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Proof Question

I am currently filling my barrels of rum at 130 proof. But what do you think is the optimal proof for barrels as small as 30 liters?


  • Usually it is said to fill barrels with 65% ABV alcohol. But I think you will have a lot of angels share with a 30L barrel - they are only meant for short time use.

    Oak adjuncts (have you had a look at our oak products? ) are the better solution. Rum does not have to be in a barrel for a certain time to call it Rum as I recall.

    StillDragon Europe - Your StillDragon® Distributor for Europe & the surrounding area

  • edited November 2017

    forgot to add: we don't have proof in Austria. So if you drink this Stroh Rum it is actually 80% ABV!


    420 x 800 - 50K

    StillDragon Europe - Your StillDragon® Distributor for Europe & the surrounding area

  • I am sorry but I don´t think my customers would like to invest in a jar with oak products. I am selling barrels in advance. A way to pay the bills while waiting for my own rum to be matured in oak barrels and bottled in a few years from now.

    I reckon it will be very costly to use oak product instead of barrels for a professional. Do you not think?

  • edited November 2017

    you will think different when you see what is left in the barrel. I know, since most of my friends hat the same problems. What do they do? They let the spirit mature in a stainless steel barrel with more or less oak adjuncts in it and then fill it in a real small barrel - for a short time. If you let the customer think that they can leave the rum for longer time in the barrels you have to advise that the angel share is -- a lot -- in smaller vessels. Otherwise they will not be happy ;)

    Of course the same goes for bigger barrels but they don't have that huge amount of loss like the small ones.

    Oak is not costly in the adjunct size. It is actually a convenient product that helps you keep the same quality over time again and again if you don't go all the barrel way. Many of our customers use it and buy large amounts of it. It is real oak and sometimes a good way to improve the quality of the spirits if something is lacking in the taste. You are in the good position that rum has not to obey the same laws as whisky, which gives you the favor of not having to let your money sit for 3 years (and loose a fair share to the angels)

    If you make nice cuts and age a bit, the rum will be very good!

    StillDragon Europe - Your StillDragon® Distributor for Europe & the surrounding area

  • Of course I tell my customers about angels share.

    Steel tanks and oak products is not an option in this case. I am sorry @Sunshine!

    I really would like a rum producer to answer my original question if possible. The one about the ultimate proof (or ABV if you better like that) for rum supposed to be stored in barrels. @grim maybe?

  • I personally prefer low barrel entry proofs, even for rums, 110-115.

    Oak cost for rum is minimal as we are talking about used cooperage. Laying down half a million dollars wholesale value of rum($25/btl) only takes 65 53g barrels.

    At that volume, oak cost is only around $150 a barrel, so what, $10k. Even dealing with shipping, maybe $13k? You are looking at 2.5% of wholesale value, even at a 55% entry proof.

  • edited November 2017

    @Sunshine said: Rum does not have to be in a barrel for a certain time to call it Rum as I recall.

    That comment is very dependent on where you are located. Here in Australia the tax office states:

    Brandy, whisky and rum are spirits that:

    • possess the taste, aroma and other characteristics generally attributed to brandy, whisky or rum, and
    • must be matured in wood for a minimum period of two years.

    Note this specifically states "IN WOOD". you cannot use a SS tank with dominoes or staves and legally call your product rum. Sure you can do it, but you cannot call the product rum.

  • How about spirts aged in stainless steel vessels stored “In Wood” rickhouses?

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

  • or in a crate.

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

  • haha - who wants to fund my legal costs when I challenge that??

  • in the EU rum has not to be "in a barrel" and does not have to age for a certain amount of time.

    Whisky has to age for 3 years, but it does not have to be a wood barrel.

    StillDragon Europe - Your StillDragon® Distributor for Europe & the surrounding area

  • edited November 2017

    Don't understand, we're past the barrel shortage. There are barrels, everywhere, for low prices.

    What's the problem that we need to find alternatives? I could understand when there wasn't a single barrel produced that wasn't allocated, and if you didn't have a contract from a year ago, you got scraps, as best. Even the big makers like ISC are taking new accounts again. Two years ago they wouldn't even return your call. Now? I can call them and get a dozen 53s in a few days, at a price nearly half of what I would have had to pay to a third-party/middleman.

  • and still far, far cheaper than in 'new charred oak'... hell a friend has a line on a truckload of wine barrels and racks just for the shipping... worth that for the racks alone, and get barrels for free of arts and crafts...

  • He has racks? I need racks.

  • Not to mention that at this point, cost per gallon stored in stainless is going to exceed oak, especially used oak.

  • @Grim For Europe, the wine harvest has been the worst since 1945. This means that for us, distillers, we can purchase barrels for a very reasonable price. The barrel factories need to keep their machines working.

    On topic, I would advise to fill any barrel less than 75 liters with max 45% ABV and sell as soon as possible before the product will be over oaked or flavour profile is going sideways. BTW, how are the barrels charred?

  • edited November 2017

    Don't forget about the small barrel maturation curve, it goes like this:

    1. Young harsh distillate.
    2. Tastes faintly like whiskey.
    4. Wow, that's really good, I now realize that # 2 tastes like shit.
    5. Ah christ, now it's really over-oaked.
    6. Garbage.

    Many pull at # 2, on the upswing of the extraction curve. I feel this is incorrect, misleading. You generally see these as products aged 6-8 months in 10 gallon. What you get it extraction products and color without maturation products. Bitter/Dry Tannin is on the upswing, peaking in # 3. But, it's not until these have some time to oxidize/react, settle down, allow the vanillin/syringealdehyde to come through.

    For us, # 4 is 12-14 months in a 10 gallon. # 5 if about 15-16 months.

  • Thank you @grim and others. I will probably water it down a bit more in the future. 45 % may be too low for my climate I think, @MokumMoonshine, but I will experiment.

    The barrels I have used so far are ex bourbon first fill, but I don´t know to what grade the original barrels was charred. I must pay attention to that small barrel maturation curve. The product taste slightly as whiskey by now :))

    It is not a problem getting barrels over here as well. But with middlemen a bit more expensive.

  • Exactly, the risk is that the consumer/end user says; I've got a barrel with alcoholic solution. I will stash that barrel for 5 years in a little dark corner and I will have amazing whisky/Rum/whatever. Even though you advise to consume within set timelimits.

    If that solution is undrinkable it will be YOU that will be blamed and not that stuborn consumer.

  • Unlikely to happen because of the Swedish laws. We have to bottle the customers liquid and bring it to Systembolaget where the customer collects it. A person who buys a barrel of me will test the content regularly before deciding to bottle it.

    But in reality the customer can pour everything in the barrel again at home.

  • edited November 2017

    @Sunshine said: in the EU Whisky has to age for 3 years, but it does not have to be a wood barrel.

    Depends what part of the EU, there is special legislation covering Irish Whiskey.
    3 years in used oak barrel is speficied, along with many other conditions

  • Second fill go through the same curve but stage 3 is not as distinct. You can probably double the first fill timelines too.

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