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Infrared Spectrometer for Proofing Liqueurs?


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Just wondered if there's anyone out there with experience using an Infrared Spectrometer to determine alcohol content, and what their experiences are. I don't have a chemistry background myself, but am just aware that this is possible.

We made a honey liqueur so density-meters don't really help. We currently proof using a glass lab still and hydrometer. It's both time consuming and a bit error prone.

I know that Anton-Paar offers these, but is anyone using a cheaper off-the-shelf generic device from another company? I assume you'd just need something that can read the right IR spectrum (3500-3200 cm-1)

Also I'm aware that the TTB has their own list of approved stuff, I just want something that can be used quickly and later checked against our lab still / hydrometer.

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We looked into using something similar but eventually decided against using it for the reason that just as sugar distorts density readings it will also to some degree distort IR readings. However, if you do choose to go with a cheaper one you can occasionally find them on amazon but they are not TTB approved.

http://www.amazon.com/MicrOptix-i-LAB-Visible-Analyzing-Spectrophotometer/dp/B00440CZ0K/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1411499768&sr=8-3&keywords=microptix

A lab still and the variable proof exception on your labels are really the best option unless your product absolutely needs to have a consistent proof. We will be writing in the proof for each batch, that way we are only loosing about 500ml of product to proofing instead of several thousand from having to proof over and over again to get it just right.

http://www.ttb.gov/labeling/allowable_revisions.shtml

I do know that Anton Paar leases their more expensive equipment, like the alcolyzer, which would be perfect for proofing liqueurs if you can afford the $500 a month.

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