Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Trash in, Trash Out, it is Not Just True With Computers

Large Production Fermenter
     What are some of the factors that you have to be aware of when you are making rum?   First of all, you have to be concerned with the preparation of the fermentation vessel and all of the equipment that is being used to make the "wash".  Dirty utensils and fermenters will introduce unwanted bacteria and wild yeast strains all of which can taint or ruin your fermentation.   What you use can also effect the final product as well.  Low grade molasses, the type of sugar, water that is tainted with chemicals are all factors in a good fermentation.

200 Year Old Fermentation Tanks
     A good full flavored wash is the product of careful measurement of the ingredients and choosing the ingredients that will all work well together to make the fermentation active and pure.  There are a number of by products that can come out of the fermentation that are no going to taste good or even leave you rum cloudy.  Molasses or Cane Juice are going to give you the best tasting rums, rums made from processed sugar will yield alcohol, but they will be more of a neutral spirit, vodka, rather than a flavorful rum.   Fermenting a cooler temperatures will also effect the flavor and give you a higher yield of alcohol that warmer ones.

Pitching the Yeast
     The choice of yeast will also be a huge factor in what you end up with as a final product.  There
are a huge number of types of yeast from bread, wine, whiskey, rum, and many more to choose from.  The other option is to culture your own strain of yeast.  All of these will work, but you need to do some experimenting with the different strains to get what you are looking for as a flavor profile.  Some of the yeasts are "supercharged" and can produce up to 12 or 15% alcohol in as little as 48 hours.  Others are slower and are more about producing a wash that will give the final product a specific flavor.

     These are some of the most important factors in making rum, because what you start with has a huge effect on what you end up with.  Starting with low grade materials will yield alcohol, but very little flavor and this is fine if you just want a neutral spirit.  If you want a great tasting rum, you must pay careful attention to your beginning, in other words the fermentation.