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We are developing flavored vodkas and are using Sugar to help sweeten the spirits. What I am trying to find is a good method to calculate ABV of the vodka after blending sugar. I have found a few different values referencing volume changes when adding sugar. What I am needing is to understand when adding sugar to a base vodka how ABV and volume is changed.

Here is what I have now from research but just questioning it before moving forward.

1kg=2.20lb=629ml

5L or 5000ml 80proof Vodka (2000ml alcohol)

Total Volume of Spirit after Sugar added = 5.62L or 5629ml

2000ml/5629ml= .3553

So if I were to add 2.20lbs of sugar to 5000ml of 80proof vodka that would give me an ABV or 35.53%

Does this look correct, any issues seen?

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You cannot calculate the ABV.  Search this site for the word "obscuration" and you will find many explanations on how to get this done.  Then look at the video on the TTB web site at https://www.ttb.gov/distilled-spirits/proofing-tutorial

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You can calculate the ABV,  and the way you have done it is correct. The only wrinkle is your factor of 1 kg sugar = 629 ml volume increase.  This is not a fixed ratio unfortunately.  Sugar dissolving in alcohol and water is similar to mixing alcohol and water in that the volumes are not additive and the volume increase when you add 1 kg of sugar will vary depending on the total quantity of sugar and the proof of the spirit. Based on our previous offline discussions I guess that you somehow extracted this factor from a calculation in AlcoDens LQ. Here is the same calculation shown in the AlcoDens LQ liqueur blending calculator (the half drop of water is just a rounding error!).  The way this calculator is set up it expects you to tell it what proof and brix you want in the product and then it will calculate the quantities of spirit and sugar required. You are attacking the problem from the other direction - you are specifying the quantities of the ingredients and wanting to know the final proof. If you are interested, write to me and I will send you a spreadsheet that you can use together with AlcoDens LQ to solve the problem when you already know the quantities and you want to calculate the final proof.

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Meerkat, thanks for the reply. I tried to use the AlcoDens LQ but wasn't successful and then got lost in the world of calculations and formulas leading me to where I am at. I think you are right as I am looking at it from a different direction. What I will do is reach out to you again after I purchase the AlcoDens LQ so I can nail this process down with the software and the spreadsheet. Thanks for posting a reply!

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18 hours ago, meerkat said:

You can calculate the ABV,  and the way you have done it is correct.

Meerkat, in reading your previous posts it seemed that you directed people to the TTB proofing method as being the only accurate way to determine final proof when adding sugar and flavoring.   What is different in this instance?

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Thatch, the difference is that the TTB distillation procedure is the officially sanctioned method.  But it is only legally necessary to carry out this full procedure on your final product to verify what you are selling.  The distillation procedure is very slow and if you had to do this at every step in the blending process you would never get the product out the door.  So it makes things much faster if you can calculate or measure (by some easier method) the ABV/Proof at intermediate stages.

Also, if you do carry out the full distillation procedure and you find that your proof is slightly out you need calculation procedures to determine what should be added to correct the alcohol and sugar levels. Without the ability to adjust the alcohol and sugar levels correctly it becomes a guessing game that can take ages. These calculations are much the same as those to determine the proof so mastering them also means that you can set your recipe up more accurately from the beginning and are more likely to hit the target proof.

There are instrument vendors who claim that their machines produce results that are acceptable to the TTB and you might have read my posts where I have questioned this and stated that the distillation procedure is mandatory.  I am still seeking full clarity on this but at this stage it seems to me that unofficially the inspectors will accept the results from these machines if you can show that you have done sufficient checking on your products to prove that the machine gives the same result as the distillation procedure. But I can't guarantee that that is the true situation.

In summary, the calculation procedures and the good instruments speed up the process but at the end of the day you must have sufficient distillation results to show that you are shipping on-spec product. Sorry for causing confusion.

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2 minutes ago, meerkat said:

In summary, the calculation procedures and the good instruments speed up the process but at the end of the day you must have sufficient distillation results to show that you are shipping on-spec product. Sorry for causing confusion.

Thanks for the clarification.  This is why I answered the OP in the manner that I did.

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