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What compounds make some rums taste awful to some people?

There are quote a few rums that my friends and I cannot take a sip of without cringing, the flavor is of grassy lighter fluid poured on an old band-aid, and proofing down with a mixer makes it worse...

I do not get it in any old school big name rums, so It think it is a flaw, but some people seem to be immune to it's offensiveness.. This awful aroma and flavor was in more than half of the craft rums at last years Miami Rum fest... And I see awards like silver medals going to some of them... I look at the flavor charts, but they all have descriptors of pleasant things... and no one seems to ever say anything bad about anyone's rum, but to us, it is heinous...

We have worked hard to remove the 'twang' as we call it from our products, and I am thinking it is a phenol (bandaid) or and infection (acetobactar or similar) that is from the fermentation process and not being selective enough with heads cuts...

Comments

  • So many just not rounded out yet. Too young.

    StillDragon North America - Your StillDragon® Distributor for North America

  • edited January 26

    Band aid is either Brett infections or they are using POF+ yeast.

    Rum is incredibly sensitive to phenols.

  • I learned all about POF+ when I fermented a batch of rum using a high ester ale yeast.

    Every clove-y yeast is POF+, for example - hefe yeasts.

  • @Smaug said: So many just not rounded out yet. Too young.

    Oh, hell no... not that.. I have bottles of silver that I wouldn't give Otis from Mayberry...

  • Not the answer your looking for, but for many the offensive ingredient is molasses. For the same reason many can't stand a peated whisky. I do hear what your saying/ asking.
    I've only made rum once and it was full of all mannee of offensive compounds.
    The only way I could imagine cleaning it up would have been to put it through at least 7 plates and a packed section and some carbon! The flavour was that powerful.

    Now, I had the same feeling about my first peated whisky run. Too much peat and undrinkable, at least immediately. I found that after 2 years on oak all the offensiveness was gone and the peat was almost gone.

    Time on oak does amazing things. Patience, as always. These things cannot be rushed. Yes tighter cuts can produce a ready to drink product now but if can wait, the wider cuts will produce a better product.

    I'll keep an eye on this thread to see if you can find yeasts that produce significantly different results.
    For us, yeast is a minor to near insignificant contributor to the final product. The barrel has the biggest impact on the final product. So much so that even the distiller is considered a basic and replaceable grease monkey. Quite frankly this is not something we artisan distillers like hear.

  • I meant no offensive to our grease monkey members, I could have worded that better.

  • If using molasses then the quality of it is important.

    I worked seven years in a sugar mill and a lot of time doing quality control (sucrose losses) on molasses. If molasses gets water (even just a little bit) added well before final use it starts to suffer infections leading to those bandaid and phenolic off odours. Sniff test the molasses before you buy it; decline it if it smells in any way fruity or marmaladey.

  • I just may have a Philistine's taste, but in a recent move I found some agricultural molasses rum that's spent maybe 4 years on oak, and I love its rich flavor. Smooth, too.

    Zymurgy Bob, a simple potstiller

    my book, Making Fine Spirits

  • edited January 29

    I've noticed these flavours are present when the rum is too young (relative to the amount of late heads included) - agree with @Smaug's comment. I don't like the "grassy lighter fuel" type flavours either. I don't think all distillers taste their wares. I wasn't too impressed with many of the exhibits at the London Rumfest 2018

  • edited January 29

    We age our white from 6-9 months on oak and than decolorize. The process gives us nice vanilla and coconut flavors. The longer you go, the more difficult to completely decolorize - silver or platinum would be a more accurate color description. Suppose you can call this the Puerto Rico process.

    Well spent barrels will minimize this oak contribution, but will still pick up enough color to require decolorization.

    We've tried vatting in totes, doesn't really yield the same amount of 'smoothing'. We really like the vanilla contribution.

    We may shift to old spent 53g, as using smaller barrels (10, 15, 30) for this process makes the logistics painful.

    Quasi-solera in a large foudre would be awesome.

  • @kimbodious said: If using molasses then the quality of it is important.

    I worked seven years in a sugar mill and a lot of time doing quality control (sucrose losses) on molasses. If molasses gets water (even just a little bit) added well before final use it starts to suffer infections leading to those bandaid and phenolic off odours. Sniff test the molasses before you buy it; decline it if it smells in any way fruity or marmaladey.

    I am betting this is the closest answer... I wish I could hand you all a snifter of the 2 that are the most heinous, I don't think 10 years in a new # 3 char oak barrel would cover it... if you come to FL, PM me and I will tell you the ones to grab a sample of from a bar, they are pushed by big money and collecting dust on bar shelves...

  • edited January 29

    @CothermanDistilling said: I am betting this is the closest answer... I wish I could hand you all a snifter of the 2 that are the most heinous, I don't think 10 years in a new # 3 char oak barrel would cover it... if you come to FL, PM me and I will tell you the ones to grab a sample of from a bar, they are pushed by big money and collecting dust on bar shelves...

    Doh!! Yeah I know what you mean. Gotta run that that stuff till all that (bad) funk is scrubbed out. Not worth the time or effort buying cheap molasses that has been rung and rung and rung through the centrifuge. If the molasses taste like a piece of copper,,,it ain't worth the effort imo. At least if your trying to market as silver.

    StillDragon North America - Your StillDragon® Distributor for North America

  • All this talk about molasses has got me thinking about using molasses as the syrup base for a coffee liqueur. My wife used to make a very dark caramel slice using molasses, yumm.

    Check out this series of photos from where I used to work and the bulk storage of molasses. That bagasse would have made Hamish so itchy!

  • What is the purpose of diving into the drink? Shits and giggles?

    StillDragon North America - Your StillDragon® Distributor for North America

  • That's got to be a bachelors party of sorts stunt.

  • Hamish and Andy are a TV/ radio comedy duo.

  • I find most Rums fairly rank tasting when young, to much tails added to the mix and not enough time in the barrel

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