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Jun 08, 2022 View:

Required Lab Techniques for Small Distillery

Hi all,

I've just been at the TTB Expo in Kentucky (feel free to read about that at http://tinyurl.com/ttb-expo-2009), and I've got a question about the "best practices" of the small distiller with regards to lab techniques.

First, the TTB folks described two most common lab techniques to gauge spirits for proof: Using a simple lab distillation with volumetric flasks and a glass condenser (i.e. cheap but error prone and time consuming) OR a densitometer (i.e. expensive), and doing an obscuration test to get a weight on solids. Neither test seems very difficult in itself if you can handle basic high school chemistry.

However, my question is HOW OFTEN are people doing these procedures? There seems to be the implication that gauging of this kind must be done several times a day: When product is first distilled, when product moves from production to storage, from storage to processing, from processing to bottle, before blending, etc. A lot of gauging!

Are people just using hydrometers and thermometers and that's working for them? Or do we really need daily proof measures to the hundredth decimal place, like I'm hearing at the expo?

I would think the TTB would be most concerned to get the gauging done right when the product is bottled so that they can get an accurate taxation on the bottle, and protect the consumer's interests for labeling.

Feel free to post here or call me or email me with your experiences. 540-630-1348 or [email protected]

Thanks,

Scott


Reply:However, my question is HOW OFTEN are people doing these procedures? There seems to be the implication that gauging of this kind must be done several times a day: When product is first distilled, when product moves from production to storage, from storage to processing, from processing to bottle, before blending, etc. A lot of gauging!
Reply:

Thanks, Delaware. That's pretty much what I'm hearing from others... lots of gauging, but entirely with hydrometers and thermometers.