Ever asked how professionals measure the alcohol content of their beverages?
Well, they use a Alcometer. It is a special purpose hydrometer calibrated to measure the alcohol content of beer, wine and kombucha.
Choose between 2 scales of alcohol hydrometer
- 0% to 43% (ideal for kombucha, non-alcoholic beer and non-alcoholic ferments)
- 27% to 72% (ideal for spirits and measurement of alcohol in wine & beer through distillation)
- It has an accuracy of 1% ethanol which makes it very accurate for excise tax computation.
- These are miniature hydrometers which is ideal for small labs and testing equipment. You need 25-50ml of distilled condensate to measure the alcohol reading.
- It comes in a plastic case for safety.
- The distillation method separates sugar, organic acid, and other dissolved flavors from the beverage. Hence it is more accurate than a triple scale hydrometer and refractometer.
- The resulting measurement is exactly how FSSAI measures it. So it is great for quick product development & testing before you pay for official test reports.
- Take 250ml of your beverage (it is important to accurately measure the volume)
- Borrow a glass distillation column from your high school laboratory and distill the brewed beer, kombucha or wine.
- Carefully measure the volume of distilled liquid to compute the concentration factor. For example, if 250ml of beverage is distilled to yield 50ml of distilled spirit, then the concentration factor is 250/50 = 5X.
- Now measure the density through the alcohol hydrometer. 0.5% kombucha should read 2.5%. 5% Beer would read 25% Whiskey and 10% wine will read 50% brandy (because of 5X concentration factor)
- Do remember that the alcohol scale is not a linear scale. Also, it is sensitive to temperature measurements. We have calibrated these hydrometers to 20 degrees Celsius. Do refer to your Class XI science books for more details on the density and distillation process.
PS: You need to invest in high-school laboratory distillation equipment to replicate FSSAI mandated steps of residual alcohol measurements in India. For more instructions please refer here