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Aloha from Big Island, HI!

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Hi, My name is Megan and I'm new to both this forum and to distilling rum. I have a question that I urgently need help with: how do I know when fermentation for rum is complete? We mixed molasses and raw cane sugar together with sugarcane yeast and have let sit since Friday, Oct. 11th (3 days ago). There is still some bubbling but the plastic container we put the mash in is expanding (and the mash has evaporated by about an inch). Are these even good signs? We also purchased a hydrometer, but is it ok to open the container if fermentation is not complete? Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for reading. Aloha, Megan

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It sounds like you have sealed the container? That is why it is expanding; the yeast is eating the sugar and creating carbon dioxide, in addition to the alcohol. You need an airlock to allow the gas to escape because at the moment you're building up pressure. You can attach a hose barb to your container, then run a piece of hose into a container of water. The carbon dioxide will bubble through the water, but air can't get back in. By monitoring the amount of bubbles, you'll be able to tell when fermentation is complete. If you use a hydrometer, be sure it's a wash hydrometer (specific gravity) not an alcohol hydrometer.

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