How to determine the alcohol concentration?

The exact determination of the alcohol concentration.

Alcoholometry is one of the most important disciplines in the distilling industry. In distillates, this is relatively easy to do with alcoholometers (density meters) or oscillating U-tube meters, since they are pure alcohol-water mixtures.
However, as soon as even a little bit of fruit or sugar or other density-changing ingredients are added, this principle no longer works.
Therefore the sample distillation has to be done. For this purpose a small “laboratory distillation unit” with a 0.5l distillation flask is required. You measure 50ml or 100ml sample exactly and distill the alcohol. This procedure takes about 10 min. The whole determination is volumetric, i.e. the same temperature must be maintained during all measuring procedures. In addition, the whole procedure requires a certain amount of tact and sensitivity.

About the author

Dr. Klaus Hagmann, Dipl.-Ing. Food Technology, has been internationally active in sales, consulting and engineering of distillation plants for more than 25 years. His area of responsibility includes the planning of distilleries, the development of recipes and the professional operation of all equipment in the distillery. His reference books “Schnappsbrennen”, “Technologie der Obstbrennerei”, “Blitz-Liköre morgens zubereiten, abends genießen” and “Essig selbstgemacht” are best-selling classics.

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