Where to find molasses

Hi all,

Looking to do my first Rum ferment, but I haven’t been able to find molasses other than in a 500g jar. Can anyone recommend somewhere to get it in Perth? And should I look for a specific grade?

Many thanks

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Comments

  • You can look for restaurant or bakery supply stores. They have food grade molasses by the gallon or bucket

  • edited March 8

    Have you tried the stock feed places? That's where I get mine from (in Sydney not Perth)

    I did a quick search and found these couple of links for you

  • Most Rural feed stores have it in bulk. BYO container. Have fun, its sticky as hell when cold! I was banned from fermenting molasses washes in the house, they made it smell absolutely delicious!!

  • Dunno about Australia, but in the US agricultural molasses sometimes has urea in it, which can't be great for rum. The Land o' Lakes brand I've used in the past in the US has no urea and makes absolutely great rum. Strongly flavored rum, mind you, and not that dainty silver stuff.

    Zymurgy Bob, a simple potstiller

    my book, Making Fine Spirits

  • Thanks all. @crozdog I followed the advice in that link and called the store rather than just looking in the website or walking round the store like I did yesterday. Bingo, they keep it out back and fill the pails as required. 25kgs Was $37 including the pail. Now I have to learn how to use it...

  • On the south end of a northbound mole?

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

  • good stuff @Dreamer dissolve the bucket of molasses & 25 kg sugar in a 200l drum, add yeast and your away.

  • Seems very expensive. The refinery molasses or food grade molasses here is $1.00 a kg, the C grade or cattle grade is a third of that. Must be a Perth thing.

  • edited March 11

    Transport costs money.

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

  • Hopefully I can make something drinkable out of it! So far I’m 0 for 2!

  • Keep at it @Dreamer mate. If it was easy everyone could do it. The first two whiskey washes I did I screwed everything up and only got about 2 litres out of 400litres of wash. I wasnt crying in my beer I was crying in my crap whiskey. But the next one I got 10 litres out 200 and then I got 20 litres out of 200 litres. The first time I did a corn whiskey moonshine run I used whole grain and didnt cook it right and I got a litre out of 200litres. After a half a dozen runs I am getting 25 litres of low wines out of a 200litre run. Its an experiential thing. Once you have the knowledge no-one can take it away.

  • Thanks @DonMateo, you must have ready my mind - just wrote another post about my failures so far! I'm sure i will get there eventually and the journey along with the frustration is absolutely part of the attraction. If it was easy it would be boring.

  • As JFK said we choose to go to the moon not because it is easy but because it is hard. If you want to do easy things then go and make beer. I figured out a little while ago, that I have probably fucked up about 20 % of my runs in the last 2 years that I have been working out my recipes while waiting to get the money together to buy a shed to do my distillery. Which is about 10 in about 50 runs. But each time I screw up I figure out what went wrong and then keep going and fix it. Keep at it mate. There are plenty of people on this board who acknowledge when they fuck up and how many times they have, and probably a lot who dont. You didnt learn to ride a bike in a day.
    Anyway I am just sipping on a very nice smoked quinoa whiskey I am running right now feeling very clever. The last two times I tried the same recipe both washes failed because I fucked up and the yeast was cooked at the temperature inside the tank got too hot in the sun. The wait was worth it.

  • edited March 13

    Brewing good beer is not easy. It is the hard part of making good distilled spirits. Distilling is the easy part.

    As George Fuechsel said, "GIGO."

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

  • Keep at it @dreamer. No matter what, there are some mistakes you always seem to repeat. last weekend i was filling the boiler and then realised i hadn't closed the drain valve. Couldn't tell you how many times i've done that. lol

  • Haha thanks guy, @crozdog i havel already done that twice...

  • Molasses query to SD Forum

    I have some molasses questions (for rum, of course).

    Over a period of several years I made batches of rum from 2x 50-lb buckets of Land O' Lakes blackstrap cow molasses. I made very strongly flavored white 151, oak-aged and carameled faux Zaya, spiced, and jes' plain aged sippin' (also super in hot tea), and I always had super rich lovely flavor in potstilled rums. Yet, I'd always hear that my rum's quality would improve if only I would use "fancy" molasses, or at least clarify my molasses before I prepared a fermentation.

    Well, doing some rum experimenting for the distillery, I sought my Land O' Lakes blackstrap, and it seems to be no longer available. All my searches for (un-urea-ed and un-propionic acid-ed) cow molasses failed. I was very happy to find Golden Barrel blackstrap (baker's) molasses at a reasonable ($37/57lbs) price, so I could now make some serious rum.

    What a monstrous disappointment! My reasoning was to make part of the rum from a pure molasses-water wash, understanding that I'd have to dilute to tame down that wondeful rich molasses flavor, even though I was starting to grasp that my wash did not have that rich molasses favor I had come to expect from my Land O' Lakes molasses. What I actually got had only a very light rum flavor, almost none at all compared to my old stuff.

    Finally, when I tasted a spoonful of hot dunder straight out of the still, expecting that great bitter flavor, what I got tasted like beef broth lightly flavored with molasses.

    I'm looking at Prairie Pride dried cow molasses from Amazon (that Prime free shipping could help), but I can't seem to find a data sheet for it.

    So, is that Golden Barrel an outlier for fancy molasses, or do they all make insipid rum? I place no premium on "clean" molasses; I potstill over propane and I leave all the gunky solids on the bottom of the fermenter. It's the flavor I want.

    Has anyone else run into any of this, and if so, what solutions have you found?

    Zymurgy Bob, a simple potstiller

    my book, Making Fine Spirits

  • edited May 30

    For Golden Barrel specifically, I found that 50/50 bakers and blackstrap gives me the flavor profile I like for aged/dark product, the Bakers alone is nice for a clean white, with just a hint of burnt sugar, caramel, molasses, but it's not enough.

    My theory is this.

    As sugar tech improves, and has been improving over the last decades, the quality of "true" blackstrap is falling, and will continue to fall. More sugar crystals are being harvested/extracted as the point of diminishing returns continues to move lower.

    Therefore, if you are looking for blackstrap "of-old", you need to reengineer it by reversing the process. Essentially, add back higher grades of molasses to hit the point you are looking for.

    This is exactly what International Molasses is doing with the Black Pearl series - these are blends to hit specific targets.

    Or, clarify during use. Pre-Arroyo, the quality of blackstrap was likely higher, and you didn't see a need to clarify. The sugar content high, ash low, fermentables good. Since then, I strongly suspect low-grade molasses has gotten significantly worse in quality. Also keep in mind, many of these guys were clarifying to keep their continuous rigs clean, not because it necessarily made a better quality product.

    You may like their blackstrap straight too.

    I agree though, the fancy bakers is light. But I think it makes a fantastic clean white rum (PR-style). 9-12 months on used bourbon cooperage and then decolorized. Big vanilla, coconut flavors from the oak, a nice light caramel and burnt sugar. Smoooooth and silky.

  • The other factor to consider, is many of the feed grades are blends from multiple plants. You may find that they aren't necessarily consistent. When you look at the spec sheets and the ranges are wide enough to drive a tanker truck through, probably a random blend.

  • +1 on the spec sheet. More or less useless beyond ash content.

    Bob what is a well known commercial rum that most resembles what you are shooting for? Just trying to get a handle on where your taste lies.

    StillDragon North America - Your StillDragon® Distributor for North America

  • @grim said: Or, clarify during use. Pre-Arroyo, the quality of blackstrap was likely higher, and you didn't see a need to clarify. The sugar content high, ash low, fermentables good. Since then, I strongly suspect low-grade molasses has gotten significantly worse in quality. Also keep in mind, many of these guys were clarifying to keep their continuous rigs clean, not because it necessarily made a better quality product.

    Straight from Arroyo's "Ethanol Fermentation of Blackstrap molasses":

    Among the most important shortcomings of blackstrap molasses from the standpoint of their fitness for rum and alcoholic fermentation may be mentioned:

    1. low total sugars
    2. high total non-sugars
    3. high ash
    4. high gums
    5. deficiency in yeast nutriments, especially as to nitrogen and less frequently as to phosphoric acid
    6. variable degrees of microbiological contamination in the form of various bacteria, wild 3 yeasts and moulds

    The presence of the high non-sugar ash and gum constituents has heretofore made it necessarycto employ relatively high dilutions, thereby further augmenting the deleterious effects of low total sugars and nutriment 4 deficiency.

    This fits with what I have seen, I get better fermentations and distillations if I dilute more,throw away more, and add more acid/nutrient, which, with the cheap cost, is acceptable...

    On the spec sheets, I agree, they don't give a whole lot, which is a shame, this year has been a bit weird with our molasses, yield and fermentability are a bit off of last year, and one major craft distillery had to send back a tanker of refiners because the the motor on the pump was overheating 10% into the pumping.. I probably need to come up with a lab still test with a few variables to get a sense of what directions a batch of molasses is going, but that only makes it worthwhile when we get a whole tanker full and the effort is spread out over 30-40 runs..

    Was picking up my blackstrap yesterday and the guy at the place I deal with is next door to a very large distillery here in FL, he knew their molasses buyer that previously worked there for over 20 years (he was not sure if he ran the still or not), he only used the refiners grade to keep the column from getting as dirty, but they carefully monitored the price difference and would switch to blackstrap if the difference was too much... he also said the refiners grade actually had crystals still in it..

  • @Smaug said: +1 on the spec sheet. More or less useless beyond ash content.

    Bob what is a well known commercial rum that most resembles what you are shooting for? Just trying to get a handle on where your taste lies.

    Larry, I'm almost embarrassed to say I've been drinking my own rum for so long I don't have much comparison. The exception that comes to mind is Zaya Trinidad rum, which my son introduced me to a few years ago. A sipping rum, I loved it so much I bought a bottle and copied it it, fairly accurately, I think. It's just a nice flavorful rum, oak aged, and with caramel added. Oh, yeah, and I did a passable Sailor Jerry spiced, but I suspect any rum would work with spices.

    I once did a rum with filtered dunder added back. Also strong flavored, but it went over passably well.

    I've never tasted a rum like my white 151 proof, with a very rich, almost thick, flavor, perhaps more rich than some might care for, although nobody like that ever tasted it. Believe it or not, it worked as a sipping rum. I've never aimed for making liquors for mixing.

    Zymurgy Bob, a simple potstiller

    my book, Making Fine Spirits

  • @CothermanDistilling, as far as Arroyo's shortcomings are concerned, none of them has been an issue. For shortcomings 1 through 4, I wouldn't expect any of those to cause a lack of flavor, although possibly they could cause bad flavors, which I've not experienced, not by my standards, anyway. I always used to add sucrose to the wash trying to approximate the molasses from 17th century Caribbean sugar mills. I probably have more gunk in the bottom of my fermenters than folks using fancy molasses, but that's ok by me.

    For # 5, I've never had a straight molasses or molasses/sucrose that didn't ferment vigorously without added nitrogen or phosphorus, even if the final gravity was higher due to all the unfermentable sugars. Even at that, this last batch had a FG of 1.020, lower than my favorite (if dextrinous) scoth ale, which always came in at 1.024.

    I'm ready to accept that I may be looking to keep flavor levels higher than is commonly desired, but having had those flavor levels, I'm loathe to give them up. I guess I'm just a conflicted old potstiller trying to figure out where to go. Thanks everyone for all the super input.

    We just ordered a bag of dried cow molasses for further experimentation, even though I could never see a label or MSDS. I'll keep you posted.

    Zymurgy Bob, a simple potstiller

    my book, Making Fine Spirits

  • Zaya is believed to have an astronomical amount of sugar added to it. Something like 20 grams a liter.

  • Once upon a time Zaya would have been right up my alley. Things change.

    Now it's a good drizzle over strawberry shortcake.

    Sipping? Only if diluted down with rum.

    StillDragon North America - Your StillDragon® Distributor for North America

  • edited May 31

    That’s like 4 teaspoons of sugar per 750ml bottle, just for reference.

    That much sugar even in shit rum makes it absolutely delicious for sipping.

  • @zymurgybob said: For # 5, I've never had a straight molasses or molasses/sucrose that didn't ferment vigorously without added nitrogen or phosphorus, even if the final gravity was higher due to all the unfermentable sugars. Even at that, this last batch had a FG of 1.020, lower than my favorite (if dextrinous) scoth ale, which always came in at 1.024.

    this blackstrap is tough to get below 1.040 in a 9% wash... even on a stirplate... with settling out 10% of the volume first and adding chemicals...

  • @grim said: Zaya is believed to have an astronomical amount of sugar added to it. Something like 20 grams a liter.

    Mine was not quite as sweet as the commercial, and all the sugar involved came from home-made (hence partially converted) caramel.

    Zymurgy Bob, a simple potstiller

    my book, Making Fine Spirits

  • @CothermanDistilling said: this blackstrap is tough to get below 1.040 in a 9% wash... even on a stirplate... with settling out 10% of the volume first and adding chemicals...

    Hmmmmm. That tells me a lot about the unfermentables in Golden Barrel. I guess by the flavor results I'm not surprised.

    Zymurgy Bob, a simple potstiller

    my book, Making Fine Spirits

  • @zymurgybob said: Hmmmmm. That tells me a lot about the unfermentables in Golden Barrel. I guess by the flavor results I'm not surprised.

    I am not talking about golden barrel, I am talking about my blackstrap..

    edit: leave an extra carriage return between what you are quoting and your reply so the system will separate them.

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