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Sugar or Dextrose/ Try honey or molasses

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  • Robert Warren
    ... From: DAVID REID To: Ross Brown Sent: May 2, 2000 6:13:48 PM GMT Subject: Re: [Distillers] Sugar or
    Message 1 of 1 , May 2, 2000
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      ------Original Message------
      From: "DAVID REID" <nzag@...>
      To: "Ross Brown" <rossbrown@...>
      Sent: May 2, 2000 6:13:48 PM GMT
      Subject: Re: [Distillers] Sugar or Dextrose .....

      Dear David, Ross, et al,
      Back about 25 years ago, when I kept milk goats, I
      would feed them molasses lathered on top of their
      grain and alfalfa pellets, as it is a good source
      of minerals for them, especially phosphorous.
      Anyway, I lived in the mountains, and would drive
      to the Port of Stockton (California) once a month
      where I could fill up a 50 gal barrel of molasses
      for $.21/pound. A 50 gallon barrel was around 600
      pounds (273 kilos) and kept a lot of
      goats happy and made them good milk producers. As
      a fuel source, molasses is ideal, as it easily
      mixes with warm water (two parts water per one
      part molasses,) When you add the yeast, it
      ferments pretty good, as the yeast organism love
      too! Molasses, by the way, is what rum is made of,
      that is, sugar cane molasses.
      So I would make the trip once every couple
      of months, and buy one barrel for my goats and one
      for playing at making my own fuel.
      Now at a price of $0.21/pound, a barrel weighing
      600 pounds (molasses is about 12.5 pounds to the
      gallon, same as honey, almost.) cost me $126.00. I
      would get one barrel, mix it down with water, so I
      ended up with three barrels of black watery syrup,
      and take a balling hydrometer reading. I was after
      a sugar content of 25% Anything higher than that
      wouldn't ferment out all the sugar, as the yeast
      will end up dying when the alcohol level reaches
      14%, unless you use a turbo yeast. You end up with
      three 50 gal. barrels of fermented brew, or 150
      gallons at 25% sugar which
      ferments down to 14 % alcohol. Once distilled, it
      yields around 23.3 gal of, for about $144.
      (remember, you get half as much alcohol as you get
      sugar, and next, the formula for 180 proof would
      be (150 gal x .14)/.9= 23.3 gallons. 14 %
      alcohol to begin with, 90 % alcohol as an end
      $126.00 for 23 gallons of fuel works out to around
      $5.40/gallon. You can see I didn't make any money
      with this, but it was a good one-time education,
      something I had to try. I was more interested in
      being able to demonstrate how well the still
      worked, and next, how well engines ran on the 160
      to 180 proof.
      These are some pretty old figures, from
      years ago, but that is what I remember. Molasses
      is what rum is made from. It makes a pretty
      powerful brew when you get 180 proof out of it.
      So, it worked out to about $1.00/gal. I was
      getting it at the port, buying in bulk, where it
      was brought in from Hawaii on tankers, to the
      Stockton Spreckles Sugar plant.
      I just now did a
      search on the Net for commodity per ton prices on
      and this is what I found:
      The Calif. Agricultural commodities directory,
      published by the Dept. of Agriculture, (USDA) ,
      at :
      provides these prices for 4 April, 2000:
      The bulk price for molasses, per ton (2,000 pounds
      : Molasses, Cane Feeding
      FOB Stockton & Los Angeles Ports
      So, $65.00/2,000 pounds = $0.0325/lb. I was paying
      an exorbitant price at $0.21 /pound (but I was
      buying a small quantity, not a whole ton.
      Okay, so lets' do the math for someone buying a
      ton of molasses at a time, say, for $0.04/pound
      (that is $80.00/ton, which allows someone else to
      make some money selling it to you if his price is
      2,000 pounds of molasses / 12.5= 160 gallons of
      molasses. Add two parts water, and you get 480
      gals. Of syrup for fermenting.. If you can get a
      25 or 26 % sugar content (this has to be a high
      grade molasses), then 14 14% alcohol, at 180 proof
      you get 480 gal x .14) .9= 74.6 gallons of 180
      proof. Ok, so you paid $80 for the molasses, and
      got 75 gals. Of fuel, which works out to $1.07 for
      fuel. If you are good at buying and negotiating
      prices and buying in quantity, if you can buy at
      $65.00/ton, your price for fuel is down to
      Now that is a price where a person
      could go into business, because at a raw materials
      price of $0.87/gal, it is not unreasonable to
      figure that the manufactured cost of
      molasses-derived alcohol would be about $1.15/gal
      (we have to figure in fuel and labor costs, etc,
      as well as to capitalize out the cost of
      manufacturing equipment over a ten year period).
      If you can make it for $1.15/gallon, you can sell
      it at $1.50 /gallon, and make a $0.35/gallon
      profit. That is better than what gas stations are
      making these days! I need to remind my readers, I
      am not a drinker and do not advocate this as a
      business for making hootch to sell. I am only
      promoting the making of ethanol as a fuel which
      you can use in your car or truck, instead of
      gasoline. Please see the web pages I have written
      on this , starting with
      and this will link you to Alcohol fuel FAQ's,
      Another product you might try, and I highly
      recommend, (as I have kept bees for over 25 years)
      is honey. There were a few times when I would have
      a big honey accident, like dropping two one gallon
      jars on the concrete steps, or leaving the honey
      barrel spout open when filling 60 pound (5 gallon)
      tins from the settling tank. Honey doesn't make
      any noise as it runs, so it is easy to forget you
      have a spigot open, then discvoery you have a few
      gallons of it on the floor of the honey extraction
      shed, along with a lot of dead bees, ants, mud,
      etc. SO this was another perfect use for my still,
      and I diluted it quite a bit. Honey is 70 % sugar
      by volume. It is a mix of mostly glucose, lots of
      sucrose, smaller amounts of dextrose, but also 2
      or 3% polysaccarides (more complex sugars), plus
      flavors, fragrences, and trace amounts of bee
      pollen. Every honey is going to be differnt from
      other honeys, depending on what flowers were in
      season before the honey was harvested.
      There are likely some books on making mead, and I
      am sure you can find a source for that.
      Good luck, All
      Robert Warren

      In some ways its subjective but I believe yes. At
      the end of the
      day a lot of it comes down to costs and you have
      to weigh this up carefully. Sugar after all in
      most forms is expensive. If it wasn't for the
      tax on alcohol virtually none of us would be
      fermenting and distilling alcohol made from sugar.
      Grains are after all that much cheaper largely due
      to less processing and manufacturing costs. How
      much effect the choice of sugar actually has on
      the finished product relative sweetness taste I
      know. Obviously its not as much as the Relative
      Sweetness for the base starting materials as its
      alcohol made from these materials that we are
      tasting and not the materials themselves any
      longer. At this stage I am still trying to find
      out. I have sent my enquiry off to the technical
      manager of NZ Sugar as their will have been work
      and research done on this sometime in the past.
      When I receive this information I will get back to
      you and other members of the group. All in the
      B.r., David

      -----Original Message-----
      From: Ross Brown <rossbrown@...>
      To: Distillers@egroups.com
      Date: Wednesday, May 03, 2000 8:03 AM
      Subject: [Distillers] Sugar or Dextrose .....

      >Firstly, I would like to introduce myself to the
      list, I have been
      >lurking in the archives for a couple of days
      sucking up knowledge as
      >I'm a newbie to distilling. David, I read your
      previous 'sugar
      >primer'and would like to know the relatve merits
      of sugar and
      >dextrose. I realise that sugar is cheaper and
      dextrose dissolves
      >easier, but does dexrose produce a better end

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