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August 11, 2014

Distilling - Potential Alcohol Table

The chart below shows how many pounds of sugar are required to reach a potential alcohol percentage for a 1,5, and 10 gallon sugar mash. This chart assumes that the mash will ferment down to 1.000- it is possible it won't ferment as low or might ferment lower. The following chart can be useful if you are creating a sugar only wash and want to know how many pounds of sugar you need to add to reach a certain percentage of alcohol for a mash. The chart is also useful if you make an all grain mash or a fruit mash and your starting gravity comes up short.

Let's pretend that we make a 5 gallon fruit wine wash and we take a gravity reading and we get a specific gravity reading of 1.025. A starting gravity of 1.025 wine fermented down to 1.000 will only yield a 3.3% ABV mash. The following chart is useful in this situation as you can see that if you add 4 pounds of sugar to a 5 gallon mash you have the potential for around 4.8% alcohol. So let's add 4 pounds of sugar - when added to our 3.3% wash should bring us close to a 8.1% ABV mash. When making a pure sugar wash- add the sugar first and then add water to reach the desired mash volume.

If you are making a 5 gallon sugar mash  with 8 pounds of sugar- add the sugar and then you will add around 4.5 gallons of water to reach the 5 gallon mark. You won't add 5 full gallons of water to the mash as the sugar is going to take up a bit of volume. Most craft distilleries have between a 6-10% starting ABV for their mash- nobody recommends pushing the yeast past 20%- we personally try not to go above 8%. The higher the alcohol percentage the more stress it puts on the yeasts- stressed yeast will produce a mash with off flavors- you will have more alcohol but it wont taste good. Quality over quantity my friends- quality over quantity.


Added Sugar vs. Potential Alcohol in 1, 5, and 10 Gallons of Mash
Pounds of Sugar 1 Gallon Mash 5 Gallon Mash 10 Gallon Mash
1 lb. 5.9% 1.2% 0.6%
2 lbs. 11.9% 2.3% 1.2%
3 lbs. 17.7% 3.6% 1.8%
3.5 lbs. 20.5% 4.1% 2.1%
4 lbs. x 4.8% 2.3%
5 lbs. x 5.9% 3.0%
6 lbs. x 7.1% 3.6%
7 lbs. x 8.3% 4.1%
8 lbs. x 9.5% 4.8%
9 lbs. x 10.7% 5.4%
10 lbs. x 11.9% 5.9%
11 lbs. x 13% 6.6%
12 lbs. x 14.2% 7.1%
13 lbs. x 15.4% 7.7%
14 lbs. x 16.5% 8.3%
15 lbs. x 17.7% 8.9%
16 lbs. x 18.8% 9.5%
17 lbs. x 20% 10.1%
18 lbs. x x 10.7%
19 lbs. x x 11.2%
20 lbs. x x 11.9%
21 lbs. x x 12.4%
22 lbs. x x 13%
23 lbs. x x 13.5%
24 lbs. x x 14.2%
25 lbs.  x x 14.7%
26 lbs. x x 15.4%
27 lbs. x x 15.9%
28 lbs. x x 16.5%
29 lbs. x x 17%
30 lbs. x x 17.7%
31 lbs. x x 18.2%
32 lbs. x x 18.8%
33 lbs. x x 19.5%
34 lbs. x x 20%

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