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Gauging proof of liqueurs with >600 mg solids


RoundhouseSpirits

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We're producing a coffee liqueur that seems to be >600 mg of solids per 100 mL because of all the sugar in it. I haven't had it lab tested, but when I drop a cheapo 0-200 proof hydrometer in it, I get a below range reading....the hydrometer doesn't sink in at all.

We've been doing our pre-bottling gauge per section 30.31©(1) with a lab still. It sucks!!...it can take all day long to run the lab still, reblend if the proof isn't right on, re-gauge, reblend, and so on. Also, it's really easy to burn the sugars with the bunsen burner and ruin the glass flask on the lab still setup. Has anyone had an alternate procedure for gauging liqueurs approved? Have any ideas? I'd like to use a volumetrically certified/calibrated tank to blend the various ingredients of the liqueur with precision and call that the gauge....could it fly with the TTB?

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We're producing a coffee liqueur that seems to be >600 mg of solids per 100 mL because of all the sugar in it. I haven't had it lab tested, but when I drop a cheapo 0-200 proof hydrometer in it, I get a below range reading....the hydrometer doesn't sink in at all.

We've been doing our pre-bottling gauge per section 30.31©(1) with a lab still. It sucks!!...it can take all day long to run the lab still, reblend if the proof isn't right on, re-gauge, reblend, and so on. Also, it's really easy to burn the sugars with the bunsen burner and ruin the glass flask on the lab still setup. Has anyone had an alternate procedure for gauging liqueurs approved? Have any ideas? I'd like to use a volumetrically certified/calibrated tank to blend the various ingredients of the liqueur with precision and call that the gauge....could it fly with the TTB?

One way to do it would be to separate your formula into alcoholic (hi-proof) and non-alcoholic (coffee, sugar, etc.). If the mixture is 1/2 alcoholic and 1/2 non-alcoholic by volume, then the finished liqueur will be 50% of the alcohol content of the initial alcoholic portion.

Also, use Temequila® Pure Agave Nectar as your sweetener because it is less viscous and won't crystallize like cane sugar. It dissolves more readily than any sugar alternative, it's better for you and it tastes great with coffee!

B)

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JB -- That's exactly what I was thinking. Do you know of anyone who's gotten TTB approval to use that method of gauge?

GStone - Great idea with the oil bath. Thanks. I'm using a 500mL flask, but just barely get enough distillate out to gauge with the hydrometer, so i could easily step it up to a 750 or even 1000 mL.

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Are you trying to gauge the unobscured/desugared distillate as distilled? When testing a fortified wine, I use a volumetric flask to measure the amount that goes into the lab still, then bring the distillate back up to that volume (and temperature) before checking the gravity. Taking it back to the original volume should give you plenty to work with.

The other thing is that you can take the residue in the pot back to the original volume and temperature and get an accurate read on the solids content.

Using an oil or water bath should stop the scorching.

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I also wonder if the TTB would allow volumetric measurement as a form of determining final product proof.

As an example, lets say we are making a liqueur at 40% ABV in a 100 gallon batch. In this batch we will need 42.105 gallons of 190 proof GNS. We can add this amount to the mixing container and fill to 100 gallon mark with our flavorings/sugar/water. However, there is always a margin of error. Depending on your flow meter accuracy, or your tank markings, you might have a 100 gallon batch of 39.5% or 40.5% ABV. This brings into question, how much variance is the TTB going to allow you to have on a finished product? This also brings into question the standard of fill variance. Maybe we only have 748ml in a bottle instead of 750ml.

-Tyler

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Building off of Charles' method:

After precisely measuring the amount of liqueur going into your boiling flask, you can add a bit of extra water to dilute the sugar solids in the boil (as well as rinse out your volumetric-measuring flask). Just remember that you're only pulling off precisely the amount of distillate that you initially put into the volumetric-measuring flask and assuming that all you're getting in the distillate is alcohol and water. You should end up with liquid still in your boiling flask and little-to-no burning.

Also, the oil bath is a great option. I've found good results with an electric heating source as well. I think that I bought it from Fisher or LSS. Half a dozen hengar granules never hurt a lab distillation either.

Cheers,

D

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