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Predicting Yields for Rum Fermentation


Lassiter Distilling Co

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Hey Folks,

My partner and I are working on our business plan and one point is creating some challenges for us. Not having a background in fermentation or distilling, I was hoping someone or some people on here could point me in the direction of some information on how to work out yields - specifically for molasses-based rums - for fermentation and subsequent distillation.

I imagine the variables are sugar concentration of the wash, the type of yeast, time, and temperature (and possibly others), but I'm not familiar with the basic formulas to estimate ABV of a wash post fermentation.

Could anyone recommend some resources or offer advice? Thanks for your help.

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A good book on rum for a beginner would be The Distiller's Guide to Rum by Ian Smiley, Eric Watson & Michael Delevante. It covers all the basics on rum distillation.

At first rum seems relatively easy to make because you don't have to mash grains. But getting decent yield without stressing the yeast with a too high starting gravity is a little involved. Nothing to fear though.

I'd suggest you get a homebrew kit and make some wine or beer just to get some experience with fermenting.

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Well let's just think about this....

We source rum that's specced at providing between 67 and 71% TSAI. Suppose we purchase 480 lbs which is (for sake of argument) 69% TSAI -- that would provide 331lbs of fermentable sugar or about 15,235 "points". We'll dump this molasses into 250 gallons of water which will give us about 290 gallons. 15,235 / 290 = 53 (ish) or an approx gravity of 1.053. Nice dose of nutrients and rum yeast. Adjust pH if need be. Keep temp at range specified on your yeast spec sheet. Should go dry in 3 - 5 days and you'll have 290 gallons of 7% beer. Fill stripper, stripr and you'll get (approx) 58 gallons of low wines which for me seems to balance out around 35%. Fill spirits still and you'll end up with (on the average and in the long run after recycling feints) about 25 gallons of 80% spirits.

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