Finding alcohol percentage in spirits.

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8 years 4 months ago #36996 by wandering free
Just saw this on Amazon about finding the alcohol percentage in spirits, just can't see it being that easy and if it is why am I buying a still, why don't I just mix salt with the cider and decant the pure alcohol of the top, would be interested in what you distillers think as I am just going to start, it is the only way to can get good strong alcohol to extract the color from marigold flowers, the lutein is good for your eyes apparently.

This is what was stated.
1) Put some fluid into a measured tube, but you can use any thin tube and a ruler if you want.

2) Put in a few drops of food coloring

3) Add salt, shake tube, till the colored water at bottom separates from the clear alcohol above it

4) Add a bit more till some won't dissolve, to be sure all separation occurred, let sit for a few minutes to be more exact

5) Divide the alcohol amount by the total amount of fluid and you have the percentage

6) Multiply by 2 and you have the proof

Why does this work? Salt and water love each other and bind together and become heavier than the alcohol which doesn't want to bind to the salt. Food coloring prefers the salty water over the alcohol too.

Just me and the cat now, on 2 acres of fruit and veg + hazel nuts, macadamia, chestnuts and walnuts,
www.youtube.com/user/bandjsellars?feature=mhee

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8 years 4 months ago #480853 by Stikkibeek
Wouldn't you start first off with a hydrometer? Or are they not accurate enough?

Did you know, that what you thought I said, was not what I meant :S

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8 years 4 months ago #480875 by Aquila
A hydrometer requires you to know the gravity when you start brewing and at the end, then you can work out the approximate alcohol percentage

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8 years 4 months ago #480876 by Stikkibeek

Aquila;484565 wrote: A hydrometer requires you to know the gravity when you start brewing and at the end, then you can work out the approximate alcohol percentage

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The specific gravity of alcohol is 83/0.78 =106.41cm3

Did you know, that what you thought I said, was not what I meant :S

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8 years 4 months ago #480898 by wandering free
I was looking for an alcohol meter when I saw the bit about using salt, but Stikkibeek you are right about using a hydrometer which is what the alcohol meter is, they're a special sort that has a scale going down to 0.930 or less, they have them for under $20 in NZ so will be getting one, the other way is like Aquila says, but my original hydrometer is a wine one and not as accurate as the ones used by distillers, I've just bought myself one of those but the cider I made last year is between 7% to 8% ok for making vinegar, but would be guess work on how high the alcohol is from the small reflux still I'm getting, which hopefully will arrive next week.

Just me and the cat now, on 2 acres of fruit and veg + hazel nuts, macadamia, chestnuts and walnuts,
www.youtube.com/user/bandjsellars?feature=mhee

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8 years 4 months ago #480928 by spark
Hi,

I believe that the "old fashioned" way of measuring the "proof" of spirits entailed diluting a known measure of spirits with a known measure of water, saturating a small quantity of gun powder (old fashioned black powder, not modern nitrocellulose based "smokeless powder") with the diluted spirits and then attempting to ignite the saturated gunpowder [}:)]. Dry gunpowder used to be easier to get hold of than accurate hygrometers...

By definition, 100 proof is the concentration of alcohol which will only just permit the gunpowder to burn. Less than 100 proof, the gunpowder will not burn. This method will not work if your spirits are less than 100 proof to begin with.

I think that the maths is:

proof =

measures of spirit + measures of water
x 100
measures of spirit

So, if you found that you had to mix one measure of water to two measures of spirits to get a diluted mixture that would only just permit the saturated gunpowder to burn, then you had 150 proof spirit. If you needed one measure of water for one measure of spirits, then you would have 200 proof spirit, etc.

Assuming that your spirits test at more than 100 proof, if you want, can then dilute them to less than 100 proof - eg take 150 prof spirits and dilute 50 / 50 with water to get 75 proof spirits.

Cheers

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8 years 4 months ago #480931 by Aquila
Almost http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alcohol_proof
The history link is interesting

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8 years 4 months ago #480933 by terralee
I was going to say I generally judge the alcohol % content by the state of my head next morning ...but I thought I better not[:o)]

Sorry[}:)][}:)]:rolleyes:

Cheers

Leonie & Zoo!!! :silly: :woohoo:

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8 years 4 months ago #480941 by wandering free
Trust us poms to make it complicated, mind you it would be a lot of fun, haven't tried making gunpowder since I was about 12 after the war. :)

Found this chart that makes it all so much easier. http://www.itecref.com/pdf/Ethyl_Alcohol_Conversion_Table_%28ITEC%29.pdf

I need 60 to 80 ABV for the tinctures which should be in the capabilities of the still, but not drinkable unless well let down, terralee I might try a small orange cocktail though, what's the point of growing the fruit if not to give things ago.

Just me and the cat now, on 2 acres of fruit and veg + hazel nuts, macadamia, chestnuts and walnuts,
www.youtube.com/user/bandjsellars?feature=mhee

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