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What is your opinion on using this computerized equipment (other than price)?  I just came back from an intensive distilling course where we learned the basics by using hydrometers.  They are obviously the tried and true method.  Has anyone had any issues with the machines?  We are determining if we need to budget one or just stick to the basic hydrometer.  Thoughts? Horror stories?

Thanks

Travis

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Definitely know your way around the hydrometers and keep a set on hand.  That said, I love using the A-P machines, especially when dealing with obscuration materials, such as with liqueurs.  I tested the A-P units against my hydrometers and while the small hand-held gizmo will get you in the ballpark, the bench-top unit was always spot-on.

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If you have the money, These are a must. I've used the DMA 3500 with the alcoholizer for years, And just bought the DMA 4500MEC with the alcoholizer as well as the Snap 50 for my new facility. The Snap 40 is not temperature adjusted, So it will only get you close. The Snap 50 is temperature adjusted so it's pretty spot on, Although neither one of the handheld units are listed as acceptable means of proofing by the TTB, they just save a lot of time on the floor for post run gauging, Barrel proofing, And initial barrel dump gauging. The 3500 and the 4500 benchtop models are TTb approved units. 

But get ready to drop $45,000

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When setting up distilleries in especially the USA I have worked with their product a lot. I love them. Very accurate. The issue is ... they are also pretty expensive. When I asked the distillers that invested (heavily) in their measuring devices, quite often the answer I got was that it helped them show to the taxation offices that they were taking their responsibilities seriously. It sends out a message, so to speak.

I just came across this relatively new unit from Anton Paar. It is less expensive, very high tech, and looks easy enough to work with. I know that if I start my distillery up again, that's what I would purchase. It may be more expensive than hydrometers ... but if I count the number of these that I broke over the years ...

http://www.anton-paar.com/corp-en/products/details/density-and-concentration-meter-easydens/

Regards, Odin.

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Thanks for the link Odin, very interesting.  I couldn't find this unit on TTB's list of approved devices, does anyone know if it has been approved?

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Doubtful that it is accurate enough to be approved.  The much more expensive SNAP 40/50 and DMA 35 are not approved, I don't see how the $500 unit would be acceptable.  They state it is not recognized as being able to calibrate as well.

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No, this unit is not TTB certified!

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I assume this is the hand held unit.  It is not TTB certified.  We have decided to go with the full version unit.  There is a craft model that is TTB certified.  I have the model number somewhere.  The customer service was great working with them

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