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Gauging spirit with flavor added by thump keg

Black Creek

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I have built a thump keg to attach to my column still that I intend to fill with apple puree and tails to pick up the apple flavor in the distillate. Anybody know if I can gauge it by my normal method using hydrometer and thermometer prior to bottling or will 
I need to gauge by distillation? TIA

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This is a technical question I'm not competent to answer.  What I do know - the gauge required will only be affected by the total solids in what you are gauging.  The regulations ignore flavors that are added by evaporation - consider, for example the gins that are produced by distillation over aromatics and botanicals -  or the addition of eligible flavoring.  You can find the limits on solids content in  §30.31 of the gauging manual.  TTB's website has a link to regulations at the bottom of the page..  I'll let others say what solids you might expect to be present in the spirits produced as you described.  

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Your question has some learning points.

If you are producing this product by original distillation over mash, you do not submit a formula to cover the production processes.  Instead, you submit a statement of production procedure (§19.77).  You do that  by amending your DSP registration and you must wait for TTB approval of the amended registration before you distill the product  (§19.121).  

So, let's say you make it by original distillation.  You distill the wash  over the flavoring.  After the distillation is complete,  you make the production gauge  (§19.304) and  identify the spirits by kind (§19.305 ).  But what do you call it and where do you enter it on the production report?  

Part 19 is specific (§19.487);  you determine the kind based on the standards of part 5.  Let's say that you are using a sugar wash and you distill it at less than 190 proof.  If the distillate were not flavored, you would designate it rum.  But it is not rum because you've given it apple flavor.  Rum does not have apple flavor.  Rule out rum.   So is it, instead, apple flavored rum?  That seems logical, but it can't be apple flavored rum because the standard for flavored products requires that you add flavor to an existing spirit (§5.22(i).  For the product to be apple flavored rum you would need to add apple flavor to rum,.  But in this case, you have no existing rum to which you add flavor, not one drop.    So, since what you have created does not conform to and standard of identity in §5.22, you are are left with but one choice; it is a specialty item (§5.35) and should be reported as such in column (k) of the production report. 

Now, if you add the apple flavor to an existing rum, you do so in the processing account according to an approved formula ( §5.27).  You need the formula because you are changing class and type.  You start with rum and end up with flavored rum.  The specialty item and the flavored item may be organoleptically indistinguishable,  but they would have different label designations.

Situations like this challenge credulity.  Who but those who create such complicated rules could care?  Because of the way the law is written, the rules that govern designations are intended to prevent a bottler from deceiving a consumer.   But I surmise, based on too many years of experience,  that the government did not create the sort of rules I'm discussing here in the interest of the consumer. Does the consumer care if two products that taste the same must have different identities under some set of rules in which they consumer has no interest?  That is a rhetorical question. 

So there are some learning points about statements, formulas,standards, and designations, but here is the learning point I'm really reaching for in all of this: I'd argue that Industry brings things like this on itself when members seek to gain a marketing perch.  If you want simple rules that are easy to follow and so serve the interests of consumers who don't have the time to waste or inclination to engage in wonkish exercises like this,, be careful what you ask for.   If you are not, the result can be head scratching complication worthy of a Philadelphia lawyer; the sort of things that leads to a "you've gotta be kidding" response. 

 One final note.  Even though you are not required by either part 5 or part 19 to have a formula for the product when you make it by original distillation,  by policy, TTB requires that, for speciality items, as well as flavored product, you submit a formula before they will approve the label.  They call that pre-COLA evaluation.  So, even though I said that you conducted the  original distillation under a statement of production procedure, unless TTB changes its policy, you will also need to file a formula before it will issue a label approval.  You will need both the statement and the formula.  That TTB will require a formula before granting label approval iis assured if they follow their own policy.  That they will get excited about a lack of a statement of process is not assured.  If you have a formula, the lack of a statement of production procedure, if they catch it, is likely the sort of thing they would tell you to correct, before moving on to things they deem more important than that.  


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How it is designated depends on when it acquires the flavor.  I'll do a strippiong run myself.  Bare bones without reasons. 

Production by original distillation

  • It is a speciality item if you do it by original distillation. It is not rum. 
  • That requires a statement of production procedure for the specialty item. 
  • You bottle it as a specialty item.
  • You need to get a formula too - preCOLA evaluation - because TTB will require that before it will approve a label for the specialty item.

 Production by Redistillation in the Processing Account.

  • If you first make rum. . 
  • You must have a statement of production procedure to make the rum. 
  • You include a rum  statement of production procedure on your registration
  • You make the original distillation according to the statement of production procedure.
  •  You get to decide when the original distillation is completed. 
  • If the stripping run makes a product that conforms to the standard as rum, you can designate it rum after the stripping run. 
  • You make the production gauge based on the quantity you have in the strippping run. 
  • You designate it rum.
  • You then transfer the rum out of the production account and into the processing account.
  • You  redistill the stripping run rum, in the processing account, over the apple flavor. 
  • That  changes the class and type. it is no longer rum.
  • If it otherwise meets the standard for flavored products, it has become apple flavored rum.
  • If for some reason it does not meet the standard, you have a specialty product.
  • Since you change the class and type, you need a formula to do this.  
  • The formula satisfies the requirement for pre-COLA evaluation.. 

I'll add that if you make a specialty item, the required statement of composition could become a challenge.  

It is not rum with apple flavors (that is apple flavored rum under the standard). 

Statements like "Spirits distilled from sugar with added apple flavor" seem not to be too appealing on the label.

I think I'd opt for a way to make apple flavored rum.  The stripping run strategy you propose seems possible, as long as the stripping run yields something you can call rum.  I think you'd just have to get it over 40 ABV and distill it from nothing but cane sugar..

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