lets say you have a distillate that is 135 proof, and you want to add a simple syrup to proof it / sweeten it , how do you measure your abv? Will a hydrometer give you an accurate measurement or does the sugar throw it off?

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Read the gauging manual.

https://www.ttb.gov/foia/gauging_manual_toc.shtml

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https://www.ttb.gov/spirits/proofing.shtml

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thank you both for your reply but how do I determine what the alcohol abv or proof is after the fact. I thought that the dilution was based on the liquid proofing. hypothetically I started with 140 proof 25 gallons and diluted with 25 gallons of deionized watter now normally that alone should bring it from 140 to +-70 proof correct (see attached) ? all things being 60°F. But now how do I calculate alcohol if I ad 25lbs of brown sugar to the mix and stir it in? Will the 70 proof go down? What do you use to measure this correctly short of forking out thousands on an alcolyzer?

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Did you click on the above two links? They explicitly answer your question.

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I did and don't find the answer

can you cut and paste the portion you are referring to?

thank you

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The Gauging Manual linked above has lots of information on dealing with sugar but most of it is irrelevant in your case. If the sugar level is below 600 mg/100 ml (6 gram per liter or 0.05 lb per gallon) then there are short cut and obscuration methods that can be used but at 0.5 lb per gallon you are way above this range and you have to use the distillation procedure described in Part 3 of the video series linked by S101. I don’t think that there is any alcolyzer that is TTB approved for liquors containing sugar and although it would be a very useful tool you would still be required to verify the final proof by distillation.

If you proof your 25 gallons of 140 Pf spirit down to 70 Pf using 214.09 lbs (25.68 gallons) of water to get 50 gallons of mix, and then add 25 lbs of sugar you will increase the volume to above the target 50 gallons. If you have the same alcohol in a larger volume of spirit then the true proof will come down.

The calculation below shows the same numbers but with the effect of the sugar included. This shows that if you add 25 lbs of sugar you must decrease the quantity of water by 15.65 lbs (i.e. 214.09 – 198.44) if you want the final volume to remain 50 gallons and the product proof to be 70.

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Meerkat,

Thank you very much for this. Best help I got. So question still remains how do I actually check the final proof to know I am at my target? Below are my actual numbers, I proofed a 135 True Proof bourbon distillate to 70 True proof then added the 25lb of brown sugar. So I have three dilemmas now.

1. what is my current proof; how to know?

2. How to proof up after the fact back to 70 True proof

3. How to measure this to report to TTB?

My target was 48 gallons of 70 proof

thank you again and in advance if you can help me salvage this batch

Cheers

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Taking each of your questions in turn:

1. what is my current proof; how to know?

The surest way is to measure it using the distillation procedure shown in the third video you were referred to earlier. But you could get close by calculation if you do the sums on a mass % basis. You added 184.68 lb of 135 Pf spirit, 196.57 lb water and 25 lb sugar. The total mass you have is therefore 406.25 lb. 135 Pf spirit contains 59.78 % mass alcohol so there was 110.40 lb of alcohol in 406.25 lb total and the mass% of alcohol is 27.18%. The sugar is 25 lb in 406.25 or 6.15 % by mass. AlcoDens LQ will convert this to Proof.

So we know that you have overshot the target of 70.

2. How to proof up after the fact back to 70 True proof

Assuming you have some more of the 135 Proof available and some sugar, we can regard what you have as the "Base Liqueur" and calculate what you need to add to get to 70 Proof. I have taken the sugar target as 0.5 lb/gallon.

If you add 15.19 lb of 135 Pf spirit and 0.85 lb sugar you will finish up with 51.66 gallons at 70 Proof.

3. How to measure this to report to TTB?

Once again - Video No 3 is your answer.

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The reason that a density meter (or hydrometer) will not work is that if you start with pure water and add alcohol the density will decrease, but if you add sugar to water the density will increase. The way the sugar "works against" the alcohol is called obscuration.

So if you measure a density of (say) 0.95 it could have been caused by first adding alcohol until the density reached 0.90 and then adding sugar until the density rose to 0.95. We would say that the sugar has obscured the effect of the alcohol from 0.90 to 0.95. On the other hand, you could achieve a density of 0.95 by adding no sugar at all and only adding enough alcohol to lower the density from 1.0 to 0.95. In both cases the density is 0.95, but the spirit compositions are very different.

What the procedure in video 3 is trying to achieve is to take a **known volume** of spirit containing alcohol, water and sugar and then distilling it until **all the alcohol** (but only **some** of the water and **none of the sugar**) is distilled over into the receiver. The receiver then contains all the alcohol that was in the original volume and if the volume of distillate is made up (with water) to the same volume as the original sample then we can use the standard tables (or density meter) to determine the alcohol content in Vol/Vol terms - since we have collected the full volume of alcohol that was in the original sample and it is now contained in a volume (of alcohol and water only) equal to the original sample.

**Edited by meerkat**

clarity

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Meerkat is awesome.

Love alcodens, use it every day, can’t wait to use LQ. Indispensable.

Reply:10 hours ago, Silk City Distillers said:

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So if TTB comes out and wants to check your product how would they spot test proof on a product that is proofed with sugar?

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They will take samples and send them to their lab.

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Meerkat,

so you say if I add 15.19 lb of 135 Pf spirit and 0.85 lb sugar you will finish up with 51.66 gallons at 70 Proof. what if I don't add any sugar? how much spirit to add to get to 70proof? this is tasting a little sweeter than I wanted? so I really don't want to add more sugar. Trying to learn the alcodens but new at it

thank you again for your help

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Georgeous,

I am very happy to help you with this calculation and I will answer your latest questions below, but if you have further questions specific to the use of AlcoDens LQ please write to me directly at the support address given in the software. I don't want to annoy the rest of the people here by turning this forum into the AlcoDens support forum.

You have two options if the product is on the sweet side. The first is to ignore the sugar and allow it to find its own level while correcting the Proof. In the Options panel in the top right corner, when you select Base Liqueur as the Target Quantity then the second option (i.e. "Set Product Target For" ) becomes active. In the previous example I had set this to "Alcohol + Sugar" and then AlcoDens LQ will ensure that the targets for alcohol and sugar are met. If instead, you set this option to "Alcohol only" then the sugar will be allowed to find its own level. If you do this you will find that you only need to add 14.695 lb of spirit and the total volume will be 51.53 gallons. The sugar level will be 0.485 lb/gallon and it would probably be difficult to distinguish this taste from the 0.5 lb/gallon case.

The second option would be to set a new sugar target. In this case you would select the "Alcohol + Sugar" option and for example set the sugar loading target to 0.45 lb/gall in the Product panel. Now you would need to add 30.129 lb of spirit and 16.431 lb of water and the total volume would increase to 55.52 gallons.

If you have a lab scale it would probably be a good idea to make up several 1 litre samples with varying sugar levels and do some taste testing. The quantities involved would be so small that you could put the unused samples back into the bulk liqueur when the tasting is complete, without affecting the overall alcohol and sugar levels.

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Meerkat,

thank you again and I will communicate via the support address going further. Thank you for all your help, I am sure all reading greatly appreciate it.

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If you are using other additions to a spirit to make a product (sugars, certain artificial flavors, CREAM, etc.) to make a cordial or liqueur your best bet long term, at least once your volume picks up (if it ever does), is doing a lab desk top distillation.

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Thank you all for the detailed posts. I am just now trying to figure out how to proof products with solids in them. This appears daunting. I bought Alcodens. Now to get LQ.

With proofing regular spirits, its a little simpler, you either add water or spirits to get to your stated proof. Not so simple with solids.

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Proofing products with sugar is a bit more complex because there are more numbers to work out what goes where in the calculator. But once you have done that, all you have to do is crank the software handle and the answers pop out. I have found that a big help is to carefully answer the question "what do I want to calculate?". This might seem trite and obvious but (for any problem) having the question well formulated is always a strong pointer to the solution.

If you have any problems moving over to LQ you are welcome to throw them at me and between us we are sure to get the answer.

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So to address video part 3, it ends with the sample to be tested. So basically as I understand it by watching you are distilling out the alcohol from your product then taking a reading of the distillate to see what proof or abv it is? Am I correct? So a laboratory still, any recommendations where to buy what I will need?

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I am using AlcoDens LQ and am about as confused as a baby in a topless bar. We also do have the Anton Paar Densometer with the alcolyzer in addition to a table top distillation. I want to use AlcoDens LQ to help me know how much sugar and flavoring to use and still achieve our stated ABV. Is this the correct application? If so, can someone please advise me on what to do? I use 15% sweetener, 2.5% flavoring, and .2% acid. Our barrels are coming out around 48 gallons @120 proof. In my old calculations, we seem to be off by about 7-10 proof. Any help is appreciated.

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Tony, AlcoDens LQ can do that calculation for you. Please write to me at the support address given in the help file included with AlcoDens LQ and I will gladly walk you through a few calculations. The learning curve is a bit steep, but fortunately quite short and with a bit of help you will master it very quickly.