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Shindig    4

I am wondering if I could get some advice on making spiced rum using maceration? I bought around 10 ingredients but have no idea where to start with blending them (amounts) or what proof I should be macerating at. I know some things like cinnamon and star anise can be overpowering quick and others take more time to steep. I was thinking of doing each one separately in their own mason jar and then blending the tinctures. Right now I am starting with a full bottle (750ml) of 80proof silver rum and eyeballing the ingredients. I just ordered a scale that does smaller weights since mine only goes down to 1 gram and I thought about making tea bags with small amounts so I could use less than 750ml bottle of rum. Any advice would be a great help! Thanks in advance :)

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stillwagon    7

I macerate all spices individually in 140 proof or higher. Then blend to achieve my flavor profile. 

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Dsking416    0

Definitely use separate vessels. I find you can tune the flavor profile of things like cardamom and clove by using a lower proof and then adjusting steep times. For instance cardamom can get tart and tannic if it's too high of a proof or left too long.

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david    0

I macerate for 3 weeks at 115 proof. And yes, use small amounts of spices with small mason jars and blend the tinctures accordingly to achieve your flavor profile. Then, do a trial maceration with all of your spices together and go from there.

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kelbor    0

Hey Joe, I really like you and often applaud your self proclaimed success in this industry.... but this advice you gave sucks in this context. I feel like this is exactly why our industry is in inner turmoil with true craft distillers trying to find a way to set our selves apart from rectifiers who claim to make "small batch" "locally distilled" " hand crafted" products from bulk spirits.  Yeah, ya could just buy the flavoring and be done with it - pour that flavoring into your bulk purchased NGS (I highly doubt you would want to ruin something that you put you heart and soul into) and sell as a craft produced product. Which is the equivalent, in my mind, of a small bakery decorating homemade cake with Betty Crocker frosting and calling it homemade.  Don't you make flavoring Joe, I remember a thread a while ago where you said you were producing one I think?

I guess the direction you choose will determine if you intend to make a unique craft product and sell at craft product prices. Or if you intend to make a mass-produced product you plan on marketing like a craft product.  

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david    0

Agreed. Use fresh spices to make an outstanding and different product. Show it to your customers on tours and really go the extra mile to differentiate yourself from those that are doing the bare minimum (and calling it craft (and/or premium).

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On 7/26/2017 at 4:54 PM, kelbor said:

Hey Joe, I really like you and often applaud your self proclaimed success in this industry.... but this advice you gave sucks in this context. I feel like this is exactly why our industry is in inner turmoil with true craft distillers trying to find a way to set our selves apart from rectifiers who claim to make "small batch" "locally distilled" " hand crafted" products from bulk spirits.  Yeah, ya could just buy the flavoring and be done with it - pour that flavoring into your bulk purchased NGS (I highly doubt you would want to ruin something that you put you heart and soul into) and sell as a craft produced product. Which is the equivalent, in my mind, of a small bakery decorating homemade cake with Betty Crocker frosting and calling it homemade.  Don't you make flavoring Joe, I remember a thread a while ago where you said you were producing one I think?

I guess the direction you choose will determine if you intend to make a unique craft product and sell at craft product prices. Or if you intend to make a mass-produced product you plan on marketing like a craft product.  

Yes, we can make flavoring. It spiced rum or any thing really it is much easier to make a "concentrate" and the add that to you batch for a way better control of your taste profile.

On the flip side, and I very much get your point about craft. You have to be able to make money. You can hug trees and distill only on full moons and stuff but if you don't make money....... well you just may have more time to hug trees.

We do both, make are own and buy flavors. We use only all natural flavors never any NA flavors, or A flavors. Like I said before we make a lot of money mixing flavors for people everyday (contract bottling work) I have about $15,000-$20,000 worth of flavor on hand at any given time. some by the gallon and some by the 5 gallon pail, as little as $135 per gallon and some as much as $995 per gallon..... but it gets the job done. 

PS - the $995 per gallon jug will flavor about 85,000 750ml bottles...its super concentrated. 

I can make any type of gin you want with my super gin flavor, about 2-3 cups of flavor into 330gallons of vodka, POOF!!!! the best darn gin you have ever tasted.........

Look to each there own, but I seen it take so much time doing it the hard way that would have been easier to not even make the product. I helped one company make a blue berry liquor one time (it was very good). They used a little over $5 per bottle production cost in wild hand picked blue berries, and to make a 35 gallon batch took 45hours worth of my time....... I felt bad so I used all natural flavor and had a blind taste test with the owners. LORDS TRUTH, they thought they had picked theres because it was so smooth, and the other was harsh and smelled and tasted fake..... but they really picked the one that I made with the flavoring. Guess the one they went with? Right, there high dollar one, now they are struggling because they have to sell it for so much money to pay for the production, plus it is made by hand in 35 g batches so they can't commit to new distributers because they don't have the capacity of production. The cost of the flavor sample I put together for them was about .18 - .22 per 750ml (far from $5+) plus I could make a 500 gallon tank full in about 30minutes.

It is all in what you want, and what you think your customers will pay for.

Please keep in mind the average customer could care less. just look at the flavored vodkas, flavored whiskeys, flavored anything...

In my biz I stopped saying I was CRAFT long ago. After I about went out of biz about 3 times in the first 2 years bring to be craft. I learned that it is about making money, so great products, great production methods, low over head, and some other magic. I reinvented my self and my business model, to be this "The craftier side of craft". Anyways, I just expanded for the 4th time now since starting 5 years ago.

Thanks and sorry for the long rant.

 

 

 

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(trigger warning for those prone to that sort of thing, this is intended to be provocative).

I don't think making your own flavors and concentrates is incompatible with craft spirits production.  If takes considerably more skill and craft to make your own flavor concentrates, than to single pass distill a "finished" product.  So what about using someone elses?  Trigger existential crisis?

Currently working on a very low-temperature vacuum distilled cucumber concentrate for gin.  I think it's far superior to putting cucumber in a gin basket, or macerating with cucumber in the final product.  There are some very very interesting problems with making this concentrate, caused largely by the high sulfur content in cucumber, but these are solvable.  It's much easier to control the final flavor profile and drive higher batch-to-batch consistency.  But you know what I learned?  This is really hard.

Or vacuum distilling citrus to produce deterpenated extracts with significantly highly flavor and aroma "fidelity", one significantly less prone to oxidation.  It's amazing the difference deterpenating citrus makes.  The aroma and flavor is incredibly distinct, they don't cause the spirit to cloud.  On the flip side, for some botanicals, it's the opposite, and it's the terpenes you want to keep.  Or maybe just one of the terpenes, and you need to distill to get it.

The big difference between the natural extracts coming out of the good flavor houses, is this kind of thing.  Their ability to extract and purify a specific flavor is better than yours.  The sophistication of their "craft" is far beyond our "craft", and what's really ironic is that their processes, in many cases, is very similar, albeit with a higher level of sophistication.

It seems a little silly to poo-poo the flavor houses as being anti-craft, when you are calling someone dumping some (probably lower quality) botanical in a drum of ethanol, "craft".

 

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kelbor    0

Joe - Well put. making money is, for most, the only way to make it "work". It sucks but is the truth. I would not ever condone a person for that. Easier is usually the best route - especially if quality does not suffer. Congrats on the expansion and growth!

 

Silk - You misunderstood me (or I was not clear enough). I don't "poo-poo" people doing things from scratch themselves (even making flavoring themselves to keep product consistency). That's what it is all about. A Vanilla bean is a flavor as is a cinnamon stick. Our Gin is packed with flavor from herbs we did not grow.  What I am against is the multitude of producers claiming to be micro distillers who buy and flavor NGS. I really don't think someone would go through the trouble of making a neutral spirit, or any unique spirit from scratch, then just normalizing it by dumping a mass produced/mass distributed flavoring in it. As I stated these products are then often labeled as "hand crafted", "small batch", "micro distilled", "Artisan". Etc. It's competing against these producers with a truly craft product that took real time and significantly more money to create, in a market that is already feeling crowded, that I think needs to change.

My original post was in reference to the OP wanting to create a home made flavoring  for his rum and Dehner saying  "buy the flavoring and be done. don't be a super hero..... make money, don't waste time." which, from his point of view and biz plan, makes sense. But from my point of view and ethos, goes against being "craft" (whatever the F that means these days).

 

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