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StonesRyan

Thujone Content

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I'm looking for a starting point to formulate my own recipe and am hoping to learn what the approximate thujone content is when using the recipes found in The Mfgr If Liquors & Preserves and A Treatise on the Mfgr & Distillation of Alcoholic Liquors. Do these recipes contain allowable amount of thujone (<10,000ppm) or do they need to be reduced to meet TTB allowable amount? Anyone willing to shed some light on their experience with these?

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Hi @StonesRyan,

 

Firstly, you're dealing with a biological material. There is no recipe for "allowable mass" of product to stay below the maximum thujone levels.

You need to do your own trials and have your product tested and then adjust accordingly.

Others may be able to give you a guide on how much they use and what their total thujone levels may be but you must test it yourself to know for sure.

 

Cheers,

 

George

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I didn't make an absinthe but a version of the yellow chartreuse in that book, pg 114 of my version. It was within the TTB limit. My version used wormwood and was made by pure maceration and barrel aging (no distillation) then diluting with GNS, water and sugar to taste. There are some good papers out there on thujone content in wormwood and rough calculations you can make. By some references I calculated I would be about 6-7mg/L before proofing and adding sugar and they give you to 10mg/L. If I remember, the paper I read said distillation can dramatically reduce the amount of thujone.

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@TheMechWarrior, I've done trials with the recipes in the book. I'm asking if anyone knows if those recipes have an allowable thujone content when using the required amounts of wormwood.

As far as testing goes, I've yet to find in reading other threads of any thujone testing lab besides TTB -  but I'm curious to know if you have a suggestion for a third party lab that has the ability to test for thujone. My hope is to not rely on the TTB for testing my formulations until I reach the allowable thujone level as this could take a considerable amount of time.

 

@glisade, are you able to point me in the direction the paper you're referencing? Also, what was the quantity of wormwood you used in relation to neutral spirit? If you're willing to share that info I think it would help greatly in giving me a basis for allowable limits.

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@StonesRyan, I think you're missing the point. Regardless of what anyone here tells you relating to a recipe or what you may find written anywhere else, you must always test in order to know the true thujone levels.

Just because my recipe works this week is no reason to believe the same recipe will be ok next week, even if the wormwood came from the same supplier.

Test each batch of wormwood you receive, use that information to modify your formula if you need to.

Test each batch of Absinthe you make to guarantee YOU KNOW what the thujone levels are, then rest in peace knowing you've covered yourself.

 

As for laboratories, I can't help you there as I'm in Australia.

I'd suggest you contact a commercial producer in the US and ask them where they get their testing done, that's what I'd do.

FYI our thujone limits here are:

Thujones (alpha and beta) sage stuffing                                           250

                                          bitters                                                      35

                                          sage flavoured foods                               25

                                          alcoholic beverages                                  10

 

Cheers,

 

Mech

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@TheMechWarrior, you seem to be overcomplicating my question. I'm simply asking if people have had success submitting samples based on the recipes in the book with the called for amounts of Wormwood. Testing each batch of wormwood or absinthe isn't remotely practical. 

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MechWarrior's answer is the technically correct answer. There is no way of knowing for sure what the level is without testing for it each time. 

However, I will say when we sent our sample in for approval, it went through first try, no questions or bounce backs, unlike what many experience with COLAs and Formulas. I've never heard of a distillery not being able to produce an absinthe because of the Thujone level, if they had problems it seems to be with formula or COLA.

I have been wondering if it is even possible to produce an absinthe that fails the TTB lab test if you produce it in the traditional manner.

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@Tom Lenerz, I understand that he's technically correct, however my question is about peoples experiences relating specifically to the recipes in the book. And I'm looking for a practical answer, not a technical answer. I highly doubt anyone is testing every batch of wormwood or absinthe.

Anyway, I've read a number of threads here and elsewhere with people inquiring about labs that are capable of testing thujone content and I've yet to see anyone provide an answer other than TTB - so the technical answer doesn't appear to provide a realistic solution.

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I stated MechWarrior's answer as technically correct as a caveat for my non-technical, practical answer. I hope I didn't offend.

Again, from what I've experienced and heard, you should not have an issue with Thujone content levels being acceptable to the TTB with traditional absinthe recipes and production methods.

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