Another dilution thread

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Smokee
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Another dilution thread

Post by Smokee » Tue Aug 04, 2020 8:56 am

I'm hoping I'm putting this in the right place. Feel free to move it.

After 7-8 years of making whiskey pretty much the same way I decided to try some new things. Being of Italian decent I decided to try making some Limoncello. My grandfather would slip me some at dinner when I was young and I really liked it. I made some good grain spirit at 92%, I'd like to end up with the finished product at 32%.

As I was diluting whiskey yesterday (I did 2 runs over the last couple weeks, one is my regular whiskey and the other is a neutral for the Limoncello) I decided to run the numbers through the calculator in prep for doing the Limoncello... it was off a good bit. I had 61.1 oz of 92% and wanted to "wood" it at 62.5%. The calculator gave me 28 oz of water to use, I knew straight-away that was low. I ended up using 40 oz to get to 62.5%. I tried doing this for some apple-pie some friends asked for and ended up the same way. I did a good bit of reading here from a site-search and find that it's pretty common for the calculations to be off but it seems like it was only a percent or two. If I remember right, the 28 oz took me to 70'ish%... a good bit off. I don't care about the whiskey, it's simple to use the hydrometer to get it right. With the limoncello, I'd like to be pretty close to 32%.

If diluting isn't very accurate taking into account alcohol has less density that water, what's the best way to achieve a certain alcohol percentage for a finished product that has sugar?

shine_
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Re: Another dilution thread

Post by shine_ » Tue Aug 04, 2020 10:24 am

I always use calculator to dilute my liquor. I've done rechecking afterwards and my hydrometer always shows what was expected. I'm using this calculator.

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NZChris
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Re: Another dilution thread

Post by NZChris » Tue Aug 04, 2020 3:02 pm

That calculator is not accurate. If you ask it how much water to add to dilute 1l of 80% to 40% it says to add 1l but, once they are mixed, you will have less than 2l and it will be over 40%
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From the TTB Table No 6

80% = 0.86364
40% = 0.95172

Therefor:
1l at 80% is 863g
2l at 40% is 951.72*2=1903g

1903-863=1040g

Water to add 1.040l

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Re: Another dilution thread

Post by shine_ » Tue Aug 04, 2020 4:34 pm

Chris is right. It apparently ignores those charts. 40g difference on 2 litres is 2%, so around 1% off in total ABV. Not a surprise I haven't spotted that on my hydrometer since I don't take measurements in perfect temperature and such difference is no difference for me :)

Anyways, I think it's more practical to use this calculator than going through all charts and doing it by hand. Such a difference only matters if you're planning to sell your liquor.

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NZChris
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Re: Another dilution thread

Post by NZChris » Tue Aug 04, 2020 11:42 pm

At 80%, 1l has 800ml of alcohol. To dilute it to 40% you need to have 2l final volume, not 1l added.

If you use that calculator, add the two volumes and make up your volume to that. That works if you can measure the final volume, which you often can.

When I can't measure the final volume, I use the TTB tables to do the calculations, but only if it's convenient, or important enough, (which it usually isn't). E.g. I know the volume and abv I want for a gin still charge, therefore I can use the TTB table to calculate the weight of that charge and use it every time I make that volume of gin. I work out the amount of base spirit that I need using it's ABV, zero my scales, put the correct volume of base spirit into the container, then add water to the weight I know I need.

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Re: Another dilution thread

Post by Smokee » Wed Aug 05, 2020 4:19 am

shine_ wrote:
Tue Aug 04, 2020 4:34 pm
Such a difference only matters if you're planning to sell your liquor.
I would agree in most cases that I make liquor. Traditionally, Italians put Limoncello in the freezer and serve it cold, At 30% or less it'll freeze. Finding a balance of low alcohol and not freezing is where I'm at. I'd like to be in the 32% range.

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Re: Another dilution thread

Post by The Baker » Wed Aug 05, 2020 7:20 am

Smokee wrote:
Wed Aug 05, 2020 4:19 am
shine_ wrote:
Tue Aug 04, 2020 4:34 pm
Such a difference only matters if you're planning to sell your liquor.
I would agree in most cases that I make liquor. Traditionally, Italians put Limoncello in the freezer and serve it cold, At 30% or less it'll freeze. Finding a balance of low alcohol and not freezing is where I'm at. I'd like to be in the 32% range.
Must be a FAIRLY modern tradition.
They did not HAVE freezers in the good old days!

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Re: Another dilution thread

Post by Smokee » Wed Aug 05, 2020 8:22 am

The Baker wrote:
Wed Aug 05, 2020 7:20 am

Must be a FAIRLY modern tradition.
They did not HAVE freezers in the good old days!

Geoff
Limocello's relatively new, early 20th century, so.....

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Re: Another dilution thread

Post by The Baker » Wed Aug 05, 2020 4:49 pm

Smokee wrote:
Wed Aug 05, 2020 8:22 am
The Baker wrote:
Wed Aug 05, 2020 7:20 am

Must be a FAIRLY modern tradition.
They did not HAVE freezers in the good old days!

Geoff
Limocello's relatively new, early 20th century, so.....
There you go.
Geoff
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Corsaire
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Re: Another dilution thread

Post by Corsaire » Thu Aug 06, 2020 12:37 pm

Smokee wrote:
Wed Aug 05, 2020 4:19 am
I would agree in most cases that I make liquor. Traditionally, Italians put Limoncello in the freezer and serve it cold, At 30% or less it'll freeze. Finding a balance of low alcohol and not freezing is where I'm at. I'd like to be in the 32% range.
I've got a bottle of commercial limoncello in my freezer for about a week now. It's 25% abv. It's not frozen.

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Re: Another dilution thread

Post by Smokee » Mon Aug 10, 2020 7:53 am

Corsaire wrote:
Thu Aug 06, 2020 12:37 pm

I've got a bottle of commercial limoncello in my freezer for about a week now. It's 25% abv. It's not frozen.
I believe that info was from a popular distilling youtube channel... good to know. Thank you! :thumbup:

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Re: Another dilution thread

Post by still_stirrin » Mon Aug 10, 2020 8:16 am

Smokee,

Here’s a link for you that might help you with this question: https://www.thespruceeats.com/will-liquor-freeze-760302

But, be sure to note what temperature the article points out as the “set temperature” of a typical home freezer...

Cheers.
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Re: Another dilution thread

Post by Smokee » Mon Aug 10, 2020 8:57 am

still_stirrin wrote:
Mon Aug 10, 2020 8:16 am
Smokee,

Here’s a link for you that might help you with this question: https://www.thespruceeats.com/will-liquor-freeze-760302

But, be sure to note what temperature the article points out as the “set temperature” of a typical home freezer...

Cheers.
ss
Thanks, S_S... from this info it looks like 32% is right for what I'm shooting for.

I'm still doubting the calculations though. I was off by a little over 15% from the calculator, I needed another 12 oz. :think:

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Re: Another dilution thread

Post by NZChris » Tue Aug 11, 2020 12:20 am

Smokee wrote:
Mon Aug 10, 2020 8:57 am
still_stirrin wrote:
Mon Aug 10, 2020 8:16 am
Smokee,

Here’s a link for you that might help you with this question: https://www.thespruceeats.com/will-liquor-freeze-760302

But, be sure to note what temperature the article points out as the “set temperature” of a typical home freezer...

Cheers.
ss
Thanks, S_S... from this info it looks like 32% is right for what I'm shooting for.

I'm still doubting the calculations though. I was off by a little over 15% from the calculator, I needed another 12 oz. :think:
Assuming that you are doing your calculations correctly and you temperature correct, there is no sugar involved and you are still 15% off, your alcometer is likely to be off by quite a bit. That has happened to me and trying to get the calculation right seemed impossible, but the problem was that the paper scale in my hydrometer was out by a couple of millimetres.

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Re: Another dilution thread

Post by Smokee » Tue Aug 11, 2020 4:26 am

NZChris wrote:
Tue Aug 11, 2020 12:20 am

Assuming that you are doing your calculations correctly and you temperature correct, there is no sugar involved and you are still 15% off, your alcometer is likely to be off by quite a bit. That has happened to me and trying to get the calculation right seemed impossible, but the problem was that the paper scale in my hydrometer was out by a couple of millimetres.
That's a good point. I normally keep 2 on hand but broke one a few weeks ago.

I started the next mash last night. I'll be running it next week, cutting it down to ageing proof. I'll try the calculations again with a new hydrometer.

Thanks, NZ! :thumbup:

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