Question for you rum guys

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Question for you rum guys

Postby Texas Jim » Mon Feb 05, 2018 10:38 am

I probably won't ever make a rum, but I like reading about it and I have a question on dunder. I see pictures of your dunder pits and was curious how you use it. Do you strain the mold out before adding it to your wash, or just give it a mix and add everything in?
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Re: Question for you rum guys

Postby durty_dunderpants » Mon Feb 05, 2018 10:48 am

draw off from underneath it.

i would love to hear from people who add that jelly mold crud and it's potential benefits.. more flavour perhaps? :-P
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Re: Question for you rum guys

Postby DeepSouth » Mon Feb 05, 2018 10:49 am

I pump off the bottom, or mid way down in the tank below anything that is growing on top.
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Re: Question for you rum guys

Postby Shine0n » Sat Feb 10, 2018 2:52 pm

I intentionally infect mine so I know what the hell is there.

I have to monitor the ph regularly to keep my pellicle atop but if I neglected it say for 3 weeks the ph would drop and so would my pellicle.

Right now I could scoop right off the top but when active or "alive" I have a tap mid way down the barrel to retrieve.

I never liked commercial rum and now I've learned a great recipe and proper techniques I love it.
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Re: Question for you rum guys

Postby Texas Jim » Tue Feb 20, 2018 5:52 pm

When you say that your are getting good rum flavors, is there a commercial rum that you’d compare it to?

Has anyone ever tried to use a rum dunder with an all grain mash? I wonder what those flavors would be like?
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Re: Question for you rum guys

Postby OtisT » Wed Feb 21, 2018 9:08 am

Texas Jim wrote:When you say that your are getting good rum flavors, is there a commercial rum that you’d compare it to?

Has anyone ever tried to use a rum dunder with an all grain mash? I wonder what those flavors would be like?


Dunder is to rum what Backset is to whiskey. I have used Dunder in my rum, Backset in my AG mashes, and Backset in some of my rum mashes. I’ve not used dunder in my AGs, but that should be good too. It’s all good in my opinion. :-).

For me, it adds some unique character to my spirits. (character = more unique smells/tastes that are non offensive.). In a side by side of the same recipe I can detect a difference in my own products between w and w/o backset/dunder. I assume these flavors will translate into something unique during aging, though I have not tested this out myself. As a rule, I use backset/dunder in all the whiskey and rum I make now.

Just MHO. Otis
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Re: Question for you rum guys

Postby Shine0n » Wed Feb 21, 2018 10:11 am

I've never bought really expensive rums probably why I didn't like them.
I'll say my rum is better than the med priced rums I've tasted.
At 3 months it was like myers and 6 I couldn't put a name to it, nice and sweet, caramel, buttery, molasses-e, bold yet smooth as silk.
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Re: Question for you rum guys

Postby DAD300 » Fri Feb 23, 2018 4:08 pm

I keep dunder in five gallon buckets and just pour it in. Anything bad is about to get boiled!
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Re: Question for you rum guys

Postby Texas Jim » Sun Feb 25, 2018 8:12 pm

Ha! I’ve changed my mind. I have one more batch of AG to do, then I’m going to do a rum run. My wife talked me into it.

Now all I have to do is learn everything about rum. And find molasses.
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Re: Question for you rum guys

Postby Shine0n » Tue Feb 27, 2018 3:05 am

Welcome to the deeeep rabbit hole!
First things first, DONT OVER THINK IT! :thumbup:

Now, don't go out buying expensive molasses, feed grade or blackstrap will do just fine.

Webstaurant.com has blackstrap for 35$ per 5 gal, it's better to get 2 or 3 just to make the shipping worth it maybe more molasses as you'll make more rum I'm sure of it.

Yeast, plain ol bread yeast is great in rums.

Ferment at higher temps, 85°f+

A hydrometer's going to read high in molasses. No big deal, all you need to do is simple math to find out what the abv is.
OG-FG× 131= ABV

Some will say all molasses, some will say sugar addition is good, you need to find a simple recipe for the style of rum you want to make.

You have the tried and true recipes, they are good and there for a reason but there are some others out there that are equally as good ad proven by the makers.

I won't throw mine out there unless you ask, it's nice and bold, sweet buttery flavors.

Rum has become my passion and I work hard on it with very good results.

Good luck with "RUMS" You'll get alot of feedback from some very experienced people, not all will agree on everything but will know what to do.

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Re: Question for you rum guys

Postby Saltbush Bill » Tue Feb 27, 2018 3:26 am

Shine0n wrote:First things first, DONT OVER THINK IT! :thumbup:
Now, don't go out buying expensive molasses, feed grade or blackstrap will do just fine.

Some of the best rum making advice I've read on this forum in a long long time. :thumbup: :thumbup: :thumbup:
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Re: Question for you rum guys

Postby GCB3 » Mon Mar 12, 2018 7:25 am

ShineOn,

I am relatively new to this hobby, but like you, am very interested in Rum. I’ve made 3 batches of Panela wash, stripped and run through a packed column. The result, as expected, was a pretty neutral spirit with very mild sweetness. It’s on oak and I’m going to give it at least 6 months.

Currently I have a batch of Pintoshime’s all molasses wash going. It sure smells rich. I may detune the column for a comparison. I haven’t collected any dunder yet, but, I think this molasses wash may be a good place to start.

You wrote: “I won't throw mine out there unless you ask, it's nice and bold, sweet buttery flavors.”

I’d like to respectfully ask!

Thanks so much.
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Re: Question for you rum guys

Postby OtisT » Mon Mar 12, 2018 7:38 am

GCB3 wrote:Currently I have a batch of Pintoshime’s all molasses wash going. It sure smells rich. I may detune the column for a comparison. I haven’t collected any dunder yet, but, I think this molasses wash may be a good place to start.


Yes, save some of that dunder, especially from an all molasses ferment. Several ways to use it. Smells so nice and I think it adds a nice depth to my rum. Yummy stuff!

I think de-tuning allows more character to pass to your spirit. My preference is to compress most of the heads with some reflux/packing then turn reflux off entirely for the remainder of the run.

Best of luck on your Rum.
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Re: Question for you rum guys

Postby GCB3 » Mon Mar 12, 2018 8:07 am

Hey OtisT. I’ve been doing a lot of research here on dunder and I see what you mean, it’s a very flexible product! As a rookie, it’s easy to get confused. It’s too early for me to think about a dunder pit. There is too much other stuff to figure out. My thought is to collect 3 or so gallon from this molasses stripping run, refrigerate it, and use it for the next ferment. There are all sorts of opinions on how much to use and when to add it. My ferments are typically 13-14 gal. Three gal, approx. 25 pct, seems to be a common recipe. So, when do you add yours? Some use it to make their ferment and others say they add it late in the fermentation. What is your standard?
Thanks for the input.
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Re: Question for you rum guys

Postby OtisT » Mon Mar 12, 2018 9:02 am

GCB3 wrote:Hey OtisT. I’ve been doing a lot of research here on dunder and I see what you mean, it’s a very flexible product! As a rookie, it’s easy to get confused. It’s too early for me to think about a dunder pit. There is too much other stuff to figure out. My thought is to collect 3 or so gallon from this molasses stripping run, refrigerate it, and use it for the next ferment. There are all sorts of opinions on how much to use and when to add it. My ferments are typically 13-14 gal. Three gal, approx. 25 pct, seems to be a common recipe. So, when do you add yours? Some use it to make their ferment and others say they add it late in the fermentation. What is your standard?
Thanks for the input.


This is just my opinion.

Hold off on infections until you have more experience fermenting and know your recipes well. Adding dunder, let along infected dunder, can mess with a ferment and I assume would add complexity you don’t need now as a self proclaimed rookie. Read threads on this first, including safety warnings on using infections. Try at your own risk. ☠️

I have used dunder in a ferment as well as added to a spirit charge. If I had a thumper, I would have tried some in there too. ;-). I think adding to your ferment gives the most noticeable results. If you are comfortable with reading and adjusting PH levels, that is where I would recommend you use it. If not, you will still smell/taste the results by adding to your spirit charge.

In the Ferment:
Adjusting PH is necessary for me if using in the ferment, so learn how to read and adjust PH. Some good advice I got here was to add dunder after your yeast are established and much of the sugar is converted to alcohol. This makes fermenting a bit tricky because typically the recommendation is not to mess with the ferment once you pitch. So, here is what I do: I adjust PH in the ferment to start, above what the normal range is. Somewhere around 6.5. Wait for about 75+% of the conversion to be done before adding dunder. Be sure not to introduce oxygen to the ferment when adding dunder. I open my barrel, slowly lower the pitcher down next to the surface and gently and slowly pour in the dunder. A “gentle” stir is all I give then cover. Now let the ferment sit. The longer the better, maybe a few days past when you think it’s done. If this is too much, I have also found success adding dunder to the ferment and adjusting PH prior to pitching.

I would recommend a lot less than 25%. Somewhere between 5 and 10% of volume seems to give good results and would require a lot less PH adjustments.

Dunder contains nutrients. If you add dunder later in the run, ensure you have enough nutrients in the ferment to get you to that point.

In the Spirit change:
I re-run my feints too, so typically I mix fresh dunder with feints as soon as I have them. Usually about a 50/50 mix so the ABV of the mix is near 30% and won’t dilute too much the ABV of the next spirit charge I add this to. The added benefit is you don’t need to refrigerate to prevent infection. In the spirit run you use this in, go for a slow warmup and a period under reflux to encourage Fischer esterfication. If you have a SS boiler, add a few bits of copper to the bottom as a catalyst for the reaction. Another theory is that the mix of dunder/feints actually creates esters while it sits ( mixing alcohol with the fatty acids in the dunder.)

Collecting Dunder:
I do multiple strips and one spirit run. My first Strip uses the clearest beer that is siphoned from the fermenter ( no sediment.). This is the run I take my dunder from. My drain allows me to take the dunder w/o the sediment in the boiler. Before I had a drain, I siphoned the dunder so as not to gather any of that sediment. I don’t know if this matters, but I do it anyway.

Good luck. Otis
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Re: Question for you rum guys

Postby SaltyStaves » Mon Mar 12, 2018 12:10 pm

OtisT wrote:Before I had a drain, I siphoned the dunder so as not to gather any of that sediment. I don’t know if this matters, but I do it anyway.


Lees are the primary food for putrefactive bacteria. If you just want dunder for acidic adjustment, then the clear stuff may do the job, but for infected dunder, that sediment is required in abundance.
Once the bacteria run out of food, they start turning the dunder to water, ammonia and an unwanted acid which I cannot remember (carbolic?).

The dead yeast also needs to make it back into the boiler for further esterfication. So even if you skip the infection, you'd still want the Lees if you were after flavour and not just acidity.
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Re: Question for you rum guys

Postby OtisT » Mon Mar 12, 2018 5:46 pm

SaltyStaves wrote:
OtisT wrote:Before I had a drain, I siphoned the dunder so as not to gather any of that sediment. I don’t know if this matters, but I do it anyway.


Lees are the primary food for putrefactive bacteria. If you just want dunder for acidic adjustment, then the clear stuff may do the job, but for infected dunder, that sediment is required in abundance.
Once the bacteria run out of food, they start turning the dunder to water, ammonia and an unwanted acid which I cannot remember (carbolic?).

The dead yeast also needs to make it back into the boiler for further esterfication. So even if you skip the infection, you'd still want the Lees if you were after flavour and not just acidity.


Thanks for the info Salty. Do you know if I would I smell the ammonia if this were to happen to my dunder pit? That's a pretty strong smell, so I think I would smell that if it were present. I'll look for it specifically in the future. I have come to the conclusion that my infection is a brett lacto at its base, and something else that may just be mold, and does not smell putrid but is fruity. Maybe my non-putrid type of infection is OK with clear dunder, as I don't have an issue growing it? Regardless, I see no harm hedging my bets and taking more dregs with the clear in the future. :-)

I read recently that desirable infections for rum are putrid, and infections for whiskey are fruity, so I know I am not currently using a proper rum infection for my rum. I'm happy with the results of using this infection I have, but will likely be looking for a putrid infection later this summer when I can keep it outside.

Thanks again. Otis
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Re: Question for you rum guys

Postby SaltyStaves » Mon Mar 12, 2018 6:17 pm

OtisT wrote:Thanks for the info Salty. Do you know if I would I smell the ammonia if this were to happen to my dunder pit? That's a pretty strong smell, so I think I would smell that if it were present.


I imagine it would be unmissable. There would be a period of time where the pit went dead before that happened. So I doubt it would suddenly occur.
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Re: Question for you rum guys

Postby kiwi Bruce » Tue Mar 13, 2018 5:54 am

OtisT wrote: Do you know if I would I smell the ammonia if this were to happen to my dunder pit?


If your pit is pH adjusted with oyster shell or bicarb you won't smell it, it forms a carbonate salt that only breaks down with heat, then it forms ammonia gas and CO2, but that will be inside the boiler, so you still won't smell it.
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Re: Question for you rum guys

Postby SaltyStaves » Tue Mar 13, 2018 11:14 am

kiwi Bruce wrote:If your pit is pH adjusted with oyster shell or bicarb you won't smell it, it forms a carbonate salt that only breaks down with heat, then it forms ammonia gas and CO2, but that will be inside the boiler, so you still won't smell it.


Good to know.

If you know the pit is going to be left dormant, then it should be acidified to halt all putrefactive bacteria. Then it can be restarted again with lime.
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Re: Question for you rum guys

Postby kiwi Bruce » Tue Mar 13, 2018 11:37 am

This is going to sound insane, but...you WANT the yeast to break-down "Autolyse" it's the destruction of a cell through the action of its own enzymes, it gives some bad flavors in beer, but it's essential, to some extent, in wine. It's also becoming apparent that the autolysed flavor is part of the profile in flavored spirits as well.
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Re: Question for you rum guys

Postby kiwi Bruce » Wed Mar 14, 2018 1:38 pm

From "Craft Beer & Brewing Magazine"
Autolysis has a number of consequences, the two most important of which are flavor changes and enzymatic digestion.
Flavor changes are readily noted as the general characteristic sometimes termed “yeast bite.” This is generally a sharp, bitter taste with a meaty and sulphury edge caused by some of the amino acids and nucleotides present in yeast. If yeast is in high concentrations, these compounds can increase the pH of the beer and alter its acidity, also changing flavor. Finally, lipid release may increase the chance of rancidity. The meaty aroma of autolyzed yeast is so powerful that it is an important flavor additive in the food industry, adding “meat” flavor to everything from soups to “barbecue flavor” potato chips.
Many causes may be cited for autolysis, not least simple old age. However, poor handling of yeast and beer will accelerate autolysis. Common examples are high temperatures, particularly above 25°C, or sudden changes in temperature at pitching or at chilling, and osmotic shock where yeast is pitched into high gravity worts. Some yeast strains may be inherently sensitive to conditions such as high alcohol, high carbonation, and high acidity and autolyse faster than others. In other conditions extensive re-pitching of yeast from batch to batch may create stress, as can the presence of contaminants including lactic acid bacteria and other yeast species.
While autolysis flavors are generally considered negative in beer, they are often considered positive in wine, especially vintage Champagne, where they comprise a large part the famed “sur lie” (on sediment) flavor and aroma. This aroma is often described as “toasty” or “hazelnuts” in the wine context, and the flavors are considered to be consistent with umami characteristics. Similarly, when bottle-conditioned beers are aged on yeast, similar flavors can eventually arise from autolysis, and in balance with other flavors and aromas, they can be very pleasant.
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Re: Question for you rum guys

Postby Shine0n » Sun Apr 08, 2018 2:28 am

Nice write up Kiwi, I found on accident about temps and yeast esters so I'll throw it out here.

I had a malfunction with my aquarium heater and it heated my wash to 135ish°f, I let it cool off naturally to room temp then I ran it through my pot/thumper still. The rich buttery flavors were intense and very good and then someone gave a link about esterification of yeasts and there it was. It was completely on accident I found this little jewel but it's definitely worth the extra effort if you like buttery rum.

Reading through der wo's infection threads and starting my own and with alot of trials and failure and success I found that seeking out a specific bacteria infection has more beneficial factors than a get lucky infection. I used some fresh raw potatoes straight from the garden with dirt still on there was the ticket for what I was looking for. der wo learned me that ph was key during this period to maximize the potential for success, I kept the ph at or above 5 but below 6 for best results and the infection smelled of baby vomit literally but the magic happened when mixed with the low wines and it became a pineapple smell that carried over during distillation, although it dwindled out after time on oak it still had very good flavors that only I've found with the addition of the infected dunder and no other time.

I believe it was Odin who did some experiments and found that 25% was his best range when adding to low wines before the spirit run so when I went with that ratio I haven't looked back because it worked for me at 25%. I'm sure 20 will be fine along with lower but from his readings anything above that was too harsh. I guess it could be just for his likings but I trust what wrote and followed it and it's been working ever since.

Sorry if off topic a bit but thought I'd toss it out there.

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