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Giving Rum a Shot...

I was content at just making whiskey when we planned this Distillery thing... Then the accountant gave me reasons to make quicker spirits like Vodka and Gin so I coudl be considered 'in business' by actually selling a distilled spirit.... And that went well, and I was happy just drinking rum and reading all your stories about dunder and aging and whatnot.. I was not getting involved with the complexities.

Why ruin a good thing? I have no idea! A friend from the home brewing world who used my old CD4 and played with rum from pure panela (I guess he was bored with being a hi-tech brewer:


So we hatched a plan, it was to be 100 gallon batches of Panela and/or Molasses at different ratios, and 4 yeasts, so about 16 100 gallon batches to see where we fell in love with it...

Off to get Panella, the only thing Sugardaddy had down at Smaug's was a full supersack, and all we had was 1/2 ton trucks... we tested with a tote of water in the back, and Dean was off to Miami... He showed up after a 4 hour drive right as they were leaving for the long weekend... man, that would have sucked... The sugar was picked up:


the 2340lbs was just a bit over his limit:


but it made it safely back where our brewer next door used his forklift to put it in our air conditioned gift shop:


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  • So then it was time to source some molasses, we got the hookup from a friend on this forum and went and filled half a tote:


    and it was no sudden stops(well, I tried, but some jerk cut me off and the molasses went up above where i could view it in the back window an hour after I took this picture:


    It too made it to the Distillery safely and we put it up on some other totes so we could gravity feed it:


    Then last evening, we started our first wash, 20 gal molasses added to 20gal of boiling water and stirrred the daylights out of it and let it set for an hour... Then racked off into our 380L still boiler that had more boiling water that had 40lb of panela added (after we steam sanitized the column to be a air inlet baffle during cooling) and recurculated while heating with 4 elements to 185 degrees, and then closed the manway and put a fan on the still overnight...


    There was even a video @ Facebook, would you buy a used car from this man or what?

    It was at 104 this morning, and any bugs that made it up through the condenser and back down 26 ProCap plates is OK with me... It is at 98 degrees now, I would like it cooler, we may chill a bit going into the 120gal plastic conicals on wheels and pitch the yeast..

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  • and the first label, can you tell my friend Dean Likes Miami Vice?


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  • The label design is soooo 80's... I like it :-)

  • Haha. Love the label. All you need now is a linen suit jacket with pushed up sleeves and a Bren 10!! (Hair is close enough.

  • I'm assuming you are going to rack off/clarify. Any particular reason why you are going that route?

  • Now where did I put that blue silk blazer...

  • edited July 12

    And what were your yeasts? Usual suspects?

    I'm a huge fan of RM (EDV493). Last chat I had with Joe Kalkwarf at Lallemand, he was saying that they are using a pretty broad range of yeasts in the Caribbean now, and not the usual rum yeasts, beer and whiskey yeasts as well.

    An odd one he mentioned was TQ - one of their new commercial/for sale strains - a tequila variant. I have a pack in the fridge that I was saving for an agave nectar experiment.

  • Great post well written great photos. Couldn't get the vid to load facebook said there 2as a permission problem.

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  • @CothermanDistilling. Bloody inspiring mate. Your a rippa. ( thats good).

  • All we are sayyyyyinnnnggg, is give ruuumm a chaaance.

  • The company work outfit for the rum runs will be a white suit jacket with a pastel t-shirt :-) It will probably only be me wearing it ;-)

    Dean Palmer, Director of Rum @ Cotherman Distilling.

    Dean Palmer - Director of Rum - Cotherman Distilling - Dunedin, FL

  • Here is a link to the video @ Facebook that should work as it's on the public page...


    Dean Palmer - Director of Rum - Cotherman Distilling - Dunedin, FL

  • @grim said: I'm assuming you are going to rack off/clarify. Any particular reason why you are going that route?

    Yes, we are letting it settle to clarify. We were just heating and mixing in the still as it was the largest and easiest vessel to use at the moment. Maybe in the future there will be dedicated hardware for this part of the job :-)

    Dean Palmer - Director of Rum - Cotherman Distilling - Dunedin, FL

  • @grim said: I'm assuming you are going to rack off/clarify. Any particular reason why you are going that route?

    yes, like dean said, we will rack. (definitely after seeing the first sludge that came off the molasses when mixed with hot water...)

    This was a way to heat to 185, and then keep 'somewhat sanitary' while the wash ambiently cools... gotta use the tools you have!

    We have a 'dip tube' (a temporarily re-purposed sprayball arm for my 300gal plastic conical) to pull the clear sugar wash out and pump it to the plastic 120gal fermenters on wheels and will be rolled to a conditioned space, that will happen tomorrow.

  • Has anyone on here has commissioned custom mixing and fermentation vessels???

    Two other rum distilleries I have visited in FL use conical fermenters with agitators in the top center of the fermenter...

    We are not big budget, but definitely looking at a system of sorts: a Steam/bain-marie mix-heater and still boiler, heat recovery system for heating one batch while cooling another, whirlpool/settling tank, and 4 fermenters named Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.... thinking a 1000l system.. that will 10x our current capacity, (actually 100x or more our current actual output, as we are slackers currently.. )

  • edited July 14

    Just finishing retrofitting agitators and flip top lids to our 2 550g jacketed tanks.



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  • Very Nice! Sounds like a blast. Keep us updated

  • Larry can do that system for you.

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

  • OK, put my unikeggle on the small port of out still to strip our first rum wash as an expansion/reflux/defoaming chamber... it worked well and the stripping run was very enlightening... (a three way valve above the condenser shuts off the column..

    Compared to a malted barley wash run, the tails are not nearly as nasty, we even had a point where the elusive rum oils seemed to be present, and for a few minutes, we saw a rainbow on the top of the still when down around 43-44 proof..

    wash was 15% by weight Panela and 85% molasses (43% sugar), 280lbs in 100gal, 1.100 obscured OG and 1.043 obscured FG, and made about 14 proof gallons of low wines..


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  • edited July 25

    @CothermanDistilling said: we saw a rainbow on the top of the still when down around 43-44 proof..


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  • @Smaug said: Awwww!!!!,,,,,,,

    we actually did see the rainbow layer in the receiving container for a minute, but a rainbow over the still sounds more appetizing!

  • 1.043 final gravity? Wow. Blackstrap?

  • I'm a bit confused I think.

    Did you run the vapors from the boiler thru a 2" pipe into the unikeggle then out and into the column or out of the keg and into the product condenser? (Basically like a whiskey hat)

    How did you support the weigh of the keg?

  • The unikeggle is supported mainly by the fittings coming off the boiler, but I seem to recall that the arm above it had a wire to the ceiling framework for additional support.

    Dean Palmer - Director of Rum - Cotherman Distilling - Dunedin, FL

  • edited July 24

    Need a glass version of that - doing single botanical distillation extracts yesterday - and the bumping under vacuum was driving me nuts.

    Rum though - we never get foaming.

  • our first run, so being cautious, also more reflux with a 'helmet' no foaming util 16.5kw (3 elements and at ragged edge of condenser working...) and then it was light foam...

    @Fiji_Spirits - the three way valve blocks the exit of the glass column, the valve lets us choose pot (with chamber that does not cost thousands of dollars) or column... the unikeggle is light, maybe 20lb? just supported by 2" tri-clamp 90's at the bottom..

  • Here is our 2nd 100gal ferment just started, but link is to a Google Drive spreadsheet the Tilt app updates every 15 minutes... we thought we were just at 1.110 or about 26 brix, not sure what is happening with it actually going up the first couple hours...

    Pitched 300grams white star tropical rum yeast in 100gal and measured brix 3 ways -

    PT Rum 0002 (BLACK TILT) @ Google Docs

  • It would appear to be temperature related.

    This Tilt device looks brilliant

  • here is the chart, def not just temp... thinking wash not mixed well in fermenter... oh well, it is moving nicely!


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  • edited July 27

    Re: PLAATO airlock that does everything???? @ Brew Adelaide

    Couple guys on the local beer forum definitely unimpressed with the tilt.

    Someone posted this;

    PLAATO: Reinventing the Airlock @ Kickstarter

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

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