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Neil

How to add sugar to VODKA

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I understand from TTB guidelines that you can add up to 2% sugar for an unflavored vodka without having to list it in the ingredients. This is our first experimental batch but our question is, are vodka makers simply dumping straight granulated sugar in to the batch and mixing with a paddle? Or, do we first have to boil the sugar and then add it to the vodka so it stays in solution. Or, are the vodka guys buying their sugar in liquid form? If someone can shed some light on this subject, we would be very grateful. Thanks!

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Sorry, I accidentally posted this topic twice.

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I guess the last person who posted mean sugar "syrup"? Do you mean that we should be buying sugar syrup or making the syrup ourselves? Thank you

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Hey Neil .. We use invert syrup that we make ourselves... You can look up the recipe on wiki .. Pretty easy .. Sugar , citric acid, water .. boil to 236' f

Voila !!! The you add it by weight .. Since you boil it to 236 the water is evaporated so there is no water weight...

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What are the rules on this? I read that American Harvest Vodka does this also.

According to Proof66.com the vodka is technically liqueur, but they always compete in the "unflavored vodka" category of competitions.

http://www.proof66.com/vodka/american-harvest-organic-spirit.html

This is a sweetened vodka. It could potentially be considered a liqueur. The federal Tax and Trade Bureau has classified it with liqueurs but under the heading of "vodka specialties," which deepens the puzzle. For the time being, we have offered to list it as a flavored vodka.

Where is the line on still remaining an "unflavored vodka"?

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Hey Neil .. We use invert syrup that we make ourselves... You can look up the recipe on wiki .. Pretty easy .. Sugar , citric acid, water .. boil to 236' f

Voila !!! The you add it by weight .. Since you boil it to 236 the water is evaporated so there is no water weight...

Leftturn,

So, for every 100 lbs of Vodka, you could add 2 lbs of syrup? I assume that this done at bottling proof. Am I understanding correct?

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I've been trying to wrap my head around this as well as we get started. BAM is clear that sugar added cannot exceed more than 0.2% of final product by volume, but CFR 5.23© states in clearer terms that sugar addition should not exceed 2g per liter. I would therefore assume that this would limit your possible citric acid adjustment to 1g per liter, marrying up these two sources of info.

More of a confirmation of your resolve, and for my own confirmation of understanding.

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I am looking at this thread again and am wondering if the confusion is THE BAM says .2% by VOLUME not WEIGHT. Some are giving an example that they weigh the vodka and then add sugar as a percentage of the total weight of the vodka. That seems wrong. Can anyone that does this on a regular basis please explain exactly how you go about adding sugar/citric acid? Thanks in advance!!

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Look at the regulations, not the BAM. Where the regulations give a clear answer, do not go beyond them. They give a clear answer here. The limit on sugar additions to vodka are given at 27 CFR 5.23. It provides, "vodka may be treated with sugar in an amount not to exceed 2 grams per liter and a trace amount of citric acid."

From the regulation it is clear that this is a weight per volume limitation. Can it be converted to volume to volume?. Probably. The wine regulations say, "the quantity of sugar used will be determined either by measuring the increase in volume or by considering that each 13.5 pounds of pure dry sugar results in a volumetric increase of one gallon" (See 24.181). But why bother making these sorts of conversions, when the regulations tell you that you can add not more than 2 grams of sugar per liter of vodka and still have vodka? Exceed 2 grams per liter and you have changed the class and type. 5.23 is a very simple statement as far as the sugar limit is concerned.

Finally, someone above tried to extrapolate citric limits from sugar limits. The citric limit is unrelated to the sugar limit. I have discussed this in this thread already. The regulation is vague, because it uses the term "trace amount" to define the limit. So we turn to a ruling, which is an official interpretation of the term "trace amount." By ATF Ruling 97-1, TTB says, albeit it reluctantly,that a trace amount means not more than 1000 parts per million.

There is no reason to go beyond 5.23 and Ruling 97-1 to determine the sugar and acid limits. There is no reason to unduly complicate these things.

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No. You can but do not need to add sugar. You can, but do not need to add citric. Adding citric lets you take advantage of credits for the alcohol content of the citric you add. In all likelihood, you and everyone else who reads this will not want to deal with the records required for the tax credit. But if you add sugar (it makes it taste more like some of the expensive imports)or citric, then you do that BEFORE you cut to bottling proof. But you are correct, you filter before you make the cut. The cut to bottling proof is the last thing you do before putting it in the bottle.

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Will the addition of the sugar obscure the proof of the vodka substantially?

Since It would exceed the 400mg/l limit required for obscuration proofing, I guess everyone doing this using their benchtop still to double check. Fascinating stuff here.

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I had never thought about obscuration resulting from the addition of sugar to vodka. The limit on solids for proofing without taking obscuration into account is indeed 400 ml/liter (Sec. 30.31(B) - Solids content not more than 600 milligrams. Except as otherwise authorized by the appropriate TTB officer, the proof of spirits containing not more than 600 milligrams of solids per 100 milliliters of spirits shall be determined by the use of a hydrometer and thermometer in accordance with the provisions of §30.23 except that if such spirits contain solids in excess of 400 milligrams but not in excess of 600 milligrams per 100 milliliters at gauge proof, there shall be added to the proof so determined the obscuration determined as prescribed in §30.32.). The the upper limit of sugar addition to vodka, without creating an alteration of class and type, is 2 grams per liter (Section 5.23).

So, although I'm not one to make a conversion between metric units, I can move decimal points and 400 ml is clearly 0.4g. And it doesn't take someone too clever to figure out that 2 grams is 2000 mg. I don't know why this had not occured to me in the past. It is worth a mention. Using sugar in excess of 600 mg/liter throws all proofing into another realm. Section 30.31© goes on, "If such spirits contain solids in excess of 600 milligrams per 100 milliliters at gauge proof, the proof shall be determined on the basis of true proof determined as follows:

(1) By the use of a hydrometer and a thermometer after the spirits have been distilled in a small laboratory still and restored to the original volume and temperature by the addition of pure water to the distillate; or

(2) By a recognized laboratory method which is equal or superior in accuracy to the distillation method.

You leave the hydrometer in the box and get out the lab still. I'd never get that right.

Thanks for calling my attention to this.


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Someone correct me if I'm wrong, the solids limit for using a hydrometer to proof is <400 mg per 100 ml which is 4000 mg per 1000 ml or 4 grams per liter.

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Your conversion is correct. It surprises me that TTB allows using just an hydrometer up to 4 g/l of sugar. If you start with 80 proof vodka and add 4 g/l the hydrometer will read 77.9 proof, but the true proof is only reduced to 79.8. The way I read the regulations, if the solids are below 400 mg per 100 milliliters there is no requirement to add back in the obscured proof.

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I have managed, with the very kind help of several of the members here behind the scenes, to get some data and test values together. Unfortunately the available data is not as clear-cut as the TTB or OIML tables, but I believe it will be adequate. It is my intention to start on an app in the new year, but I am notoriously bad with my timing predictions so I won't give a target date yet. All I can say is that I owe my users a new version of AlcoDens before I start on the new app, so that has to come first.

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Nice to know that all of you guys are adding sugar to achieve your result. My vodka is naturally sweet when it comes out of the

still and filters. I am sure that many people probably do add sugar, but we will not. Wheat, yeast, water. That is the whole formula.

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On 10/31/2015 at 9:16 PM, dhdunbar said:

No. You can but do not need to add sugar. You can, but do not need to add citric. Adding citric lets you take advantage of credits for the alcohol content of the citric you add. In all likelihood, you and everyone else who reads this will not want to deal with the records required for the tax credit. But if you add sugar (it makes it taste more like some of the expensive imports)or citric, then you do that BEFORE you cut to bottling proof. But you are correct, you filter before you make the cut. The cut to bottling proof is the last thing you do before putting it in the bottle.

Excellent advice

 

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On 10/31/2015 at 9:16 PM, dhdunbar said:

No. You can but do not need to add sugar. You can, but do not need to add citric. Adding citric lets you take advantage of credits for the alcohol content of the citric you add. In all likelihood, you and everyone else who reads this will not want to deal with the records required for the tax credit. But if you add sugar (it makes it taste more like some of the expensive imports)or citric, then you do that BEFORE you cut to bottling proof. But you are correct, you filter before you make the cut. The cut to bottling proof is the last thing you do before putting it in the bottle.

 

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On 12/14/2015 at 4:31 PM, mrjeffthurmon said:

Nice to know that all of you guys are adding sugar to achieve your result. My vodka is naturally sweet when it comes out of the

still and filters. I am sure that many people probably do add sugar, but we will not. Wheat, yeast, water. That is the whole formula.

make sure you sweetness is not ethyl acetate ;-)   if you wash gets a bit of acetic acid going, that can make it 'sweet'...  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethyl_acetate

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