Blackstrap vs Fancy Molasses showdown

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Re: Blackstrap vs Fancy Molasses showdown

Postby Husker » Thu May 22, 2008 9:26 am

Dnderhead wrote:Question , I'm not much into rum but would it help to add glucoamylase to blackstrap molasses ?


Doesn't gluco break down complex sugars? If so, then I bet it might help increase production in BS fermentations (but I have no first hand experience).

I usually simply take X kg of blackstrap, and add .5X kg of refined cane sugar (inverted). If using the gluco could change the fermentables from 40% to 50%, then you would only have to add .2X kg inverted sugar per kg of molasses to end up with the same resultant 60% fermentables. If the gluco could actually make this much difference (it might??), AND the cost to do this is cheaper than the savings of .3 kg of sugar per kg of molasses, then it could be cost effective.

However, if this was cost effective, then I think the sugar industry would have been doing this and getting a 4th (or 5th) sugar collection out of the molasses. However, since it is not used (AFAIK), I bet the benefit simply is not all that great.

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Re: Blackstrap vs Fancy Molasses showdown

Postby Dnderhead » Thu May 22, 2008 2:26 pm

GA-100 is a Glucoamylase enzyme produced by controlled fermentation of a non-GMO strain of Rhizopus; (much stronger action than glucoamylase produced by Aspergillus Niger) this enzyme is food-grade, Kosher-certified, Non-synthetic and can be used to produce certified-organic beverages. GA-100, an exo-alpha-amylase, hydrolyses 1.4 alpha-glucosidic bonds of liquefied starch. The prolonged action of GA-100 produces large amounts of glucose. This means that this process converts all the long chain sugars produced by BA-100 into short chain sugars that the yeast will love.

BA-100 and GA-100 enzymes are the exact same enzymes used by both the beverage alcohol and fuel alcohol industries. These are very concentrated and just 1/10 pound of each of these enzymes will break down 100 pounds of grain or starch into fermentable glucose.
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Re: Blackstrap vs Fancy Molasses showdown

Postby GingerBreadMan » Thu May 22, 2008 5:39 pm

Finished the cuts on the fancy molasses. Ended up with about 1L of distillate @ 65%ABV - I should note here that with both the blackstrap and the fancy rum after the cuts the ABV was slightly higher then 65%, but I dilluted it with distilled water down to 65% (cask strength) for oaking.

I put 850ml of the fancy rum in a mason jar, used just medium toast oak chips. The remaining 150ml I dilluted to 40%ABV and I'm enjoying it right now with a bit of coke. :)

So, after fermenting, double distilling, making the cuts then oaking I'm left with this -

Image

The two contenders. I'll age these two guys for about 30 days. I'm not sure how long I'll keep them on oak during the 30 days, I'll taste test regularly. The blackstrap rum already has a nice golden color - I'm surprised it colored up so quickly. The fancy molasses is just oaked in this picture - I expect it will color up nicely in a couple days too.

Next step in 30 days (June 22 or about) is the blind taste time. Homemade vs Appleton :D

Feints

I would like to talk a little bit about feints - the heads and tails from the spirit run that didn't make the cut. (I discarded the blackstrap feints but kept all the feints from the fancy molasses rum - because I plan on continuing my exploration of fancy molasses rum only - I'll be starting up a new wash tomorrow).

I didn't add any feints on either of these runs for this test - this is a single run.

However, normally I add these feints to my spirit run. How much I add is totally a whim - afterall I'm the chef and I just add as much as I feel is needed. Because the feints are made from heads and tails and I only collect tails down to 40%ABV, my feints ABV is about 60%ABV. So it's not like it's the 'bottom of the barrel' collection. These feints actually have quite a nice molasses smell to them.

I've experimented with backsetting and adding feints. I've leaned towards using only feints to start a 'generation' of rum and just forgetting about backsetting. By re-using the feints over and over again I'm finding that rums are developing quite the nice flavor and smell. This stronger flavor could be a substitute for blending with blackstrap rum to get a stronger rum (heavy rum???) from the fancy molasses wash.

I'm still working on the technique, but I thought I would mention it, in case there is some input from fellow rummies on what they do with their feints.
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Re: Blackstrap vs Fancy Molasses showdown

Postby blanikdog » Thu May 22, 2008 8:38 pm

I always save the feints for use in the next distillation, so I don't really know what it's like with out feints.

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Re: Blackstrap vs Fancy Molasses showdown

Postby PUGIDOGS » Thu May 22, 2008 8:50 pm

viewtopic.php?f=11&t=5994

Take a look here. This is how I run mine. All heads goto nuetral container. They are not reused. All cardboard smelling/tasting tails go there as well. After the carboard save everything down to 20%, and rerun and save it in every spirit run. This is where you will get the distinctive rum taste from.....Pugi
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Re: Blackstrap vs Fancy Molasses showdown

Postby vuduchyld » Fri May 23, 2008 3:30 pm

Wow. GBM, I nominate this for the all-time, all-internet-message-board hall of fame!

Great, great thread.

Excellent input from a lot of others, as well. Thanks, especially, to Husker. (I'm your neighbor down here in Kansas, by the way.)
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Re: Blackstrap vs Fancy Molasses showdown

Postby vuduchyld » Fri May 23, 2008 3:40 pm

By the way, what kind of still are you using?
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Re: Blackstrap vs Fancy Molasses showdown

Postby ublong » Sun May 25, 2008 1:31 am

G'day GBM
I have just read through your experiment and as a rum maker using BS and brown sugar (I use BS as it is only $20.00 per 20 LT drum in OZ) I have got to compliment you on your excellent posting, I have enjoyed reading it. Good on u mate keep up the good work.
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Re: Blackstrap vs Fancy Molasses showdown

Postby GingerBreadMan » Sun May 25, 2008 6:29 am

Here is the still I use -

viewtopic.php?f=17&t=6900

It's a combination pot/column still. When I make rum - for stripping runs I run it without packing as fast as I can. For the spirit runs I put packing in the column and run it slow and I don't use any forced reflux from the top condenser.
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Re: Blackstrap vs Fancy Molasses showdown

Postby GingerBreadMan » Thu May 29, 2008 7:37 pm

A quick update. The rum has been aging for about a week. The blackstrap is quite strong, but has started to mellow out - the miracle of aging on oak. I actually think it's going to turn out pretty good. Definitely will benefit from aging.

The fancy molasses is starting to pick up some of the oak flavors. I might put some heavy toasted oak in it. It's not as dark colored as the blackstrap with only the medium toasted oak chips in it.

Bought a bottle of Appleton Estate Reserve. For testing (and drinking purposes). Very nice and smooth - what I can I say these are pros making it. If the competition were today I think the Appleton would win. But there is a good 3 weeks of aging left in my rum before I put it to the test.

Target date for the taste test is still June 20 ish. Will post a specific date when I know it.
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Re: Blackstrap vs Fancy Molasses showdown

Postby GingerBreadMan » Mon Jun 09, 2008 6:00 pm

Quick update.

I took the black strap rum off of oak after about a week. I was concerned it was going to develop the wrong flavors with the heavy toasted oak chips in it. I let it sit for about a week unoaked and then put some medium toasted oak chips in it. So it's been on medium toasted oak chips now for 4 days. So to recap the black strap mollasses rum oaking

7 days - half and half heavy and medium toasted oak chips
10 days - no oak
4 days - medium oak

I've been shaking these guys almost daily (sometimes twice a day or more).

Here's the report: My wife almost barfed when she smelled the blackstrap molasses rum in the making. She almost laid down the law that I'm not allowed to use this kind of molasses evah! Tonight I opened the rum and invited her to smell it. She thinks it smells wonderful. Took a small sample and dilluted it down to 20%ABV for a taste test. She thinks it tastes wonderful. First impressions are it tastes like a nice spiced rum - couldn't quite identify the spices but left a wonderful after taste in the mouth.

I'm going to leave this on medium oak for a bit more. I believe the medium oak is the way to go on extended aging.

--------------

The fancy molasses rum is just wonderful. I tasted it yesterday. It's been on medium oak all this time.

---------------

Poker party coming up soon, don't know if it will be ready (it would be under 30 days of aging), but I'm beginning to itch for the public taste testing. Must restrain and be patient.
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Re: Blackstrap vs Fancy Molasses showdown

Postby HookLine » Mon Jun 09, 2008 6:38 pm

So, is the story at this point that both types of molasses make great but different rums?
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Re: Blackstrap vs Fancy Molasses showdown

Postby GingerBreadMan » Mon Jun 09, 2008 6:45 pm

Yes, they are different rums.

My wife had some fancy molasses rum later. Different but equally delicious. She can't wait for the side by side comparison. Fancy molasses was less 'spicy' as she described but left a great taste as well. The blackstrap had a 'fuller' flavor. She couldn't decide which she liked better.

It's up in the air which one will 'better' when it comes to taste testing, side by side.
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Re: Blackstrap vs Fancy Molasses showdown

Postby MountedGoat » Tue Jun 10, 2008 2:10 pm

I am loving this story GBM, keep on posting. It makes me think about doing the same, though I haven't done rum yest. UJSM first and then work from there. Great post again and can't wait fo the taste test.
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Re: Blackstrap vs Fancy Molasses showdown

Postby wineo » Wed Jun 11, 2008 3:50 pm

Ive been following your post for a while GBM,and im getting ready to do some rum also.One thing I found is after a year in the bottle,it will improve greatly.I did some heavy blackstrap rum last year,and heavily oaked,and spiced it.I wasnt happy with it at the time of bottling,but after a year,its to die for.The aging really changes it.Im going to do a rum wash with lite brown sugar,demerea sugar,fancy molassus,and red star bakers yeast.IM going to do it about 1060-1070SG so it will ferment good,and have a little more flavor.I plan on doing single runs,and saving the rum oils only,and adding them to the next run to see what happens.{Thanks pugi}Im going to oak it heavy,and add some spices,and age it also.
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Re: Blackstrap vs Fancy Molasses showdown

Postby GingerBreadMan » Wed Jun 11, 2008 5:15 pm

I've been running nothing but fancy molasses (with tomato paste as the nutrients). I've been keeping both the heads and tails as feints. I've extended my tails down to 10%ABV hoping for these rum oils. With fancy molasses I find the taste I like is in the heads - right before the hearts, the last 20% ABV is doing nothing for me. If there is rum oils, I can't find them.

I did a stripping run the other night, tossed in 1 L of feints. When I hit the hearts I turned on the top condenser of my still. This put it in fractionating mode. Here's my still for a visual of what I'm talking about -

viewtopic.php?f=17&t=6900

I had one SS scruby in the column so I could control the output ABV. Collected at 150 proof, enough to make a bottle when dilluted would be 40%. This stuff is white dog magic! I've had a few tonight and it's absolutely delicious. Mixed with Coke or Ginger Ale this is the best unaged stuff I could imagine.

---------

I wish I could run this stuff all the time. My gut feeling is blackstrap has the flavor in the tails, fancy in the heads. Blackstrap does really well aged on oak. I think it does better then fancy on oak. I haven't tried it, but I think black strap would have the rum oils pugi is talking about.

Give me a couple of more years, and I'll know. :D

---------

My personal preference with fancy molasses is -

When running fancy molasses, run it straight without sugar. Mix it with feints and don't bother backsetting.
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Re: Blackstrap vs Fancy Molasses showdown

Postby wineo » Wed Jun 11, 2008 9:28 pm

You might be right about those rum oils.Im going to find out.Im not using tomato paste for neutrents.I just use acid and DAP,and alot of yeast and it ferments fine.I will probably run some blackstrap ferments,or even use both kinds in some future ferments to see if I can combine the best flavors of both grades of molassus.The quest continues....
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Re: Blackstrap vs Fancy Molasses showdown

Postby pintoshine » Thu Jun 12, 2008 5:34 am

The bottle you made from my blackstrap with the raisins was wonderful. I am still getting requests for that. You should share your process for using raisins to lend some sweetness.
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Re: Blackstrap vs Fancy Molasses showdown

Postby ModernDayShiner » Thu Jun 12, 2008 7:03 am

(I discarded the blackstrap feints but kept all the feints from the fancy molasses rum - because I plan on continuing my exploration of fancy molasses rum only - I'll be starting up a new wash tomorrow).

What were your reasons to continue with the fancy molasses rum only?
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Re: Blackstrap vs Fancy Molasses showdown

Postby wineo » Thu Jun 12, 2008 9:13 am

The bottle that pint refered to was his first run on his big still.It was an all blackstrap ferment,and had lots of flavor by its self,and had already been oaked quite heavily.You cant over oak the stuff and the oak will mellow some of the harsher blackstrap flavors when its young,and will mellow alot more with time in the bottle.All I did to it was put a 1/2 cup of dark raisins in a fancy rum bottle,fill it with his 80 proof rum,and drive a cork in it.I put it on the back of my shelf.in the dark,and left it there for about 6 months.At the end of 6 months,I filtered it through some coffee filters,removed the raisins,rinced out the bottle,and added the filtered rum back in the bottle.I topped it off with more of the same rum without the raisins,drove a cork in it,and put it back on the shelf for a few more months until pint came to visit,and we opened it.
He took it home,along with quite a few bottles of other samples.This was his virgin run on the big still,so I thought it was a fitting gift.
Im going to be playing around with rum development in the next few months,and trying some different things to see what I can come up with.Good or bad,I will share it with the forum members.
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Re: Blackstrap vs Fancy Molasses showdown

Postby muckanic » Thu Jun 12, 2008 7:02 pm

The rum oils could be coming from the ferment as much as from the ingredients. In which case, steps need to be taken to ensure production of higher alcohols, ie, small yeast starters (for once, I find myself actually agreeing with the notion of simply tossing a dry yeast packet in!), reasonably high gravity ferments, plenty of nutrients (possibly from old yeast), plenty of initial oxygenation, retain any unsaturated lipids in the ingredients by resisting the urge to syphon off the boiler deposit. The latter is a slightly contentious point as some commercial manufacturers do in fact clarify their molasses before the ferment, but I believe they do this to save cleaning more than for reasons of quality. Or maybe they are just trying to make lighter rum? Similarly, some of them don't like to ferment at higher than 7% ABV as ethanol production becomes less efficient (but which is sort of the point when chasing cogeners).

Another thought when chasing oils is that the primary ferment deposit probably should be run. And lastly, some higher molecular-weight esters probably don't go astray either. Having a good supply of higher alcohols is half the battle, but the process can be catalysed with a sour, bacterial ferment. Some of the steps taken to increase the alcohols actually work against ester formation, so there could be a bit of an art in getting the balance right.
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Re: Blackstrap vs Fancy Molasses showdown

Postby GingerBreadMan » Thu Jun 12, 2008 7:30 pm

"What were your reasons to continue with the fancy molasses rum only?"

Well, I believe it's the rum I'm going for taste wise. Everything I've read would indicate that a first molasses is what a rum maker like Appletons would use. There is a distiller in Belize - Traveler's One Barrel that uses high test molasses which is even a higher grade molasses. None of the rum makers I enjoy are using a third molasses like blackstrap - at least I don't think so.

I've just tasted the fancy rum again tonight and it's pretty close to what I'm looking for. I'll have to buy a bottle of Appleton's reserve to compare again. I drank my last bottle already. :D :D :D

Also, since I've just started experimenting with rum, I'm limited to persuing one angle at a time.

This thread has started some great conversions on the effects of different kinds of molasses and I hope others will be inspired to take a look at both and provide additional commentary about this primary ingredient.
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Re: Blackstrap vs Fancy Molasses showdown

Postby GingerBreadMan » Fri Jun 20, 2008 6:34 pm

Well, I took the rum off oak and bottled it. Here are the contenders bottled at 40% ABV

Image

Fancy on the left, blackstrap on the right.

The fancy molasses rum is quite comparable to Appleton. The Appleton is slightly more refined and has a better 'nose' to it. I guess when you compare your stuff to pros, you'll notice a bit of difference. Aging the fancy would definitely get it closer to Appletons.

The blackstrap is quite strong - has a definite molasses character you can't miss. It goes great with coke. Aged a bit longer and this rum would be a definite winner as well.

Total time from start of wash to this moment is approximately 7 weeks.

----------------

Now I have to find volunteers to taste test..... :D
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Re: Blackstrap vs Fancy Molasses showdown

Postby trthskr4 » Fri Jun 27, 2008 11:15 am

Picked up 2.5 gallons of blackstrap (82 brix) today, couldn't find fancy anywhere, and I have 15lbs. dark brown sugar. Don't know what to do with it but gonna wing a rum recipe after some homework. I figure $30 total for all that I can play a little. You've inspired me here GBM to try it. Thoroughly enjoyed it, thanks.
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Re: Blackstrap vs Fancy Molasses showdown

Postby potbelly » Fri Jun 27, 2008 6:46 pm

I'm a real fan of dark rum, Appleton is my favourite so I started one of these tonight. I used a 5kg jug of Fancy, epsom, DAP and citric acid per your recipe GBM but didn't add the tomato paste nor the vitamin. Topped up to 23L and threw in 113g of baker's yeast. Starting SG 1.066. Took off like a house on fire and blew most of the water out of my airlock! :D Blooping away steadily now. I hope I can come close to your results. Thanks for the recipe!
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Re: Blackstrap vs Fancy Molasses showdown

Postby GingerBreadMan » Sat Jun 28, 2008 8:38 am

@trthskr4 - definitely adding some brown sugar will make the output closer to using fancy molasses - which is molasses without the sugar removed. Don't know what ratio is good, winging it is best. I have no experience in blackstrap except for this experiment and blackstrap definitely is very bold and obnoxious right off the still and really benefitted from aging on oak.

@potbelly - good luck with your Appleton venture. My favorite Appleton rum is the Special reserve. The special reserve compare to this rum is better - but these are pros that are making it compared to me. :)

I think this single run (without feints from previous batches and limited aging on oak) came pretty darn close to Appleton Gold. The reserve is a blend of rums, some of them aged for 12 years. I'm convinced that fancy molasses as a starting point will get me there. My next learning steps is getting the knack of a combination of feints, backsetting and aging on oak (medium and heavy toast) to get the depth and smoothness of a special reserve rum.

I have 4L @ 65% aging on oak right now. From this experiment I found that about 3 weeks in it started to develop some nice character. Since I have 4 jugs I'm going to experiment with the 4 jugs and age each jug for different lengths to see what difference it makes (does it get closer and farther away from Appleton reserve the longer it's aged). I'll age one jug up to 8 weeks (possibly more) going beyond the recommended max 6 weeks for this type of oak product.

-------------------

There are just some many possibilities to explore using both types of molasses has given me an insight to the flavor profiles that can be made with molasses. Then there's aging on oak - medium or heavy toast - and how long it ages. Not to mention cuts and Pugi's rum oils. The pursuit of the perfect rum for me will be enjoyable and I'm really interested in other people's results with these two main types of molasses - which is the starting point.
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Re: Blackstrap vs Fancy Molasses showdown

Postby trthskr4 » Sat Jun 28, 2008 1:37 pm

Well, I stepped into it with both feet. All my fermenters were empty and didn't have time to do a grain mash this afternoon so I sat down with the forum and calculator and put together a test wash. First go at a rum. Here's what I did following your recipe GBM with Husker's recommendations with variances. I'm pretty positive it's gonna be crap, but...

7.5 gallon total volume ferment

11 lbs. or 1.5 gallons feed grade molasses
4.8 lbs. light brown sugar (thought it was dark until I pulled it out)
Kept everything else in the GBM recipe the same except I used 3 multivitamins and 6oz. tomato paste, for bigger wash.
Didn't have EC-1118 so I pitched distiller's yeast which I'm ok with so far.
topped up with filtered water to the 7.5 gallon mark checking SG the last gallon or so, I was shooting for 1.08 but ended up with 1.09. Not sure if my calculations were off or if scales were off or what, but didn't want to split into 2 seperate containers so I left it at the 1.09. Took about 15 minutes to start hitting the airlock, the rest is yet to be seen. I hope it's buttery, mmmmmm.
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Re: Blackstrap vs Fancy Molasses showdown

Postby Husker » Sat Jun 28, 2008 7:06 pm

trthskr4 wrote:I was shooting for 1.08 but ended up with 1.09.


Keep in mind, that even though you got a SG of 1.09, that there are a LOT of non-fermentable sugars in feed stock BS, so your overall gravity is not too high. I usually target 1 part BS and 4 parts water, but I slowly bring the wash up to that level (multi feedings). What you have is about 1 part BS to 5 parts water. By what you have listed, it should make some fine rum wash. Like you have done here, ANY time I make a wash from BS molasses, I add sugar back into it. I think GBM has found that lack of sugar in BS makes for a very strong (almost bitter) distillate. Adding sugar will kick up the ethanol production substantially, and tone down the overall flavor.

Distillers yeast works just fine. In my experience, EC-1118 is not the best yeast to use. If you do not over push it, simple bakers yeast is used by many with very good results making rum washes.

I bet adding the proper amount of sugar back into the BS wash (to make it equal sugars as fancy), will make the fancy vs BS test closer, but I still bet the BS will have more of a stronger, sharper molasses flavor, coming off the still.

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Re: Blackstrap vs Fancy Molasses showdown

Postby trthskr4 » Mon Jun 30, 2008 6:50 am

Earlier in this post Dnderhead asked about Gluco Amylase in the BS wash. I decided to try it but forgot about it until going back through this post again this morning. My was is down from 1.09-1.06 this morning, not confident but I'm thinking that's roughly 5% alcohol so someone correct me if I'm wrong. It's slowed down a little so I added 1-1/2 Tbsp. GA-100 and stirred it in. There was no cap on the wash before but a couple seconds after stirring in the gluco it almost erupted with a foam cap, don't know why just reporting what happened. I put the lid back on the bucket and could hear the air blowing through the airlock hole, waited a minute for it to slow down and airlocked it again but don't know if there's gonna be any water left in it after it gets through huffing and puffing.

I did some calculations on the wash and by the weight that I used (Don't think my scales were accurate) and the information label on it. It says that the BS is 43% invert sugar by weight and I added 4.8lbs Brown sugar and given some possibly inaccurate weights I figure there was about 10 lbs sugar in the wash at 7.5 gallons total, so 10 lbs. is 4.5 kg but if I use the SG calculator on the main site and work up to my starting gravity here's what I get

Image

So in my estimate there's alot of non fermentables in the wash, there's alot of difference in 6.8 kg and 4.5 kg and I don't think my scales were off that much. Am I on the right track thinking the wash should work down to around 1.02 or 1.03 and stop?
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Re: Blackstrap vs Fancy Molasses showdown

Postby Barney Fife » Mon Jun 30, 2008 7:37 am

My rum washes often stop at around 1.010 to 1.020, but if I clear it and let it settle a week or three, it reads well under 1.000. I always assume the solids to skew my readings by .020 at both the start and end. There's no need to be too overly bothered by the exact numbers; once it stops, it stops, and you have what you have. Make enough of the same wash, and your readings will relate to each other perfectly, even if they aren't "correct" to others'. Same as using a thermometer on our stills; where I make my cuts might not be where you need to make yours, because of all the variables, but it's still handy to have something to go by, and with time, we get to know our still as well as our washes.
Barney Fife
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