convince Randy to ship me some more. Awesome drink. So good, I adviced Randy to take it legal. Under what name, I don't know, but if "rum" is not allowed, how about Maple Brandy?

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Re: Maple Syrup Rum

Post by MDH » Sat Jun 21, 2014 9:52 am

I personally think you would get a lot more flavor if you distilled it from fresh sap than reduced syrup. A lot of natural volatile compounds disappear.
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Re: Maple Syrup Rum

Post by RandyMarshCT » Tue Jun 24, 2014 11:26 am

Thank you so much, Odin! There will be more very soon. I have 5 gallons coming out of the cask within the next 2 weeks. We're putting a candied-bacon maple stout in that cask next. That will be ready just before thanksgiving (mid-November). After that I'll have to shave and re-char that barrel. It had my last big batch of UJSSM in it before the maple spirit, so the beer will be a 3rd run.

If anyone else would like to try it, PM me. It will be a few weeks, but there's plenty to go around. :thumbup:
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Re: Maple Syrup Rum

Post by W Pappy » Wed Jun 25, 2014 7:14 pm

Sounds like a good drop to start Christmas morn off with. :think:
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Re: Maple Syrup Rum

Post by Drunken Unicorn » Tue Jul 29, 2014 11:43 am

Randy,

Every time I go to the Restaurant supply and see the gallon jugs of syrup, I think about making Steve. Steve sounds like an interesting drink. What kind of molasses are you using? Does that flavor come through at all?

Great Lakes Distilling makes a rum in which they dump Maple Syrup in the boiler during the spirit run. They age the rum 6 months. Very nice drink.

Good job on trying to make something new. There is a ton of information on making whiskey, but a lot of the other stuff, you have to experiment.

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Re: Maple Syrup Rum

Post by RandyMarshCT » Wed Aug 06, 2014 10:37 am

I use regular "Grandma's Molasses" from the grocery store, and I do not detect any flavor from it in the finished spirit. The method that Great Lakes uses probably makes a fantastic drop with a more traditional rum flavor. I was given that same advice from another highly-respected member on another forum and I fully intend to try it out. I took this batch out of the cask on July 20th. Now it's aging in a carboy with soft maple. It should be done in 2 to 3 weeks. The maple adds a really nice touch. I used these for the maple: http://www.hillbillystills.com/Black_Sw ... /mtohm.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" rel="nofollow

I'm having a very hard time keeping my hands off of this stuff. I tried it for the first time since adding the maple wood last night. It's so damn good! I just wish I started with 9 gallons of syrup instead of 8. I was really pushing it to fill the 20 liter barrel (wanted to oak at 60% abv, ended up at 57% to fill it) and I should have been a tiny bit more conservative with the heads cut. The maple seems to be fixing that mistake nicely.
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Re: Maple Syrup Rum

Post by Drunken Unicorn » Wed Aug 06, 2014 5:15 pm

Randy...you are making my mouth water.
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Re: Maple Syrup Rum

Post by dan_buddy » Wed Aug 27, 2014 8:25 am

Say I tapped a tree and added some sugar to 5 gallons of sap ...
Heard people say that methanol comes from fermenting wood or somthing
- you wouldn't get extra methanol by any chance ?
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Re: Maple Syrup Rum

Post by RandyMarshCT » Thu Aug 28, 2014 11:26 am

I don't believe so, but you wouldn't get much sugar from the sap either. Also, once distilled, you probably wouldn't retain much of the maple flavor. I don't get any more heads/fores in this spirit than I do with my AG bourbon recipe. Neither compares to the amount I get when I make apple brandy, which is the product I make with the most heads yielded.

I've used maple sap to make beer (stout) before, replacing all of the water in the recipe with sap. I had to add a bit of syrup at the end just to have a maple flavor present.
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Re: Maple Syrup Rum

Post by MichiganCornhusker » Thu Aug 28, 2014 12:58 pm

I have a friend who did something similar this year. He tapped a bunch of trees, collected a bunch of sap(?), and just boiled it down to the SG he wanted. No need to take it all the way to syrup if you're just going to dilute again.
Tapped his own trees and use firewood to boil it down, so no great expenses for him other than his time spent drinking a beer or two watching the stuff boil down. I haven't tried it yet, but he really likes it. Sounds tasty to me. :thumbup:
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Re: Maple Syrup Rum

Post by NZChris » Thu Aug 28, 2014 1:07 pm

MichiganCornhusker wrote:I have a friend who did something similar this year. He tapped a bunch of trees, collected a bunch of sap(?), and just boiled it down to the SG he wanted. No need to take it all the way to syrup if you're just going to dilute again.
Tapped his own trees and use firewood to boil it down, so no great expenses for him other than his time spent drinking a beer or two watching the stuff boil down. I haven't tried it yet, but he really likes it. Sounds tasty to me. :thumbup:
That's what I'm planning to do with birch sap if my first try at tapping is successful.

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Re: Maple Syrup Rum

Post by WhiteDevil504 » Thu Aug 28, 2014 1:46 pm

Hey randy not sure how I missed this thread. I have quite a few large maple trees on the property and this sounds like a fantastic spring project, not sure if I'll get enough from them but I can always supplement. Thanks for the write-up!

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Re: Maple Syrup Rum

Post by MichiganCornhusker » Thu Aug 28, 2014 1:58 pm

RandyMarshCT wrote:Proof to appx 60% abv and add to new 5 liter oak cask.
Randy, when you age this is your oak cask toasted? charred? Wondering how this would come out run through a pot still... This might drive me nuts now until next spring.
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Re: Maple Syrup Rum

Post by dan_buddy » Thu Aug 28, 2014 6:26 pm

NZChris wrote:
MichiganCornhusker wrote:I have a friend who did something similar this year. He tapped a bunch of trees, collected a bunch of sap(?), and just boiled it down to the SG he wanted. No need to take it all the way to syrup if you're just going to dilute again.
Tapped his own trees and use firewood to boil it down, so no great expenses for him other than his time spent drinking a beer or two watching the stuff boil down. I haven't tried it yet, but he really likes it. Sounds tasty to me. :thumbup:
That's what I'm planning to do with birch sap if my first try at tapping is successful.


This sounds like a great idea ..
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Re: Maple Syrup Rum

Post by RandyMarshCT » Tue Sep 02, 2014 7:47 am

MichiganCornhusker wrote:
RandyMarshCT wrote:Proof to appx 60% abv and add to new 5 liter oak cask.
Randy, when you age this is your oak cask toasted? charred? Wondering how this would come out run through a pot still... This might drive me nuts now until next spring.
MC, I age it in a new medium char barrel.
This is the exact barrel from the company I bought it from:
http://1000oaksbarrel.com/index.php/oak ... 815-detail" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" rel="nofollow


After 7 months in the barrel (for the 5 gallon batch), I take it out and put it on soft maple for 5 weeks in a glass carboy.

This is the honeycomb "barrel alternative" soft maple I used:
http://www.blackswanbarrels.com/honey-c ... ternative/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" rel="nofollow


I just took it off the soft maple last night and added 1% by volume syrup to the 42% abv proofed spirit. I only did this with 1 gallon (37 ml syrup) of spirit so far to determine whether 1% was enough or too much.

If I was doing it in a pot still, I would do 2 runs. I'm sure you could make a very nice spirit in 1 run, but you'd have to run very slow. I'm too impatient. Give it a whirl!
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