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The Big Dunder Pit Thread

My first dunder pit is coming along nicely after just one week. I am starting these off in 5 gal buckets but will transfer them to a 55 gal drum tomorrow. This is from my first rum run so there isn't any generational buildup. After I added the dunder to the buckets I added a piece of sugar cane to hopefully capture some of the correct bacteria. Dad advised me to keep them in until they sprout. After one week, they haven't sprouted but holy shit, something is growing. It has been in the 80's here for the last week and I have kept the buckets open with a paint strainer over them to keep the bugs out.

The first picture is kinda hard to see because of the strainer but that is when I started them. The next picture is obvious. Think I can put a lid on them now. I will be adding about 20 more gallons of dunder to the pit in the next week. I just need to add a spigot to the tank. I plan to add it about 1 foot above the bottom so that I can get the good stuff out without disturbing the disgusting stuff on top.

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Comments

  • You've gone over to The Dark Side!

    I'm more like I am now than I was before.

  • FC I always reckon they just look like mold and would make you sick as a dog.

    I would flush it down the drain and chuck the bucket away....but I don't make rum and certainly have FA knowledge on rum production.

    I cannot get my head around using such a thing in to produce something that we finish up drinking.

    Part of my background is in the fresh food industry, so I'm biased, temp control, hygiene, cleaning and sanitation has drummed into me for many years and its hard to change my thinking.

    Good luck with what your doing how-ever.

    Cheers

    Fadge

  • @fadge said: FC I always reckon they just look like mold and would make you sick as a dog.

    I cannot get my head around using such a thing in to produce something that we finish up drinking.

    Mate, I can't work out why people drink breast milk from cows, but they do. Heat anything up and there will always be someone that will drink it or eat it.

    Is there a time limit on keeping this dunder before it becomes a highly toxic nerve agent?

  • edited March 2015

    FC that's looking quite nice, looks just like whats has grown on dunder that I have left laying around in buckets for a bit to long. I put my first pit down last week , not much has happened as yet, but it shouldn't be long hopefully.

    @Mickiboi said: Is there a time limit on keeping this dunder before it becomes a highly toxic nerve agent?

    Micki from the reading Ive done, Dunder pits need quite a while to come into their own,. Different phases or changes need to take place within the pit. My understanding is that a year is a good amount of time to leave the pit to stew. Some of the better information on Dunder pits at a hobby level can be found on the different forums by searching for posts on dunder by "Hook"

  • Thanks SBB. A whole year.........I better do some reading

  • When you get it RIGHT maybe you should take off a gallon or two of good bio-dunder and deep freeze it to start another batch if you lose the mother?
    Get it right and share starter cultures with others?

    Dunder pit ain't wrong, its just haphazard to most of us. Needs to have a bit of standardization like yeast cultures for wider acceptance. White Labs or other specialty yeast purveyors should be alerted to our needs.

    I'd think that very few here would rely on wild yeast for any ferment, why should a dunder pit be any different?
    I've seen everything from "toss in a handful of dirt" to "let steep in the garden for a few weeks". That is hardly assuring to someone putting down a 20L fancy molasses ferment or, especially, to someone doing a 2000L molasses ferment.

  • edited March 2015

    Note: I do realize the bio-dunder does not actually interact with the ferment until loaded into the boiler.

    I'd still appreciate being able to buy a strain that was proven instead of so hit-and-miss.

    Edit: Do y'all add the bio-dunder to the ferment or just to the boiler with the wash as I am led to believe?

  • Those high resolution photos are fantastic. You must be a proud papa. I agree with Lloyd on the dunder project.

  • @Lloyd said: Note: I do realize the bio-dunder does not actually interact with the ferment until loaded into the boiler.

    I'd still appreciate being able to buy a strain that was proven instead of so hit-and-miss.

    Edit: Do y'all add the bio-dunder to the ferment or just to the boiler with the wash as I am led to believe?

    Lloyd, I wouldn't risk a rum wash by putting this into the fermenter. Making a rum wash costs me about $60 for a 26 gallon wash which is by far the most expensive wash that I make. I'm using fancy molasses now and it is about $15 a gallon. Well worth it after the feed molasses failure earlier this year but wouldn't add an unknown bacteria until it goes into the boiler.

    Oh, and Fadge, I used to work in an operating room so I am kind of a clean freak as far as contamination if you can believe that. It just seems to me that to get the best, most complex rum, this is a necessary evil. If I even THINK that this has gone south, it will go on the ground.

    BTW, I should have named this thread "The Dunder Pit Thread" so that everyone would feel welcome to post their experiences, photos and opinions.

  • The Big Dunder Pit Thread

    Done :)

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  • edited March 2015

    Dunder pits @ AD

    12 pages of dunder pits on Artisan. You'll notice my messages of support placed here and there. :^o

    StillDragon Australia & New Zealand - Your StillDragon® Distributor for Australia & New Zealand

  • Looks like a lambic beer fermenter midway through... whatever you call what lambic beer fermentations go through.

    Common lambic beer forum thread topic: "Show Us Your Pellicles!"

    I'm more like I am now than I was before.

  • The clasical method does in fact use a symbiotic fermentation with bacteria from the dunder pit and yeast. I tried it once but the results were not good. I suspect your climate has to be just right.

  • @Myles said: The clasical method does in fact use a symbiotic fermentation with bacteria from the dunder pit and yeast. I tried it once but the results were not good. I suspect your climate has to be just right.

    Being in a fairly hot part of Florida, I am probably in a pretty favorable climate to do the full on live dunder in the ferment method. That said, I think I will probably stick with the fresh dunder in the ferment and the slimy, furry disgusting version in the boiler right before distillation. My adventurous side only goes so far. Actually I have to believe that the stuff under the cap probably looks a lot like a regular rum wash. That's the stuff that I will be using.

  • 2 month update:

    Checked in with the dunder pit and this is what I found;

    It now has a cheese smell, and why not? I have about 25 gallons in the 55 gallon drum and I think I will leave it at that level and not add anymore until I take some out, if that happens. Hoping that this is one of the "phases" that the dunder goes through on its was to being useful. Not sure if the stuff under the cap smells like cheese or not. If this goes south, at least I will have something to put on sandwiches.

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  • Hey Cracker, My personal feeling is that we are now moving into a better season for dunder pit development.

    I'd start another and see what develops.

    Should only take about two weeks and you'll have a very floral batch.

    StillDragon North America - Your StillDragon® Distributor for North America

  • edited April 2015

    Fromunda dunda?! :-O

    The positive attributes of silver rum become more apparent every day!

    I'm more like I am now than I was before.

  • @Kapea said: Fromunda dunda?! :-O

    The positive attributes of silver rum become more apparent every day!

    Speak more of this talk please.

    StillDragon North America - Your StillDragon® Distributor for North America

  • Funny that you bring that up Smaug, this dunder smelled awesome and floral for about the first month. I'm gonna let it run its course because I don't have any new dunder coming along for a while. I have a 5 gallon of dunder/backset in the fridge from the last run that I plan to use for my next rum wash and I ain't gonna risk that. 4th generation stuff.

  • edited April 2015

    Somewhere between vomit and cheese would be the target, no?

    Butanoic acid/butyrate being a product of clostridium (smells like vomit), propionic acid begin produced by propionibacterium shermanii (cheese, body odor).

    Both of these are the precursors for the primary rum esters, no? Isobutyl propionate - Rum, Ethyl Butyrate - Fruity/Pineapple, Methyl Butyrate - Apple/Fruity, n-Butyl Butyrate - Fruity/Pinapples, n-Amyl Butyrate - Apricots, 3-methylbutyl butanoate - Apples.

  • If the goal is somewhere between vomit and cheese, I need to start using this stuff RIGHT NOW. From what I have gathered, it should revert back to floral smelling or something a little more pleasant.

  • that @grim guy always impresses us with his knowledge... that simple post is something you would have to do several searches and lots of reading for and then decipher it...

  • I have strains of clostridium and propionibacteria on order, I'm going to start separate cultures in molasses. I'll let you know how rank they both smell.

  • My experience is solely predicated on fear. If it smells good I use it.

    If it smells bad I pour it on the ground.

    StillDragon North America - Your StillDragon® Distributor for North America

  • Smaug knows rum, grim is crazy. Your mileage may vary.

  • @grim said: Smaug knows rum, grim is crazy. Your mileage may vary.

    But, crazy in s good way... :)

    I'm more like I am now than I was before.

  • @Smaug said: My experience is solely predicated on fear. If it smells good I use it.

    If it smells bad I pour it on the ground.

    That's why I am giving mine more time to turn around. Does not smell nice right now but is has only been 2 months and I have heard that it can take up to a year.

  • edited April 2015

    There are some different thoughts to the dunder protocol, no?

    1. Added at start of fermentation.
    2. Added at some point after fermentation (6-12 hours).
    3. Added at distillation.

    Was reading through the Rum chapter in the Alcohol Textbook, and Murtagh indicates:

    A pure culture of bacteria such as Clostridium saccharobutyricum may be added after 6-12 hrs of the yeast fermentation. Usually the bacterial inoculum amounts to about 2% of the fermenter capacity; and the pH of the fermenting mash is adjusted upwards to about pH 5.5 before addition to give more suitable conditions for the bacterial propagation. The bacteria produce a mixture of acids, predominantly butyric, together with others such as acetic, propionic, and caproic acids. These acids in turn react with the alcohol to produce desirable esters.

    Which is more in line with how I'm looking at things (the dunder pit is only the holding place for the bacterial culture, the dunder contribution is the bacteria). You could theoretically carve this into two separate processes - the use of stillage as backset for the next fermentation (non-innoculated) - and maintaining a separate bacterial culture "dunder pit", to be added at some point post yeast - in which case you get both benefits in a more controllable setting.

    I'm assuming the reason to wait 6-12 hours is to both give the yeast a head start (in case the bacterial culture contained other wild yeasts), and to provide the Clostridium with a more desirable environment - lower sugar content, per the Arroyo patent:

    It is found that the bacteria became inhibited whenever the sugars concentration of the medium was higher than about 6.0 grams of total sugars per 100 ml. of mash, or whenever the alcoholic concentration in the fermenting liquid was over 8.0 percent by volume, or whenever the pH decreased until it approached the value of 4.0.

  • Twiddle my thumbs while my cultures come.

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