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More about Destilerias Unidas S. Address Destilerias Unidas Venezuela The plant covers 12 hectares and has a production capacity of some eight million 9-litre cases a year. Although chiefly a rum distillery, the facilities also house a self-contained grain processing plant and grain distillery as well as a separate gin distillery.
DUSA distils from corn, rice, malted barley, molasses and sugar cane honey to make a wide range of products from liqueurs to whiskey and gin, in addition to rum. He is only the third Master Blender to work at the distillery since it was founded in The truth is that it was not his love of rum that most influenced his career change, but the love of a woman.
Molasses arrive from the local sugar processing plants by tanker and are literally poured into the eight underground storage tanks with jointly have a total capacity of 16, metric tonnes. DUSA seeks molasses with the highest sugar content possible but with a low ash content and low viscosity.
In Venezuela sugar prices are set by central government and are so low that the processers can make more money by supplying DUSA with a high sugar content molasses than its removal for sale as processed sugar.
Fermentation Romana tanks huge vats which sit on scales are used to weigh the molasses 24 to 28 tonne batches so that on the way to the fermentation tanks the correct amount of water and then yeast can be added to dilute the brix sugar content to 18 brix. A sample of this is used to start fermentation in a propagator with a small amount of diluted molasses.
Oxygen is pumped in to ensure aerobic fermentation, and the yeast multiplies as it feeds on the glucose in the molasses. As the yeast cell count increases, more molasses are introduced and this starter fermentation is moved to the next tank.
Of the 18 open-topped, , litre capacity fermentation tanks, 14 are reserved exclusively for rum production the other four are used for fermentation of cereals. Air is pumped through the molasses at the start of fermentation from a pipe that runs around the base of each tank to ensure aerobic fermentation and the continued multiplying of yeast cells. Once the cell count is deemed to have reached sufficiently high numbers the air supply is cut to start anaerobic fermentation the yeast cells stop reproducing and start producing alcohol and carbon dioxide.
DUSA controls the fermentation process, depending on whether the contents of the vat will go on to be used to make light or heavy rums. Light rums require a short fermentation, with 28 tonnes of molasses taking a maximum of 24 hours to ferment, so maximising the amount of alcohol produced.
Conversely, heavy rums which are made from 24 tonne batches of sugar cane honey have an extended fermentation process of around 48 hours, so maximising congeners to provide character and flavour.
Distillation Both light and heavy rums are first distilled in column stills. Specific columns are used for the light and heavy rums. Nothing is wasted. The second distillation of heavy rums takes place in No. The shape of the lyne arm from these stills and the undulating copper pipes linking the retorts make these two stills look a little reminiscent of the Lock Ness Monster.
The two retort chambers are charged with distillate from a previous distillation and these help achieve higher alcohol strength in the final distillate. The second distillation of semi-heavy rums takes place in a batch kettle, known as still No. The batch kettle, a huge copper cylinder lying on its side resembles the boiler of a steam engine and is heated by internal steam pipes.
This is charged with 40, litres of wash which boils to send its vapours to the tall batch column for distillation, producing a distillate with a strength of The second distillation of light rums takes place in two more modern computer-controlled column continuous stills. These are of stainless steel construction with the top section of the second column being copper.
The distillate produce has the same strength as the semi-heavy rums at Ageing DUSA predominantly uses ex-bourbon barrels with some re-filled whiskey casks, but in recent years have experimented and introduced a small number of sherry butts.
According to Venezuelan law, to be called rum the spirit must be aged for at least two years. The heavy alcohols which require the longest ageing, years, are stored in the coolest parts of the warehouse while the lightest rums, stored for just over two years, will be placed in the warmer parts of the warehouse. Despite these losses the barrels are not topped up during the ageing process indeed, once filled, sealed and placed in the warehouse, the barrels are not moved or opened until they reach bottling maturity.
DUSA has 21 warehouses holding some , casks and to spread risk, stocks of different styles of rum and maturity are spread evenly across all the warehouses. Bottling DUSA bottles its own rums, including Diplomatico, in their on-site bottling hall so as they have their own sugar cane fields it is feasible that some of their production is per cent estate rum.
After blending and approval by both the tasting panel and the laboratory, the rums are hydrated with well water which has been demineralised by reverse osmosis and ionic interchange.
Diplomatico rums are given a very gentle filtration prior to bottling to maintain fatty acids and mouthfeel. This is the merest filtration Tito considers necessary to ensure the rum remains clear and bright when exported to cold climates though Blanco Reserva is also charcoal filtered.
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