I know, I know. This is how I’ll break your heart. The rye recipe is going to wait, and my upcoming batch will be, you guessed it, more rum.
How could I do this to you?
I understand that you’re all probably pretty tired of hearing about rum. I made rum last time, and, while it was very successful, it wasn’t particularly exciting. Making a sugar and molasses wash isn’t nearly as involved or as fun to read or write about as mashing rye and malt into an authentic Canadian whiskey. I’m doing the rum for a few reasons.
First, it’s a free time thing. Those meddlesome millennials (I may or may not be one) like to talk about work life balance. It’s a concept that other generations find somewhat laughable, but the long and short of it is that building the recipe and researching the technique takes time that hasn’t been readily available. I don’t want to provide the same old story – I mash some grains, I make some booze, we all go home happy. I want to be able to provide you all with solid information so that you can improve (or start making) your own. That requires good info and good info requires time. There, millennial tirade over.
Second, rum is pretty cheap and easy to make. I have a significant amount of new equipment and I don’t want it’s maiden voyage to be overly technical. The new burner for example will output significantly more heat than the old one. The new kettle is about 3 times the volume of the old one, and the fermenter is a little over twice as large. I want a simple run to test the scalability of my processes and to make sure that the new equipment is up to snuff. What if, for example, my brew kettle has leaky nipples. Yeah, I said it. Good luck getting that image out of your head. If I lose sugar and molasses I’ll be bummed, but not heartbroken.
Third, I’m going to (finally) put together the carbon filter, and the man of steele has graciously offered to let me use his home wine making plate filter to clarify the product. Again, I would prefer to take a run at the new processes with a batch I’m not particularly in love with.
So, what’s the game plan
Step 1 – Fermentation. I’m going to get the wash going in about 2 weeks. I’m going to let it ferment for another 1-2 weeks. I’ll probably let it go for 2.
Step 2 – Distillation. I now have a 14 gallon fermenter, and an 8 gallon still. Doesn’t make a lot of sense, right? Wrong. Remember when we talked about stripping runs and spirit runs and then making your cuts? The plan for distillation is to split the batch into 2 stripping runs and then double the quantity going into the spirit run and eventually into the cutting process. I should be able to double my output without doubling the labor associated with it.
Step 3 – Make the cuts. I’ll have twice the product which means I can probably be more selective in how I make decisions. I won’t be staring at a half empty jar and contemplating how I spend my time.
Step 4 – Filtering. Very exciting. I’ll keep you in the loop.
Step 5 – Splitting the batch. I’ll age some, liquer some, and, well…yes, probably drink some too.
The long and short of it is that despite the fact that rum isn’t the most interesting thing to make, and it’s not my favorite thing to drink, it’s simple and cheap to make and the yield is high enough that the margin of error will be comfortable with the new equipment.
More to come…