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Making Rum - How important is Dunder?

edited December 2014 in Recipes

In the beggining I made a white rum on 6 plates and I was thoroughly impressed. Recently I made a rum on 4 plates and have been aging it on oak for 3 weeks, problem is its boring! I didn't use any backset obviously a mistake but I'm looking for something similar to Jamaican rum. Not having a great deal of experience with Rum in past Im wondering whether the flavour I'm looking for requires a dunder, or if backset will get me there.


  • Mate, I've only made rum a few times so I'll leave dunder commentary to the experts. What I can tell you is that 3 weeks is nowhere near long enough, my rum took at least 6 months before I was happy with it. But everyone is different and rum separates more people than any other drop I know.



  • Try Buccanner Bob's methods. You might like them.

  • I agree with Mech. In my experience dark rum takes the most ageing to become a familiar drink. IN the first 6-8 months it will still have too much oak character from the wood and it tastes like bourbon.

    Around the 10-12 month mark the wood fades back to the background and the mollasses really comes forward until it totally dominates.

    In my opinion dark rum is at it's best after a minimum of 12 months on oak. Disregard this for white rum (a fine spirit indeed) that is great after airing for a week.

    This may be different for one of the fine sipping rums, but if you want a Bundaberg or Zapaca style rum that's where i'd start.

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

  • I'm going to head on back to the white rum whilst I wait for this to age also to get some backset ;) The white rum is very pleasing but the dark rum really matches your description punkin. 6-12 mths it is :)

  • I agree with what punkin said. I have had best results after the 6 month mark. If you are after a faster result then you will need to go to your HB shop and get some of them over flavored oak chips that taste of rum and port they seem to speed things up when you don't have the time.

  • I'm not hassled for time, its more about making sure I am on the right track. I have plenty of booze that I enjoy drinking, having not made much in the way of flavoured products I was concerned that the flavour had been under done. I want to try and make it as authentically as possible, for me the goal is to produce booze that would be happily at home on the top shelf of a bar =) This is the beginning of my "I DID IT" post, trust me I wont give up!

  • edited December 2014

    Where is Smaug? He's in the heart of rum country.

    I've always wondered what the dunder contribution was when compared with utilizing straight backset without all the microbial goodness. This is obviously very similar to a whiskey backset approach, and I'd imagine similar flavor impact with rum (insert all the impossibly subjective adjectives here, complexity, depth, richness, yadda yadda).

    In a case like this, why not just culture your innoculants separate from the backset? I'd imagine this would ultimately be more controllable and repeatable, despite losing the historical approach. If I recall, wasn't @Stillwagon doing research on this a year or so ago? I haven't searched, but there may be some updates? Should Clostridium Saccharobutyricum be your new best friend?

    The other question I've always had (and simply haven't gotten the chance to try myself) is, given the retort style approach used in traditional rum rigs, could you achieve a similar result through judicious reuse of late heads and tails into batch distillation? If you've got a plated rig, why not just keep recycling heads and tails, or at least some % thereof.

  • Ha, ask one of the rum distillers in the heart of rum country about their dunder program and you get a look that is a cross between 'how dare you?' and 'what are you talking about?'

  • Dunder = rum secret sauce!

  • This is one of those issues where location is important. If you happen to have the correct environment then you might be able to produce the bacterial colony (dunder) and do the combined bacterial and yeast fermentation that is at the heart of this process.

    If you get the wrong bacterial colony though it can be iffy at best. This dunder process does seem to be applicable mostly to the heavier flavoured dark rums. If you are dealing with white or gold rums then you might be more interested in using the (sterile) backset option as a flavour additive for the product.

    Using hot backset as a ph modifier and to melt sugar/molasses for the next fermentation is a different issue.

  • edited December 2014

    @Myles said: Using hot backset as a ph modifier and to melt sugar/molasses for the next fermentation is a different issue.

    I don't know that you can separate the convenience (it's there, it's sterile, it's hot) or economic (save water, save acid) benefits of the hot backset in this from the flavor impact. There will be flavor impact. Run two trials, one using hot backset, and a second using hot water with an identical pH (citric/lactic) and you'll tell the difference. I can't say whether or not it's going to be beneficial or detrimental, that's subjective depending on the flavour profile you are looking for. This is absolutely the case in Whiskey, and I see no reason it would be any different in Rum.

    As for dunder/backset directly in product. I suppose if it works it works, but seems off-the-wall to me. I think that I'd need to do it myself to be convinced.

  • I found that use of backset in the wash was a boon in dark rum, but i didn't use it for white rum where i was after a different profile. I've never played with dunder as i don't want to end up mutating in to a zombie from some kind of biological future attack.

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

  • edited January 2015

    WoW, its getting better and better! After my initial post I took out half of the oak, i really felt it was taking on almost a woodiness and reminded me of scotch. This latest sample I can not detect that woodiness. Instead there is this delicious light vanilla and the molasses which I was struggling to detect starting to take over. I'm revising the scorecard from 1 success and 1 failure to two successes! I know everyone says it will improve over 12mths, but I'm doubting it will make it that far! Thank guys this still is awesome!

  • Nuke it on wood and leave it a couple months you will fall off the chair at how far along it will be...

  • So I stripped two 8 gallon Washes added the 3 1/2 gallons of 40% alcohol I got from that to another 5 gallons of RUm wash and Ran it. I was wondering if It would be a bad idea to use the left over stillage in my Dunder pit

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