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Old 06-10-2008, 05:52 PM   #1
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Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: North Carolina
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Default Yohoho from North Carolina!

Greetings all. My name is Dana, and I am the winemaker and distiller for a winery and new distillery in North Carolina. In fact, we are the state's 2nd legal distillery since Prohibition--sorry for using the "P" word, I realize I was supposed to keep this clean.

We got our Federal and State distilled spirits plant permits back in February, and are concentrating on making Apple Brandy, Grappa, and (the reason why I'm here) Rum. Also we will be making neutral grape spirits for the fortification of wines in our winery. We only have a 30 gallon copper pot still at present, and when we get all of our formulas and procedures down pat will invest in a larger, production still. We will stay with pot still technology, just get a larger one.

Not having made Rum before, I'm open to any and all sugestions. This will be the first NC rum since Blackbeard's days, and we want it to be good, no outstanding. My personal ethic is if I wouldn't buy it, then I won't sell it. My standards are high. For a few years I worked for a company with holdings in Honduras, and spent considerable time there, where I was exposed to some fine Caribbean Rums.

Our first fermentation finished today. We only fermented dark brown sugar just to get a feel for how our yeast and nutrients might work. The fermentation went a little longer than I had hoped, but the ambient temperature in the distillery is about 60 degrees F. We used a vigorous yeast and fed the fermentation with good nutrients, but the must stayed around 68 degrees F. Our distillery is, at present, contiguous with our winery, so temperature control is difficult. Once we get this thing off the ground, we intend to build another building which will be more suitable to the operation. However on the positive side, the fermentation was very clean and the resulting "wine" tastes pretty good as is. Not elegant, but not offensive.

Question: Do most producers distill immediately upon completion of fermentation, or do they allow time for the yeast to settle, rack, filter, etc., before so doing. To those who have done this, does it matter as far as quality of product is concerned? Remember, we're new to this.

Our plan is to produce distilled products modeled on the Tequila industry. Make some for sale that is white--young, unaged, some reposado--aged up to a year in barrel, and some ane~jo--aged over a year in barrel.

We have ordered some high grade, unsulfured molasses for further experimentation, and upon arrival will go ahead and ferment that. We will see which makes the best tasting rum (brown sugar, molasses, or a combination of the two.) We are not allowed to use sorghum molasses, as it is considered a grain by the US gov't, and under current laws it is illegal to process grain beverages in a distillery attached to a winery.

Again, any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Will try and keep you posted as to results.
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Old 06-10-2008, 08:22 PM   #2
Edward Hamilton
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Congratulations Dana and welcome to the forums. The question of fermentation time is a difficult one. There are a lot of variables, and like you know with wine, it depends on what you like. Fortunately working with a distilled product you can redistill if necessary and since you're looking to make alcohol for fortified wines you have a place to use your experiments that aren't quite ready for prime time.
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When I dream up a better job, I'm going to take it. In the meantime, the research continues.
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Old 06-10-2008, 10:06 PM   #3
Hank Koestner
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Welcome to the MOR! Sounds like a great and interesting endeavor. You will get plenty of info on this forum, and you will have many willing subjects to taste your final products!
Rum is the answer. What was the question?
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Old 06-10-2008, 10:23 PM   #4
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And a Yoo Hoo to you Dana! There are a number of members here to answer your "tech" questions. Along with Hank I welcome you and your venture to the forums here. Saludos!
Waylaid in the West Indies
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Old 06-11-2008, 04:45 AM   #5
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Welcome to the forum, Dana. I look forward to following your adventure as it unfolds.
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Old 06-11-2008, 11:01 AM   #6
Paul C
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Location: Los Angeles
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Greetings Dana.

Originally Posted by DanaAcker View Post
under current laws it is illegal to process grain beverages in a distillery attached to a winery.
Well that makes perfect sense.

I'm new here too and it's a treasure trove of info.

Best of luck with your new endeavor.

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Old 06-15-2008, 08:23 PM   #7
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Welcome aboard!
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Old 06-17-2008, 11:06 AM   #8
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Location: Costa Mesa, California
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First of all. . . Welcome.

Secondly. . . this adventure you are undertaking sound quite exciting.
i will look forward to reading about progress!
The best of luck to you.

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