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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|