Saturday, May 19, 2012

Distilling season ends

Last Sunday, Pete was polishing the still, coiling up hoses, and boxing up the last of the distilling pieces. It was the last day of distilling season. When I started up the still last October, my hope was that we could distill 50% more rum than the previous year and have it completed by the end of May when the cooling water gets warmer than ideal and all our fermentation tanks are necessary for our beer.

In order to accomplish this, we would have to run the still every day from start to finish (we did take Christmas Day and Thanksgiving Day off). Of course, this didn't leave a lot of margin for error or breakdown. I would also need some help to get this done, so in late September Pete joined me in the distillery.

The next 8 months saw lots of long days, quite a bit of improvement in our techniques, and lots of attention to detail. We were able to experiment on some barrels (sometimes on purpose and sometimes not so on purpose). We discovered some new things about our rum that helped us become even more consistent. We even managed to find some more uses for our used barrels.

As of last Sunday, Pete and I had put down 122 barrels of Thomas Tew Single Barrel Rum (2 more than or goal). We finished 18 days earlier than we originally planned. We were both really glad to have a break from the relentless pace of the previous 8 months. Pete is now focusing on brewing and I'm getting back to focusing on all the activities we have planned for this summer. Pete, never one to miss a moment, brought us two well deserved beers last Sunday afternoon. It was a nice break before getting started on another relentless season. Unlike us, our rum will now rest and in 2 or 3 years we hope to be bottling up all our hard work.