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Aging a white rum in clay amphorae


Revival rum

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Just curious, what do you mean by help the flavor without adding colour?

Are you just looking to age the rum and have the flavors mellow and keep it a white rum? Unfortunately most consumers equate color with quality, so any aging in barrels even ones used multiple times before might be the better route.

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Your spirit will mellow in older barrels as it will still have the alcohol wood interactions, and oxidation will take place. However barrels used that many times are limited in how much other flavors they will add to the spirit, so they won't introduce the vanillin and tannins and color.

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It likely will, resting clear flavored spirits does have benefit.

Whether a clay container is any better than stainless, concrete, or plastic for spirits, that's another matter.  I know there are companies making commercial amphora for wineries, but they are very expensive on a per-gallon basis compared to tanks or oak.  Could there be some marketing value?  Sure.

The best examples of aged white rums are the Puerto Rico rums, though there are tremendous examples all though the Caribbean that use this "PR-Style decolorization approach".  Aged in used oak, at least a year, but some far more and then decolorized using very specific types of activated carbon to remove the pale yellow coloration.  Result are sippable, refined white rums, with lots of confectionary notes from the oak (vanilla, caramel, toffee, coconut).  Real McCoy is doing a 3 year aged Foursquare rum from Barbados, decolorized.  Flor De Cana is doing a 4 year aged decolorized "white".  Of course, Bacardi and Don Q are the big names from PR, and many of these are aged 12-18 months in used oak.  What you'll notice is that some of these longer aged whites are more 'platinum' in color, as it becomes very difficult to fully decolorize as the spirit takes on more oak coloration.  It becomes a balancing act between how much flavor you are willing to give up as part of decolorization, and how pure white you want the spirit.  These decolorization processes are some of the most guarded secrets in the rum industry, the broad strokes are well known and "easy", but the truth is getting it perfect is a matter of investing sweat and tears.

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@Silk City Distillers I have seen from my searches that you are well versed in de-colourising with carbon. All the extra processes worry me a bit, being a newbie. I am coming round to accepting the fact that that may be how I have to get a good saleable clear product though. I will appreciate any help available in getting it right, from the outset.

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We have an amphora that we use for a liqueur, and a colleague uses one for Arak. The material, porousness, and vitrification of the clay all have a pretty big impact on what is happening to the spirit and it will be hard to say whats going to happen without trying it as there are significant difference between the materials each manufacturer uses. Some traditional clay vessels are lined with beeswax to prevent interaction with the clay, others are not, and the pH may change from absorption of minerals in the clay. There is a long history of aging spirits in clay pots (shochu, baijiu, arak, arrak, tsipouro, some grappa, etc), it definitely does something but there are too many variables to say what would happen with your rum. 

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