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Choosing a Molasses


Quinn_the_Eskimo609

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We are getting ready to start making rum and are trying to decide what molasses we should use (looking between Blackstrap and Fancy Grade). My question is about the conversion of sugar bases in the production of rum. We are also investigating the differences between cane sugar, brown sugar, and others as well as the previously mentioned molasses. Does anyone have any research or observations they would be willing to share?

 

Thank you!

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Grade A molasses ferments with the least amount of intervention. Blackstrap seems to really not want to ferment unless you have a pretty serious nutrient regime, along with agitation, oxidation, and so on. The reason blackstrap is used by most of the big guys in the Caribbean is they have crazy centrifugal systems and other industry tricks that remove the ash and other impurities that hinder fermentation. In my opinion, it's worth the extra cost for the grade A to not deal with the ass pain of tricking blackstrap into fermenting.

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Going to second @TuftedTurtle, what style of rum are you looking to produce?  That's going to inform the recommendations pretty heavily.  

To what @kleclerc77 said, keep in mind that as sugar refining improved, the nature of blackstrap has changed.  The blackstrap you'll see referenced in historical literature is not the same as modern day blackstrap.  

 

 

 

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You’ll need to familiarize yourself with molasses spec sheets, and hopefully work with a supplier that can provide a spec sheet that’s useful.  The variation in molasses is enormous, and there are plenty of suppliers that will provide almost worthless spec sheets (ranges so incredibly wide that they can use the same spec sheet for everything).

Brown sugar is tricky, it can be one of two things, refined sugar with molasses added, or unrefined crystal sugar (Demerara).  You’ll want to avoid the first, it’s just dirty white sugar that you’ll overpay for.  You can accomplish similar by blending crystal sugars with molasses in whatever proportions suit your style.
 

I wouldn’t put highly unrefined sugars like Panela or Piloncillo in this category, they are really in a world of their own (FYI - there are no major commercial rum styles that use these sugars).  Single these contain nearly all the solids from the original cane juice, their sugar content is lower than refined crystal sugars, but far higher than some types of molasses.

 

 

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