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Average ABV of Wash?


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I have watched several youtube videos of various craft distillers and how they go about producing their wash. I've seen very black strap/ huge amounts of white sugar washes. I've seen all table grade molasses washes...and everything in between.

My question isn't so much about ingredients, but as to what ABV you are shooting for. I realize this is yeast dependent to a great degree, but I have seen a video from a New England distiller saying they use ale yeast and go to 5-6% to guys like (I think it was dogfish head, not sure) pushing it up to 17-19%.

I realize with yeast stress comes off flavors and fusels, but for business plan purposes (the phase I'm in now) I have been using 10% ABV washes as my planning, but if I could push that to 15%, it would increase my theoretical production by 50%. (15% chosen for illustration purposes)

So, whats a good number to shoot for, say, using EC-118 or something in the same family. I can't afford the time or the space to use an ale yeast, I already know that!

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I have not done a rum mash, but I have researched the process in depth, and my take on the process is that it is much like the old saying in computer programming "GIGO". Garbage in, garbage out.

It appears that unlike grain and fruit mash production, wherein your "sugar content" is basically just a function of the quality / ripeness / starch content of the raw product that goes into the eventual mash, rum production is instead based on ingredients that have in a lot of cases been virtually stripped of their sugar. In fact I read somewhere that sugar producers have become so adept at removing the sugar from their cane juice, that they are having to pay people to haul away what is essentially now worthless molasses, which was once the life blood of the rum industry.

I.e. the molasses you put in, will directly relate to the ABV you get out.

This of course will change to some degree with yeast differences, and temperature control of your fermenters, but someone who knows more about it than me can probably fill you in on those variables. So my guess on your question would be that "it depends" on how much you are willing to pay, for any given Brix content of what you are putting in. It would seem like you would then balance that variable materials cost with the cost of time and energy to produce your end product from said Brix.

But hopefully a rum expert will chime in.

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Go conservative, I did a spread sheet using the 10% to 20% range. I am at the 10% to 12% in our current production phase, but looking to improve production while keeping a consistent flavor.

Sound the War Horns!!

32nd Signal Corp


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I would shoot for about 14%. Higher is possible, but it can stretch the yeast, and make the fermentation time noticably longer. The main variable is the yeast. If you're purchasing a yeast, I would get their input as well.

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