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Old 11-05-2008, 02:16 PM   #4
Edward Hamilton
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The biggest variables in molasses: sulfur, ash and sugar content can be better controlled when you own your own sugar mill that makes your molasses. For the rum producer the problem with buying molasses as a commodity on the open market comes when you change suppliers.
When the molasses changes you have to change the fermentation, much like the bartender has to adjust their recipe for changes in the juice content of limes or the sugar content of their simple syrup and even if you make your own simple syrup, changing the kind of sugar you use makes a difference in the finished product.

Distillers analyze every batch of molasses they receive but changes are a challenge. The freshness of the molasses is also a concern, although molasses does have a long shelf life, if the brix is high enough, it doesn't last forever and will begin to ferment if not properly stored. In Venezuela at Distilerias Unidas, for example, the molasses is stored in tanks set into the ground which keeps the molasses cooler than it would be in above ground steel tanks in the tropical sun.
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