For most spirit blending and production operations, simply load a sample and receive % ABV in less than 3 minutes. Even obscured samples are easy to measure while blending down to label value, saving you hours of time each month on time consuming lab distillations. Using both density and refractive index measurements the AlcoTest®-RI can calculate % ABV accurately even with the presence of flavorings, colorings, additives and barrel aging. If you maintain tight formulas for your products, the need for lab distillations is greatly reduced.
As a producer of Wine and obscured alcoholic beverages it is your goal to choose the most accurate, least time intrusive solution to measure these samples without distillation.
Lab distillations are required by taxation bureaus as a means to measure the percentage of alcohol in a given alcohol beverage. Simple alcohol and water mixtures are very easy to read in a density meter alone as the Density Meter knows the density of water and ethanol so with some internal calculations, the percentage of alcohol can be determined. When other elements are present in an alcohol solution such as flavorings, heavy barrel aging or sugars, the percent alcohol in the water is masked or obscured by the added elements. Scientists discovered that by distilling the alcohol solution they could vaporize and recollect just the alcohol, add back the missing volume of water, and now the percentage of alcohol can be determined. Is distillation perfect? No, but it is a fairly reliable way of separating alcohol from a solution and for governments to have a means to collect tax.
Many government taxation bureaus require alcohol beverages that are not just alcohol and water to be distilled. You may go one step further and say “Or use another known more accurate method”. Thus, distillation is often the default standard, but methods such as Gas Chromatography may also be used, as this is a known more accurate method.