Blackstrap Molasses in Rum Production
Rum is a great portfolio spirit for both new and established craft distillers: it has a compelling history, it’s perennially popular with consumers, versatile in cocktails, and can be packaged as a white spirit as well as aged in wood. Plus, its production is fairly straightforward given the right raw materials. The Technical Sales team at BSG Distilling has some tips to share for producing rum from our new Blackstrap Molasses.
Blackstrap Molasses is flexible, used for both rum creation, and color enhancement and flavoring of fermented malt beverages. Produced during the refining of pure, non-GMO sugar cane, the resulting Blackstrap Molasses is the final by-product. Oddly enough, molasses creates its own by-product during the distillation process, one that can be critically important to the flavor aspect of the final product. Dunder, also known as backset, is this element, and is the effluent remaining behind in the pot once the first distillation is complete. It contains various by-products of its own that assist in future fermentations, including dead yeast cells that feed new yeast as a nutrient. Dunder can be stored by refrigeration to use in future distillations. The quantity of the dunder is dependent upon hitting the pH targets of 4.5-5.5.
In setting up your Blackstrap Molasses distillation, we recommend an optional pretreatment of molasses, provided by BSG Distilling’s Andy Causey. Dilute your batch of molasses to 45 Brix, and adjust your pH with dunder (or acid blend, if not using dunder) and preheat to 158f-185f. Let this settle for 30 minutes. After the rest period, decant off the settled ash. This step clarifies the molasses and helps in all the subsequent steps of your recipe.
To avoid hassle with finding the right yeast for molasses-made rum, we also recommend using Pinnacle Distillers Yeast S and Fermentis SafSpirit C-70, which work optimally at a pH level of 4.0-6.0 with Blackstrap Molasses. Pinnacle Distillers Yeast S is an active dried yeast, well-suited for use in-batch and in continuous fermentations of molasses and pure sugars. Helpfully, it has a high tolerance to residual sugar. Fermentis SafSpirit C-70 is a robust, multipurpose strain, and one of the most popular strains for distillers. It’s used extensively in the Caribbean and Central America for producing good quality potable alcohol and rums from sugar cane juice or molasses.