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Best Craft Rum Wash Mixing-Heating-Cooling Setup currently in use...

Want to mix and heat at least 1000L or rum wash (backset, water, molasses and sugar) to 185 and then cool...

prefer actual in place systems that are purchasable or assembleable... options on table include "same tank mix/heat/whirlpool/settle/cool" and 'Heating in one tank and heat recovery to next wash while cooling and transferring to fermenter'

and GO!


  • Jacketed conical with mixer?

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  • that is one option, but they get tall.. do you need a cone, or is just a dish bottom 'bright tank' as good.. can get nearly double the volume from the same diameter.. looking to see what is in use...

  • edited July 2017

    You planning on capturing and reusing yeast?

    If so, you'll want a conical.

    The math is in favor of this. We pitch 1000g of Distillimax RM per 2000l batch. That's $60 a batch. Batch a week, 52 batches a year, that's $3,120 in yeast. You can cut that to $480 a year easily, that's $2,640 in your pocket a year.

    This is especially the case if you are sterilizing your wash and clarifying. Your yeast will be very clean.

    You can cold crash to drop your yeast in a dish bottom, but you'll have issues getting a nice compact slurry out.

  • edited July 2017

    In out jacket totes, we drain out of the higher port - leaving about 25 gallons in the tank. To reuse yeast we pump over cooled wash to mix the yeast and get a second batch out of a pitch.

    We can't go 3x - after the second ferment the yeast volume is massive. Probably 2 5 gallon buckets of slurry.

  • Mixers seem to shave about a day off of fermentation time.

  • Why not strip off some of that excess yeast from your bottom port and go again @grim.

    In the brewery we repitch our dry ale yeasts 10 times and "liquid" yeasts we only buy a new pitch every 18 months. Need to be pretty happy with your sanitation alright

  • Also need to think about not reusing the yeast if live dunder is added to the ferment.

  • Depends on the mollasses and what preservatives are in it i think. I would always have trouble with a wash pitched on the lees. It would take 3-4 weeks for a second iteration and then a 3rd would stall.

    I always put it down to residual preservatives settling out with the lees and thence building up in forther ferments as i couldn't find another explanation.

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  • edited November 2017

    Greetings to the list,

    This forum is great and thanks to all of you here for guidance along the way.

    I would add that questions of your target flavor profile and scale are also important.

    I am trying to move away from using backset and towards cultivating rum flavor in a mixed ferment. That makes cultivating my whitestar D497 between runs one part of a multi stage ferment.


    I take a yeast slurry off the bottom of a running ferment early in the process. This slurry goes through growth stages until I have about a 5L starter from the original mason jar. The new 5L starter goes back to a clean conical to which I add a thin mash of about 10-12 brix. This controlled ferment goes for a couple days and I harvest the yeast again. After I harvest the D497 I then add a 'biome' (essentially a sourdough starter) that can tolerate higher ABV and changes the flavor profile. It's all experimental and I have tried various store bought and wild cultures here with varying success. All that said, yeast cultivation is an important part of searching for my flavor profile.

    With regard to scale my processing of molasses looks like this. The Molasses is generally around 80-85 brix when I get it, though I dont have any kind of glucose analysis - just a refractometer that has its problems. I dilute to 40+ brix , raise the pH and heat it up to around 80*C in a mash pot. Future expansion has this mash pot controlled by my kettle controls. It stays at this temp for about an hour, ideally with little to no caramelization. I drop the temp and pH and try various methods to get the organic solids to drop out. I have had reasonable success whirlpooling the thick mash in one of the conical fermenters, where I then store it for a production cycle and dispense for the cultivation of my starters. Essentially decanting the molasses thick mash and taking off the top during the production cycle.

    From the conical that holds the thick mash I bring it back to the mash pot, further dilute it to the 10-12 brix, heat process if necessary, chill it and pump it onto the waiting yeast starter in the next conical. I generally will add a little more thin mash to increase my potential abv during the ferment. With one fermenter going I can start the next one. I continue this production cycle until all the fermenters are full or I have run out of thick mash. We are running two 100L conicals and 4 plastic 50L presently, this makes four 100L batches to the kettle.

    If I remember correctly, Arroyo recommends a convex bottom for very large fermenters. At this point I don't know about cultivation of top fermenting or pombe yeast. Osmotic pressure in a very large fermenter becomes a stressor.

    This system seems to work well at my scale - the stainless conicals are relatively cheap over hear and all i need is a dedicated mash pot and the standard cooling and circulation equipment. And my dream WVO Centrifuge.

    Jacketed conicals would be great but I need to learn if massive fermenters change the cultivation game before spending that money. I would imagine you would at least need a different type mason jar.

    800 x 600 - 77K
  • @CothermanDistilling - how are things going with the tote?

  • Glad to see proper conicals being used for ferment cropping and also with side exit.

  • We are not using the stainless tote yet...

    We have a Monday/Thursday program where on each day we ('we' is stretching it, it is my new employee that used to be free intern) empty a 100gal fermenter into the still and start it, clean the fermenter, rack two 3-day old, 50 gallon drums of heated/settled/mixed mix of molasses/water/dunder into the fermenters and add nutrients and 02 and yeast for a 7 day ferment, clean the drums, run the stripping still, mix hot water and molasses in the drums, shut off the still when done and top off the drums with dunder by pumping int though the racking arm to get a whirlpool, covering drums and shutting the lights off... working like clockwork currently and we have a 250gal SD B-M still on order and will look at glycol jacketed fermenters soon...

    We have the runs down good enough now we can justify tweaking one thing like yeast culture and have faith that is the only variable...

  • Is anyone using the other option for yeast instead of harvesting. I am talking about maintaining a clean 'mother' from which you take your starter for each batch.

  • That would be ideal but consistent and predictable results could be an issue. Here is an easy experiment. If your in the tropics get 5kg of field fresh cane and macerate it and store it in the fridge. Day one take 250g of the macerated pulp and 250g water, put it in a clean bowl in a 25*c area. On the next day and each day there after, throw out all but 100 g of this mixture and 'feed' it with another 250g macerated cane and 250g water. By day ten you should have activity - and you can start to change the feeding to your regular molasses nitrogen mix. All the microbes in this mix will reach some form of stasis if temperature, feeding time and sanitation is observed. This is what bakers do but their concern is flavor and C02.

    The question is will you hit your target ABV and will you have a well balanced rum flavor. Generally I get heavy propionic or lactic acid bacteria. I also get a slow running fermentation.

    Breaking the fermentation down into periods that I can manage - first with a store bought but cultured starter then with something like a tightly controlled dunder or biome gets me closer to my target. Unraveling these mysteries is what makes rum such a terrior labor of love.

  • Macerate? @phnphunk

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  • edited November 2017

    If you stop by one of those road side carts that grinds up the cane, you can mix the ground pulp up with the fresh juice and keep it in the fridge for a bit.

    Otherwise, section the cane small enough to fit in a pot and split it into as many small fibers as possible with any collected juice.

    Alternately, since the microbes we are looking to cultivate are mostly on the skin of the lower sections - take a potato peeler and get the skins off and use in sugar wash.

    The important thing is the regular 24 hour feeding with new sugars and more of the bacteria/yeast source. You should target 8-12 brix in the growth medium / cane juice. Then keep an eye on the growth cycle....

    If you take the waste out of one days feeding cycle, put it in a new larger container with twice the sugar - in volume not in brix, then you start to grow a footing for the next fermentation. Check out The Yeast Book on growing your starters:

    Yeast: The Practical Guide to Beer Fermentation (Brewing Elements) @ Amazon

    I have had best luck using the footing when it is at its most vigorous ferment. Once it plateaus the yeast becomes stressed and doesn't start as quickly. If however your looking for a long slow ferment at lower temperature these stressed yeast can be a source of flavor gold.

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