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Can rum be overaged?


mbanu
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In the whiskey world, there's a (debated) theory that the amount of age a spirit can handle (evaporation issues aside) decreases as the distillation proof increases, because the lighter flavors from the spirit have more trouble competing with the stronger flavors from the barrel. For instance, some styles of Scotch appear to reach their peak around the same time as a brandy, between 20 and 40 years, while some people think that Bourbons (whose distillation proofs have crept up quite a bit since Prohibition, although not in the same area as rum) peak between 10 and 20 years.

Does this seem to apply to rum? Can rum be overaged?

*Edit: After thinking about it a bit, I remembered that rum is generally sent into the barrel at a much higher proof than whiskey. Would that cancel out any risks of over-aging because of the extra dilution involved to get it to bottle strength, or am I making things needlessly complicated? :)

Edited by mbanu (log)
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It is my experience that rum, like all spirits, reaches a peak of maturity after which the attributes for which we love the spirit decline. While molasses-based rums are typically aged at about 80% alcohol by volume, sugar cane-based rums are typically aged at about 70% alcohol by volume or less.

I tend to like molasses-based rums which have aged from 5 to 12 years, but then if aging is done at a higher altitude, hence lower temperature the peak of maturity may be extended to something more like 30 years. In Martinique it is generally agreed, as much as anything is agreed, that ten years is about the peak of maturity given the temperature and aging proof. As for the alcohol content changing with time. I've seen barrels that have increased and other which have decreased in alcohol content in the same aging warehouse. Temperature seems to be the biggest factor assuming that both barrels are properly bunged.

Edward Hamilton

Ministry of Rum.com

The Complete Guide to Rum

When I dream up a better job, I'll take it.

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<blockquote> Hi, </blockquote>

from what I've read, it's very easy to over-age rums in tropical climates. The aging process is a sum of many chemical reactions, and chemical reactions happen much more quickly at higher temperatures. Aging a rum too long allows the flavors of the wood to overpower the flavors of the rum. Idealy, the flavors are balanced and complement eachother. <blockquote> </blockquote>

This is one of the reasons why rums are often blended, so that the flavors can be balanced. Often, a two-year-old rum will be blended with some five-year-old rum, for example. n this way, the distiller can make the rum taste just the way he wants. with the same level of woodieness from batch to batch. The label should indicate the age of the youngest rum in the blend. <blockquote> <blockquote> Dan </blockquote> </blockquote>

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Next to over aging one can have "bad barrels"as well.

We still have a molasse based rum dist; 1948 and to my knowledge also aged that long which was way over the top and undrinkable!

ed

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Next to over aging one can have "bad barrels"as well.

We still have a molasse based rum dist; 1948 and to my knowledge also aged that long which was way over the top and undrinkable!

ed

That's when you break out the light rum, and see if you can save it through blending, i suppose. :)

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As much as some people try, you can't add old rum to young rum and end up with a good rum. We're talking about congeners in small concentrations that will adversely affect the taste of the finished product.

I've tasted a few rums which were blends of over-the-hill rums blended with younger rums and the results were much less than I hoped for. What's a distiller to do? When a distiller finds some barrels that had been neglected in the warehouse for an extra decade and the rum isn't really good enough to drink straight there is a real temptation to blend it into other blends. Unfortunately, no one wants to admit that their rum is over-the-hill.

Bad barrels are another problem due to lack of maintenance. When a barrel leaks or the bung is loose, all kinds of contaminants can really make a mess of what was good rum. Just as leaving the top off a bottle for a few weeks will destroy a bottle of spirits, poorly maintained barrels are another problem in any aged spirits industry. Fortunately, the problem can be prevented by carefully inspecting the contents of each barrel of rum in a warehouse on a regular basis. Maybe that will be the job I apply for next.

Edward Hamilton

Ministry of Rum.com

The Complete Guide to Rum

When I dream up a better job, I'll take it.

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<blockquote> Hi, </blockquote>

from what I've read, it's very easy to over-age rums in tropical climates. The aging process is a sum of many chemical reactions, and chemical reactions happen much more quickly at higher temperatures. Aging a rum too long allows the flavors of the wood to overpower the flavors of the rum. Idealy, the flavors are balanced and complement eachother. <blockquote> </blockquote>

  This is one of the reasons why rums are often blended, so that the flavors can be balanced. Often, a two-year-old rum will be blended with some five-year-old rum, for example. n this way, the distiller can make the rum taste just the way he wants. with the same level of woodieness from batch to batch. The label should indicate the age of the youngest rum in the blend. <blockquote> <blockquote> Dan </blockquote> </blockquote>

Right. As I've heard from a chemical engineer, that a double in temperature quadruples the reaction rate.

Whit

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  • 2 weeks later...
Next to over aging one can have "bad barrels"as well.

We still have a molasse based rum dist; 1948 and to my knowledge also aged that long which was way over the top and undrinkable!

ed

That's when you break out the light rum, and see if you can save it through blending, i suppose. :)

Someone tried to sell it to us, I am afraid. So guess what we decided:)

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When rum, or any spirit, has been aged past maturity, there is little that can be done. Despite claims about average ages, when you blend young rum with rum that is past maturity, you get a lot of bad tasting rum. It is important to note that the flavors don't know anything averages and adding a little bad flavoring spoils the whole batch. Remeber the old story about one bad apple?

Edward Hamilton

Ministry of Rum.com

The Complete Guide to Rum

When I dream up a better job, I'll take it.

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remember having 2 barrels of Port Morant 23yo. One was a lot better than the other. The bad one had picked up too much wood.

My boss refused my advice of bottling separately and blended the 2 together, ruining the good one butmaking the less good one better.

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Right.  As I've heard from a chemical engineer, that a double in temperature quadruples the reaction rate.

Temperature does affect chemical reactions, but it is more complicated than that. It hurts my head to deal with these things again after many years out of the classroom enjoying the fresh air, but here's a discussion in fairly simple? terms.

You have to remember that the temperature scale referred to is Kelvin, but more important than temperature are the relative chemical activation engeries. Hydrogen and oxygen won't form water unless there is a high enough temperature, but above that temperature the reaction does not occur at a rate equal to the square of the temperature.

Having written that, and taking a long sip of rum, rum does mature much faster in the tropics than in colder climates, which is one reason that Ron Zacapa can be aged 23 years and not suffer from the long time in the barrel. It is aged at about 6,000 feet, and the day I was there in February, it was cold enough that you didn't want to hang around comtemplating the reaction times of chemical reagents. Some things are better understood by tasting them, which is the ultimate test of any of my favorite spirits.

Edward Hamilton

Ministry of Rum.com

The Complete Guide to Rum

When I dream up a better job, I'll take it.

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