The first distillation of rum took place on the sugarcane plantations of the Caribbean in the 17th century. Plantation slaves first discovered that molasses, a byproduct of the sugar refining process, could be fermented into alcohol. This recipe remains true to this original process, it is a simple and straightforward recipe but provides a good base to build a more complex recipe from.
Makes 6L @ 40%
Still Spirits Distillers Rum yeast
300g Oak chips (American oak works well)
1. Pour the molasses into the fermenter and fill with enough hot water to thin the molasses, stir well whilst adding the sugar.
2. Top up the fermenter to 25L with cool water (including 10L of dunder if you have it, see step 8) to achieve a final temperature of close to 30C, use a 30L fermenter as you will need some head-space.
3. Molasses rum wash’s can foam up for the first few hours before they settle down, for this reason attach lid loosely and DO NOT use an airlock until foaming has subsided.
4. Once fermentation has finished (can be as little as 2 days or as long as 2 weeks) put fermenter in a cool position and let the sediment settle for another 2 weeks.
5. Rack the wash off into another container making sure to leave as much sediment behind as possible, let this settle again for 2 days.
6. After second settling period decant into your boiler, once again trying to leave as much sediment behind as possible.
7. Using a pot still, run the still hard and fast taking as much alcohol as you can DISCARDING the foreshots (first 50ml-100ml), the remaining spirit collected is your stripping run.
8. After the first run, you can keep aside the remains in the boiler to use in your next molasses wash, this is called the dunder and improves upon the flavour with each ‘generation’.
9. You can re-distil the stripping run you have collected now but you will get only a small amount of final product. It is best to repeat steps 1-8 and collected 4 or 5 of the stripping runs. 10. Once you have collected enough of the stripping runs dilute down to no more than 40% ABV and re-distill slow and gentle this time, discarding the first 100ml. Collect the rest in small containers throughout this run (a 300ml size bottle/jar is good), you will need a number of these small containers depending on the amount of stripping run you are distilling.
11. Once you’ve collected all the spirit you will have a number of containers, place a towel or tissue paper over them and let them breath for 24 hours.
12. After 24hrs start tasting or smelling the rum from the middle jar working your way out, keep the ones you think are the best (the hearts) and set aside. The remaining jars are the heads and tails, don’t discard these, you can add them into your next stripping runs.
13. Let your final product sit on oak at 65% ABV for at least a month, longer is better, when you have waited enough water down to 40% and bottle, it will get better with age in the bottle.
-You can modify this recipe by changing the type of sugar used, using a darker sugar will give a stronger taste whilst using dextrose will give a cleaner, light taste. Try a combination of sugars also.
-The type of molasses used will affect the final product, produce (stock feed) shops sell an inexpensive molasses which is fine to use (just ask for unsulfured molasses) but if your after a cleaner more refined product get food grade molasses from health food stores, just expect to pay a lot more for this molasses.
Tips for temperature control:
-Use the chilled water to reach a satisfactory temperature and add yeast immediately.
-Maintain a cool even temperature in the fermenter.
-Place the fermenter in a tray and wrap it in a blanket with an end in a container of water.
-Placing the fermenter on a concrete slab can also help to keep the temperature constant.
–Use a Brewing Thermostat and a fridge for optimum brewing conditions all year round.
Equipment needed for mead making:
– 4 Litre Pot
– Medium Funnel
– 2 x 5L Demijohns
– Bored Bung
– Solid Bung
-To make oak spirit use a 4-5 Litre wide neck glass jar, use around 200-300g of oak blocks or chips and 1 litre of vodka/neutral spirit. Soak for at least 14 days but the flavour intensifies the longer you leave the oak soaking. When ready, strain the oak out by passing it through filter wool in a funnel.