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RUM AGING SCIENCE

PART I (2020 Q1)

WRITTEN & PHOTOGRAPHED BY LUIS AYALA

A

ging is the most value-added transformation that rum can undergo while at a distillery or aging cellar, but aging spirits in general involves so many variables that distillers/cellar masters often leave key decisions to chance (building insulation, orientation, etc.). To further complicate things, the scarce literature on rum aging tends to be centered around the Caribbean basin, where large distilleries have been producing rums on industrial scales for multiple generations. How is the modern craft distillery, with a small still and a relatively small warehouse, supposed to define and carry out a successful aging program? In this new series, The Rum University and Rum Central will closely monitor and share data from a single barrel so that readers can better understand the transformations that rum undergoes while aging. The barrel was filled in late December 2019 and the rum’s chemical transformations will be monitored throughout 2020. Different climate conditions around the world affect these transformations in different ways, but while the effects are universal, the results presented in this new series will be those from Rum Central’s Florence Distilled Spirits Plant, located in central Texas, USA.

EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN

change inside the barrel?

++ How much rum will be lost to evaporation?

++ How fast will the pH lower

++ How much will the proof/

and at what level will it reach equilibrium?

ABV drop during aging?

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As part of this study, we are monitoring hourly changes to temperature and relative humidity inside the cellar, near the location of the selected barrel and in two other locations within the same cellar:

++

Simply collecting data, while tempting and easy, doesn’t always answer all the questions that are at the core of our understanding of a particular problem. Here are the questions we will try to answer as we carry out this study (these questions shape our data collection methodology):

++ How fast will rum’s color

ENVIRONMENTAL PARAMETERS

CHANNEL 1 — Central area of the warehouse (where our single barrel is located)

++

CHANNEL 2 — East side of the warehouse and

++

CHANNEL 3 — West side of the warehouse

PHYSICAL PARAMETERS We are also monitoring physical changes of the rum inside the barrel, including:

++ pH

++ Color

++ ABV

++ Composition 113

Profile for Artisan Spirit Magazine

Artisan Spirit: Spring 2020  

The magazine for craft distillers and their fans.

Artisan Spirit: Spring 2020  

The magazine for craft distillers and their fans.

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