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Best still design for rum?

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What kind of rum do you want to make?

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Still dragon's Traditional Rum Still is by far the most compelling design I've seen if you are looking for a traditional high wines/low wines thumper approach. I'm not aware of anyone making anything similar. I'm sure Forsyths or Vendome could make something in this style that is stunning too though, if a traditional Caribbean approach is what you are looking for.

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If you're going to use the still dragon double retort Jamaican style system, you will have to barrel age for several years to mellow the spirit. You will not be able to make traditional cuts, everything will be jumbled together.

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Beyond that, what is the "Traditional Caribbean approach"? Are we talking British style pot and thumper style as depicted above? French pot still brandy style distillations? Spanish style column distillations? Guayanese wooden column still demerara style?

The whole point of Rum is there is no traditional style or traditional ingredients. Cane juice, molasses, panela, raw sugar, white sugar, a mix of all of these? Still rum.

One of the above mentioned stills, a mix of them? Still rum, still traditional.

That being said it's all about the flavors and textures you want.

Heavy high ester rums will do better with the least refined ingredients, and single or double pot still runs. Adding a column will make it softer and lighter, as will moving more towards the refined end of the sugar spectrum.

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Joe (PA_JoeDistiller), what would be a good resource for understanding the differrences in flavor between the choices that you mentioned?

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Drinking lots of different rum!

Great intro reads to rum are the arroyo patent, ADI Distillers Guide to Rum, the 1800's Jamaican sugar plantation experiment papers, and lots of google fu. There was a fantastic resource called Boston Apothecary, but sadly it looks like his entire site and vast amount of knowledge has disappeared. 

A single pot run will be very slow, but result in extremely rich and heavy flavors, and almost definitely need barrel ageing unless you have a light yeast and cool ferment. 

Double Pot Run will be cleaner but still rich and heavy. 

Column to Pot is a good middle ground, more on the light side then the heavy side. 


Column single/column double is going to be extremely light, almost like a rummy vodka then rum. 

Pot and Thumper is another very heavy distillation style, and a great one if you have the setup, though its very hard to get any real cuts and will need alot of ageing. 

 

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Are there any distilleries out there still using an actual pot & thumper? As you say, it doesn't seem possible to make the cuts.

I have not had the chance to play around with lots of different equipment, so I'm repeating what I've read: For pot still produced whiskeys/etc the size & shape of the vapor chamber significantly affects the flavor of the product. I'm assuming that it would be the same for a heavy-ester rum (either the  double-pot or the column-then-pot). If true, shouldn't there be a number of the equipment suppliers offering various shaped chambers? Or is everyone just doing a rectifying column light rum?

 

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This works for us and  helps us create bronze, silver and gold Bourbon, rum, gin,

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Sudzie,

Thanks for the photo. I'll shoot you an email offline..

 

 

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I've read some references to using a bubble plate column design with 1-2 plates active for minimal separation. Then collecting down to a low abv and still getting a heavy product using the that minimal refraction to help separate the desired tails from the dunder.  

Has anyone tried this? 

 

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Would be roughly equivalent to doing a strip and spirit run.  Collecting product deep into tails (low abv) isn't going to give you a heavy product, it's going to give you a tailsy product.  To get a heavier flavor, you'll want to use a good portion of backset in your next rum beer, and recycle feints.  It's very hard to emulate the funk of a Jamaican double retort with a column still.  

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My personal vote goes towards simple traditional copper alembics, similar to the ones found in Portugal, Italy, Alsace, the Balkans etc.

I say this knowing fully well that yes, you will have to age the spirit for a long time to develop - but all the fruity aromas we associate with it as well as the chocolatey, tarry licorice flavor in the tail which Rum is so well known for will be in full force.

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PA Joe- Can you provide some more information about the 1800's Jamaican Sugar Plantation papers? I'm very interested, but a short Google search hasn't yielded what I think I'm looking for. Thanks!

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If you plan on making Rum you should read this (It's what PA Joe was referring too):

https://www.bostonapothecary.com/rafael-arroyos-lost-papers-on-rum/

As other have stated, a lot of flavor from heavier rum styles is from esters enhanced by bacteria infection. Aseptic closed fermenting rum won't yield that type of flavor. You'll need to go to the open fermented dark side. Come for the dunder, stay for the muck. 

 

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4 minutes ago, Al_The_Chemist said:

Interesting. Symbiotic fermentation of bacteria and yeast. I'll start approaching this like making Kombucha! 

The crew at the homedistiller site have been working on that for last year or so. The idea is similar to kombucha. The chemistry involved is complicated to say the least. They have also been taking specific acids and doping washes, low wines and finished spirits to develop esters and big flavors. I'm not sure of the legality of doing this for a commercial product unless you go for a DSS COLA.

Once you start going down the ester rabbit hole you'll find yourself in a different world.

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On 11/26/2017 at 7:12 AM, Silk City Distillers said:

Would be roughly equivalent to doing a strip and spirit run.  Collecting product deep into tails (low abv) isn't going to give you a heavy product, it's going to give you a tailsy product.  To get a heavier flavor, you'll want to use a good portion of backset in your next rum beer, and recycle feints.  It's very hard to emulate the funk of a Jamaican double retort with a column still.  

Totally agree. I wonder why nobody has mentioned muck pit in this discussion so far? I use an "aged dunder" in my wash and it adds immense flavor. There is plenty of info on this subject as well. I strip my washes and then use a 4 plate StillDragon column still and get all of the rum flavor that I want. The benefit is that I have greater control over what goes into the barrel and it doesn't take 3 generations before it is very drinkable.

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Florida Cracker, using back set works well for so many different things especially if those things are going into a barrel.  When I see people putting sweet mash corn whiskey into a charred barrel thinking that they are going to get a good Bourbon out, I know for certain that they don't have a clue about what they are doing.  I see you have a picture of my cousin Jim Tom for your member picture.  Old Jim Tom is a Case (character).  I'm from the TN side of the The Great Smoky Mountains but I have a lot of kin on the NC side. 

We have some new rum still designs with and without thumpers.  The price for a 200 gallon with the heating system is less than $10,000.00  if anyone is interested email me paul@distillery-equipment.com

http://distillery-equipment.com

 

http://moonshine-still.co

 

http://triclamp.co

 

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Sour mash corn whiskey that was stripped at 50 to 60 proof and then ran a 2nd time at around 125 proof and put into the barrel at around 117 proof.   Best done in a pot still using no plates, in my opinion. 

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