Alcoholmeter

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Alcoholmeter

Postby Danespirit » Tue Aug 18, 2015 9:24 am

Besides the hydrometer (viewtopic.php?f=15&t=57187#p7337357) a alcoholmeter is the most important tool for the distiller.
It simply takes a lot of guesswork out of the equation.

There are several type of alcoholmeters the most common types of alcoholmeter are according to:
Weight %, volume % or previously acc. to Tralle %, proof %, Gay-Lussac % and Cartier.

The two most common types is what this thread refers to.

However, before we get into details, i would like to eliminate a common misunderstanding that seems to bother the new distiller.
The alcoholmeter measures the alcohol percentage in alcohol / water liquid only ! If you have sugar in your liquid you will get an uncorrect reading.

For this same reason a batch with a lot of unfermentable sugars in it like molasses in rum, will give a uncorrect reading on the alcoholmeter.
The best way to determine the alcoholcontaint in this case, would be by calculation based on the s.g.(speciffic gravity).

A alcoholmeter using the metric system, has typical a scale from 0 to 100%.
This however is only a hypotetical value, as the homedistiller won't distill higher than azeotrope conditions, which would be around 96 % Vol. (depending on hight over sealevel).
Distilling higher than this, would require vacuum distillation and is somewhat pointless as ethanol is hydrophilic and would be dilluted by the moisture in the surrounding air.

A alcoholmeter using the proofscale , works within the same parameters. The only difference would be the scale typical from 0 to 200 Proof.
Fortunatly conversion to metric is very simple, just divide the reading by two and you have % Vol. Vice versa..

Whatever type of alcoholmeter you have, it will only give a correct reading if the temperature of your distillate matches the temperature your alcoholmeter is calibrated to..! This would be between 15-20 C (it should be stated on your meter).

How to use:
For using an alcoholmeter you require a test jar to make an exact and easy reading! Before and after use clean the alcoholmeter and test jar with warm water and dry before use. The alcoholmeter should also be wiped dry with a linen cloth. After cleaning, the alcoholmeter should be held only from the thin part above the paper scale.
After sinking the meter into the liquid, you want to give it a slight spin. The reason for this, is to let gasbubbles that sticks to the meter escape, so they won't throw off your reading.
The following picture shows different types of alcoholmeter, with or without inbuild thermometer:
The picture below, shows where to read the meter.
Similar as the hydrometer, the alcoholmeter is read perpendicular to the testcylinder just were the surface is.
The liquid that creeps up the meter due to the cappilaryeffect, is ignored.
alcoholmeter.jpg
Alcoholmeter (1).jpg
Alcoholmeter (1).jpg (2.49 KiB) Viewed 4699 times
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Re: Alcoholmeter

Postby still_stirrin » Tue Aug 18, 2015 10:37 am

Another great one, Danespirit. Thanks.

I'm going to add this to my signature as well. Worthy reading for new brewers & distillers alike.
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Attention new distillers: Cranky's spoon feed info
What is a Proof & Traille hydrometer: Alcohol-meter
Enzyme info: SebStar
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Re: Alcoholmeter

Postby Danespirit » Tue Aug 18, 2015 11:24 am

Thanks Still stirrin..
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Re: Alcoholmeter

Postby S-Cackalacky » Tue Aug 18, 2015 11:45 am

Great write up. Hope this one gets stickied somewhere.
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Re: Alcoholmeter

Postby columbia36 » Wed May 18, 2016 5:58 am

I've never tried it but I'm planning to on my next batch. A lot of the recipes do call for soaking the oak in spirits, but probably just to sanitize the wood. Something you don't worry about with 130 proof liquor. I suppose if you toasted and charred the oak, then immediately put it in the beer it would be sanitary enough.
I've got a jar of JD chips that I had some UJSSM on, and those are going into my next stout. Not adding any liquid spirit, just what's soaked into the wood.
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Re: Alcoholmeter

Postby columbia36 » Wed May 18, 2016 6:33 am

Oops, don't know how that post got here, meant to put it in the oaking beer thread!
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Re: Alcoholmeter

Postby BugHunter » Thu Oct 19, 2017 2:45 pm

One thing that probably should be mentioned is not to use a plastic test jar when measuring high %abv samples. It's pretty common to use plastic test jars for hydrometers for fermenting measurements, but higher concentrations of alcohol will attack many plastics. I've read of people watching their test jar disintegrate in the course of one still run. Use a glass test jar.
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Re: Alcoholmeter

Postby Antler24 » Thu Oct 19, 2017 3:29 pm

BugHunter wrote:One thing that probably should be mentioned is not to use a plastic test jar when measuring high %abv samples. It's pretty common to use plastic test jars for hydrometers for fermenting measurements, but higher concentrations of alcohol will attack many plastics. I've read of people watching their test jar disintegrate in the course of one still run. Use a glass test jar.


I bought a graduated cylinder at my lhbs. It's same height as an alcometer, about 1.5inch diameter, and a wide base at the bottom so it can free stand, I love it. I think it was 9.99
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Re: Alcoholmeter

Postby Danespirit » Fri Oct 20, 2017 3:52 am

+ 1 on that glass cylinder. Never fall for the temptation to use synthetics stuff to hold high ABV spirits.
I use to buy a couple of them from Ebay they are really dirt cheap there and come in different sizes.
A 50 mL like the one in the link is perfect for the job. https://www.ebay.com/itm/Graduated-Glas ... Sw8w1YBtdf
Think it was 1.60 $ for that one, so I bought three to have some spare ones.
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Re: Alcoholmeter

Postby Antler24 » Fri Oct 20, 2017 4:09 pm

Danespirit wrote:+ 1 on that glass cylinder. Never fall for the temptation to use synthetics stuff to hold high ABV spirits.
I use to buy a couple of them from Ebay they are really dirt cheap there and come in different sizes.
A 50 mL like the one in the link is perfect for the job. https://www.ebay.com/itm/Graduated-Glas ... Sw8w1YBtdf
Think it was 1.60 $ for that one, so I bought three to have some spare ones.


Mine is 250ml, I should pick up a 100ml keep the 250 for a spare.
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