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Distilling and hydrometer readings

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Belzicore

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Been making Mead for a few years, and I've only recently learned to distill my brew by freezing. I know it's increasing in potency, but the hydrometer says otherwise, could anyone help explain?

Starting wort was at 1.160
Post fermentation at 1.041
Post distilling at 1.060
 

seth8530

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So remember that a change in density at the end of the day only signifies... wait for it... A change in density. At what temperature where you pre and post freeze fractions at? As I am sure you know density is a function of temperature among other things. If you want to test your technique out you could try mixing clean water with say enough grain spirit to get you to about 10% abv, and then retry. That way you know any change in density (if measurements are taking at the same temperature) is due to a change in abv.
 

seth8530

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Also, make sure you do your research about what you are doing and any health risk that might be associated with concentrating alcohols.
 

Ajmassa

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Freeze distilling isn’t actually distilling. Kind of like the opposite. Partial freezing and removing and discarding water vs burning out the booze to use.
Sounds like you concentrated the alcohol as well as the sugar. The frozen water contained no alcohol or sugars making a sweeter higher abv.
Ethanol stays the same.
Sugars stay the same.
Volume goes down
Hydrometer is just reading amount of sugar so will rise since more concentrated now in spite of higher abv as well.
 

JohnT

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Here is how the law works....

Wine and cider may not be frozen for the express purpose of increasing the alcohol content. TTB has previously held that freezing a mixture of alcohol and aqueous fermented material, like wine, causes some water to freeze and separate from the alcohol mixture. The resultant mixture has higher alcohol content than the original and is called a high alcohol content wine fraction” and any person who separates alcoholic spirits from any fermented substance is known as a distiller. Because Federal law requires a permit to operate as a distiller and prohibits the operation of a distillery in a residence, in order to freeze wine or cider you will have to file an application with TTB and follow our regulations regarding the manufacturing processes approved for making distilled spirits.

In short, as far as the government is concerned, performing Fractional crystallization is considered the same as distillation.
 

Ajmassa

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Thanks for the insight.
I think that law is just ridiculous tho! For Shiners I understand the laws in place. But bumping up a wine a smidge by freezing I don’t. And essentially deeming all freezers as “distilleries”.
Yet you can dump in Everclear to your hearts content to fortify.
I disagree wholeheartedly with our government on this one.
 

GreginND

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You can disagree all you want, but until the law is changed or overturned, it is still the law.
 
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