Rum is a loved liquor by many people all over the world. There are also quite a few different types and brands to choose from.
This liquor can vary from clear to almost black and it can be flavorless, spicy, or rich.
Very few people do know how to make rum or what this tasty beverage is made of. It takes 4 – 10 days to make this tasty drink and different techniques or ingredients can affect the taste of this spirits.
In this quick guide, we are going to take a quick look at the easiest way to make rum.
Can I Make My Own Rum?
It is entirely possible to make your own rum. Lots of people all over the world enjoy making this fine beverage as a hobby. It is however illegal to sell your rum without proper licensing.
Making your own rum for the very first time is going to seem tricky. But once you have mastered the techniques required, you will have more control over the proof, flavor, and color of your liquor.
When making your own rum, you should keep in mind that no batch is ever identical. Simple things such as temperature changes can drastically affect the quality of your rum and you are never guaranteed to produce rum with the exact same flavor, color, aroma, or proof even if you use the same amount of ingredients.
Can You Make Rum Without Distilling?
It isn’t possible to make your own rum without distilling. By simply fermenting your wash, you won’t be able to produce a product with over 20% alcohol. Even producing an alcohol level over 15% takes a lot of hard work and requires a lot of skill.
The proof of rum brands can vary quite a lot. Rums with the lowest proof usually have an ABV of 40% or 80 proof. This liquor can be distilled to be much stronger and can have a proof of over 150.
What Are The Ingredients In Rum?
This liquor is made of some pretty simple ingredients. Most rum only include molasses, processed sugar, distilled water, and hydrated yeast. Some rum brewers will also add additional ingredients such as spices to create rum with a rich and spicy aroma.
How Long Does Rum Take To Ferment?
The fermentation process is just the first step to making your own rum. It takes 3 – 10 days for rum to ferment. The best way to see if the fermentation process is complete is by using a hydrometer. If the hydrometer reaches 990 and stays on this level for three days, your rum will be fermented.
If you don’t have a hydrometer, you can check when the yeast settles at the bottom. This usually happens when the top of your wort is no longer foamy looking.
Basic Rum Recipe
Are you ready to make your own rum? We are now going to share a quick recipe to help you get started.
- 3 ½ gallons distilled water
- 2lb sugar
- 3 quarts molasses
- 1 tbsp. distillers yeast (Many also believe that Fleishman’s active dry baker’s yeast will work just fine)
You will also need a clean stockpot, distiller, or a still kit to make your own rum at home.
The Fermentation Process
Before you can start making your rum, your product will have to undergo a fermentation process.
Here is a quick look at the main steps required for fermentation;
Step 1 – Add half of your distilled water, all sugar, and all molasses to your stockpot. You should now warm up this mixture until it is warm but not too hot for you to stick your finger into it.
Step 2 – Allow the mixture to cool down to 75 – 80 degrees F. This is the perfect temperature to activate yeast without killing it. Take a bit of sugar water from the mixture, dissolve your yeast into it and wait until it starts to bubble. Once it bubbles, you can add it back to the stockpot. Once you add the yeast, your mixture will be called wort.
Step 3 – Add your wort to a fermentation bucket with an airlock. Store your bucket at 70-80 degrees F. In 24 – 48 hours you will start noticing bubbles coming through the airlock.
Step 4 – Once you notice the bubbles, it is time to time your rum. From this point, it will take 3 – 10 days to complete. Start testing your wort every day from the 3rd day. Once your hydrometer reaches 990 and stays at this level for 3 days, it will be finished.
At a 990 hydrometer level, your batch will likely produce a 32 – 39 proof alcohol. If you want to make a stronger rum, you can let it sit for longer.
At this point, the yeast will have settled at the bottom of the fermentation bucket and your wort will no longer look foamy. You will also note a strong smell coming from your fermentation bucket.
The Distilling Process
Once your mash (what your product is called after fermentation) has been successfully fermented, it is time to run it through the distiller. You can add it to your distiller but don’t add the yeast that is settled at the bottom of your mash. The yeast will only cause your rum to taste strange. Here is a quick look at the steps of distilling your mash.
Step 1 – Slowly bring your mash to a boil. You can start adding cold water to your distiller when the solution reaches 50 – 60 degrees C.
When you see drops of liquid exit the spout into your collection vessel, the distillation process will begin.
Step 2 – it is important to discard the first 100ml of liquid that comes from your spout. This liquid is called the “head” and is discarded because it contains high quantities of methanol which can be dangerous for consumption.
Step 3 – Collect the rest of your distillate. You can stop collecting when your mash reaches a temperature of 96 degrees C or 204 degrees F.
How to Increase Your Rum Proof?
At this point, your rum should have a proof of 32 – 39 and the liquid will likely be dark brown.
If you want to make rum with a higher proof, you can run it through the distiller again or even a third time.
You will notice the rum turn lighter with every run. It will also increase in proof every time it is distilled.
Age or Flavor Your Rum
Once your rum is distilled, it will be ready for consumption. Many do however prefer to age their rum in wooden barrels but if you don’t have 10 years to properly age your rum, you can also add oak chips to your mixture for three weeks before filtering your flavored rum through a cheesecloth.