This blog provides information for educational purposes only. Products sold are intended to be used in accordance with the proper licensing or permitting procedure of the respective jurisdiction of the user. Read our complete legal summary for more info.

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%
  • Re: Stressing of yeast,
    The awesome thing about using Corn sugar (dextrose), I have used 40 pounds in a 10 gallon wash with distillers yeast (red star – dady) and never even stall the yeast. It takes no time to disolve, it ferments completely in about a week and I let it settle for another 5-7 days. 20% abv. It will turn a little yellow but still very clean, absolutely neutral, no off flavor after running. Easily get 180-190 pr on a single reflux run. I also use fermax nutrient just to be safe.

    Posted by Jonnyshine on November 05, 2017
  • How much sugar and yeast do I add for just 1 gallon?

    Posted by Patrick on October 23, 2017
  • How much yeast will be adding to 15 lbs of sugar,it is make a difference or not??

    Posted by Vlad on March 30, 2017

Leave a comment

Please note, the design of our website does not allow us to respond directly to blog comments. Please email us directly regarding questions about products. We don't answer questions about recipes, procedures, etc. However, feel free to leave a comment or respond to comments made by others!