Come spend the night inside my sugar wash.

For those of you whose minds are now endlessly looping the 1984 “classic” Sugar Walls, I’m not going to apologize. For those of you who are not familiar with the song, be thankful. I mean, you could youtube it if you want…it is almost 2016, but do so at your peril. There are certain things you can’t unhear; these things include 80s R&B songs written by Prince (under a pseudonym) and performed by white ladies with poofy hair.

But enough about her sugar walls.

We are, after all, gathered here today to discuss my sugar wash. That’s right, after a little over a year, I’ve gone back to make changes to my first attempt at Rum. If you look way, way back in the blog, you’ll see a brief statement on the initial rum. I pulled the recipe offline, and it was my very first attempt at the distillation. It was a success, and a good first experience. However, it wasn’t perfect and there were issues with the flavor, and specifically the aftertaste that needed to be addressed. So, fast forward a year and we’re making another attempt.

I’ve changed a few things, and learned a few techniques that should make a difference. First, if you haven’t yet seen it, you should go look at the recipe on the recipes page. You’ll note a few things:

  1. The new recipe relies much more heavily on dark brown sugar than the other recipe.
  2. The potential ABV of the wash is only a little less than 17%

The brown sugar decision was made in the hopes of giving the rum a little bit more depth. The combination of the molasses and the 5 kilos of brown sugar gave the wash both a rich brown color, and a really nice flavor. The flavor of this wash has significantly more depth than the white sugar wash that was made last year. The final volume of the wash was too much for my 6 gallon fermenter, so I actually kept a little of the wash to help give the distilled product that “rummy” taste. I’m sure you’ll hear more about that in the coming days.

The potential ABV/Sg could have gone up, but I was out of brown sugar, the pot was awfully full (so I didn’t want to add molasses), and I didn’t want to add any more white sugar. The High Spirits Turbo 48 yeast will only take us to 18% ABV. I decided to call it at 16.9% and sacrifice the 1% of potential product.

As we speak, the wash is fermenting away. I’ll certainly take what I’ve learned forward. This includes a stripping and a spirit run. The batch will be split into jars and mixed according to taste, smell, and proof. The high yield should be enough to split the run into traditional rum as well as some other experiments (like Limoncello).

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