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Anton Paar says Snap with portable alcohol meter

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By Joe Whitworth+

Last updated on 28-Aug-2014 at 13:11 GMT

Anton Paar's Snap 50 device
Anton Paar's Snap 50 device

Anton Paar has created an alcohol measurement device to check the concentration in microdistilleries.

Snap 50 is aimed at small distilleries and industrial producers which measure distillates in all strengths with an accuracy of 0.1% v/v.

The portable device means quality checks on-site and outside the laboratory can be done independent of the ambient temperature.

The digital alcohol meter checks the alcohol content in two-component mixtures of water and ethanol in the production process: from pure distillates, samples taken during dilution to drinkable strength or ready-to-drink spirits, covering the relevant measuring range from 0% to 100 % v/v.

A sample is taken from the storage vessel, the influence of temperature on the result is automatically compensated and the alcohol concentration is displayed in seconds.

Determine on density

Julia Ganser, product management, lab instruments for density, concentration and temperature, said it is possible to determine the alcohol based on density, using the oscillating U-tube.

“It can be used at any stage whether you have 0% or 100% volume alcohol, after distillation to 60-65% you can check volume and percentage then dilute to drinking strength,” she told

“You can also check the alcohol content of distillates that are stored, to check if alcohol has evaporated and check stored liquids in oak barrels that are stored longer.”

She said that the combination of accuracy and portability means it is better than current market alternatives as it is cheaper than the lab versions and samples can be taken direct from the container.

Sample temperatures from 0 °C to 40 °C are measured and the alcohol content is automatically calculated and displayed at the required reference temperature of 20 °C (or 60 °F).

The oscillating U-tube principle is used to measure the density, which is the basis for the automatic calculation of the alcohol concentration.

System advantage

Ganser said the most important advantage of the system is the saving in time and effort as it gives results seconds after immersing the measuring tube in the distillate.

“Most companies have old methods such as glass hydrometers which are time consuming, with this method what you can do in one day is increased," she said.

“The most important thing is accuracy as government regulations, depending on the nation, require alcohol measurement to be highly accurate and the speed of measurement is the second importance.”

During the development phase the firm worked with Jack Daniel Distillery (Lynchburg, USA), Limestone Branch Distillery (Lebanon, USA). 

Feindestillerie Hochstrasser (Mooskirchen, Austria), GÖLLES Manufaktur für edlen Brand & feinen Essig (Riegersburg, Austria), the Hirmann family (Rudersdorf-Berg, Austria), Ulrich Jakob Zeni (Silz, Austria) were also involved.

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