Stop Taking Heads Cuts

edited May 12 in General

Well, dipped into the two test barrels this week. These were funkier Jamaican style molasses based rums.

First test barrel - normal batch (1 week Ferm), proportional share of heads added back into the barrel.

Second test barrel - this was a longer fermentation (3 weeks Ferm), 5 barrels worth of rum in this batch, the entire heads cut from this volume of rum was added back to 1 of the 5 barrels. I underfilled to leave room to add back the heads cut. The net was far higher proof than the other barrels. I did this on a whim when I was setting up to barrel. Thought first test batch barrel was interesting, why don't I amp it up far beyond that. Not only not taking a heads cut, but adding back and essentially completely concentrating the heads volume unnaturally by 5x. Now, our heads cuts on this style are never nasty, in fact I love opening the feints tank for a smell.

Both barrels are fantastic, and exhibit characteristics that I've been missing from our rums. Our white is normally a 1.5x distillation style, very flavorful, but very clean on the nose. Dark rum, even with heavy dunder and bacterial fermentation, close, but still far away.

Only about 6 months in a 30g ex-bourbon at this point, so still very young, but f*ck me the 5x concentrated heads is fantastic. Based on what I'm tasting right now, this will undoubtedly be the best barrel of Jamaican style dark rum we've ever made.

Take it however you want.

Comments

  • edited May 11

    In agreement with heads in rum. I used to call my white rum H&T Rum. Which was heads and tails.

    The heads that i left/added back were all the late heads, the less acetone, but sweet late heads. the tails i added back only if i found that middle tails portion that was in the middle/late tails that was good. Not always there, or not always clean. So not always added.

    The late heads make it a more rounded, complex flavour that fills the mouth.

    I thought it was just something that appealed to me.

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

  • Yeah, more and more this makes sense.

    Some out there still make cuts on a stripping run. Its good rum but its more like a rum for the masses.

    StillDragon North America - Your StillDragon® Distributor for North America

  • I only take about maye 5% in my stripping run for a whiskey. I will take a litre or more, in a 300l stripping run where I will get about 40l of low wines. About the same with a spirit run. As well I always go deep into the tails. My final spirit on the spirit run is about 51 to 52%. There is so much more flavor in spirits that you dont get when you take more narrow cuts. A couple of years ago I had a woman over to my house to taste my whiskeys. She used to be the head of quality control for Seagrams and was a professional taster and had 20 people also tasters working under her. When she tried most of my whiskys as teh time he comment was you always go into the tails. I said yes and she said thats great as there are some fantastic flavors in the tails that almost all distillers dont get into.

  • @DonMateo said: I only take about maye 5% in my stripping run for a whiskey. I will take a litre or more, in a 300l stripping run where I will get about 40l of low wines. About the same with a spirit run. As well I always go deep into the tails. My final spirit on the spirit run is about 51 to 52%. There is so much more flavor in spirits that you dont get when you take more narrow cuts. A couple of years ago I had a woman over to my house to taste my whiskeys. She used to be the head of quality control for Seagrams and was a professional taster and had 20 people also tasters working under her. When she tried most of my whiskys as teh time he comment was you always go into the tails. I said yes and she said thats great as there are some fantastic flavors in the tails that almost all distillers dont get into.

    My experience with rums (for my personal taste) is that whiskey is far more forgiving than rum in the tails department. It is the heads that contribute to the more familiar aromatic rum qualities that I think of when I think of rum. Banana, pineapple, coco nibs, stone fruit etc.

    StillDragon North America - Your StillDragon® Distributor for North America

  • edited May 13

    Agree with that, for 100% blackstrap rums, it’s easy to get into some really acrid tails fractions.

    That said, in both whiskey and rums, the late late late tails (aka - backins) - can be really interesting.

    I’d love to proof down some of these test barrels with the late watery tails fractions to really amp up flavor.

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