Alcohol by volume

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"ABV" redirects here. For other uses, see ABV (disambiguation).
The alcohol by volume shown on a bottle of absinthe.

Alcohol by volume (abbreviated as ABV, abv, or alc/vol) is a standard measure of how much alcohol (ethanol) is contained in an alcoholic beverage (expressed as a percentage of total volume).[1][2][3] It is defined as the number of millilitres of pure ethanol present in 100 millilitres of solution at 20 °C.[4] The number of millilitres of pure ethanol is the mass of the ethanol divided by its density at 20 °C, which is 0.78924 g/ml. The ABV standard is used worldwide.

In some countries, alcohol by volume is referred to as degrees Gay-Lussac (after the French chemist Joseph Louis Gay-Lussac),[5] although there is a slight difference since Gay-Lussac used 15 °C.

Mixing two solutions of alcohol of different strengths usually causes a change in volume. Adding pure water to a solution less than 24% by mass causes a slight increase in volume, but mixing solutions above 24% causes a decrease in volume.[6] More information on the phenomenon of volume changes due to mixing dissimilar solutions is discussed in the article on partial molar volume.

Typical levels[edit]

Details about typical amounts of alcohol contained in various beverages can be found in the articles about them.

Drink Typical ABV
Fruit juice (naturally occurring) less than 0.1%
Low-alcohol beer 0.05%–1.2%
Kvass 0.05%–1.5%
Kombucha 0.5%–1.5%
Kefir 0.5%–2.0%
Boza 1%
Chicha 1%–11% (usually 1%–6%)
Cider 2%–8.5%
Beer 2%–12% (usually 4%–6%)
Alcopops 4%–17.5%
Malt liquor 5%+
Makgeolli 6.5%–7%
Barley wine (strong ale) 8%–15%
Mead 8%–16%
Wine 9%–16% (most often 12.5%–14.5%)[7]
Kilju 15%–17%
Dessert wine 14%–25%
Sake (rice wine) 15% (or 18%–20% if not diluted prior to bottling)
Liqueurs 15%–55%
Fortified wine 15.5%–20%[8] (in the European Union, 18%–22%)
Soju 17%–45% (usually 19%)
Shochu 25%–45% (usually 25%)
Ruou (Vietnamese liquor) 27%-38%
Bitters 28%–45%
Mezcal, Tequila 32%–60% (usually 40%)
Vodka 35%–50% (usually 40%, minimum of 37.5% in the European Union)
Brandy 35%–60% (usually 40%)
Rum 37.5%–80%
Ouzo 37.5%+
Cachaça 38%–54%
Sotol 38%–60%
Stroh 38%–80%
Nalewka 40%–45%
Gin 40%–50%
Whisky 40%–68% (usually 40%, 43% or 46%)
Baijiu 40%–60%
Chacha 40%–70%
Centerbe (herb liqueur) 70%
Pálinka 42%–86% (legally in Hungary 48%–51%)
Rakia 42%–86%
Absinthe 45%–89.9%
Ţuica 45%–60% (usually 52%)
Arak 60%–65%
Poitín 60%–95%
Neutral grain spirit 85%–95%
Cocoroco 93%–96%[citation needed]
Rectified spirit 95%-96%

Alcohol proof[edit]

Another way of specifying the amount of alcohol is alcohol proof, which in the United States is twice the alcohol-by-volume number, while in the United Kingdom it is 1.75 times the number (expressed as a percentage).[9][10] For example, 40% abv is 80 proof in the US and 70 proof in the UK. However, since 1980, alcoholic proof in the UK has been replaced by abv as a measure of alcohol content.

Proof and alcohol by weight[edit]

In the United States, a few states regulate and tax alcoholic beverages according to alcohol by weight (abw), expressed as a percentage of total mass. Some brewers print the abw (rather than the abv) on beer containers, particularly on low-point versions of popular domestic beer brands.

At relatively low abv, the alcohol percentage by weight is about 4/5 of the abv (e.g., 3.2% abw is equivalent to 4.0% abv).[11] However, because of the miscibility of alcohol and water, the conversion factor is not constant but rather depends upon the concentration of alcohol. 100% abw, of course, is equivalent to 100% abv.

Calculation of alcohol content[edit]

During the production of wine and beer, yeast is added to a sugary solution. During fermentation, the yeast organisms consume the sugars and produce alcohol. The density of sugar in water is greater than the density of alcohol in water. A hydrometer is used to measure the change in specific gravity (SG) of the solution before and after fermentation. The volume of alcohol in the solution can then be calculated.

Wine[edit]

The simplest method for wine has been described by English author C.J.J. Berry:[12]

  • ABV = (\mathrm{Starting~SG} - \mathrm{Final~SG})/.736

ISBN 1-85486-139-5

Beer[edit]

The calculation for beer is:[13]{{}}

Where 1.05 is the number of grams of ethanol produced for every gram of CO2 produced, and .79 is the density of ethanol,

However, many brewers use the following formula:[15]

  • ABV = 131 \left( \mathrm{Starting~SG} - \mathrm{Final~SG} \right)

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Lafayette Brewing Co.". www.lafayettebrewingco.com. Retrieved 2012-02-04. 
  2. ^ "Glossary of whisky and distillation". www.celtic-whisky.com. Retrieved 2012-02-04. 
  3. ^ "English Ales Brewery Monterey British Brewing Glossary". www.englishalesbrewery.com. Retrieved 2012-02-04. 
  4. ^ Collins English Dictionary. London: Collins. 2005. 
  5. ^ "Joseph Louis Gay-Lussac (1778–1850)". chemistry.about.com. Retrieved 2008-07-05. 
  6. ^ See data in the CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics, 49th edition, pp. D-151 and D-152. Mixing a solution above 24% with a solution below 24% may cause an increase or a decrease, depending on the details.
  7. ^ Robinson, Jancis. The Oxford Companion to Wine, 3rd edition, (Oxford University Press: 2006). See alcoholic strength at p. 10.
  8. ^ Robinson, Jancis. The Oxford Companion to Wine, 3rd edition, (Oxford University Press: 2006). See fortification at p. 279.
  9. ^ Regan, Gary (2003). The Joy of Mixology. New York: Clarkson Potter. pp. 356–357. ISBN 0-609-60884-3. 
  10. ^ Berry, C.J.J. First Steps in Winemaking. Poole, United Kingdom: Special Interest Model Books. ISBN 1-85486-139-5. 
  11. ^ "Realbeer.com: Beer Break - Alcohol Content In Beer". www.realbeer.com. Archived from the original on 4 July 2008. Retrieved 2008-07-05. 
  12. ^ Berry, C.J.J. First Steps in Winemaking. Poole, United Kingdom: Special Interest Model Books. ISBN 1-85486-139-5. 
  13. ^ "Calculate Percent Alcohol in Beer". BrewMoreBeer.com. Retrieved 2014-07-03. 
  14. ^ Anon, 2012, Industrial Microbiology Beer Fermentation Practical, School Of Applied Sciences, RMIT University, Melbourne
  15. ^ "Get to Know Your Alcohol (By Volume)". BeerAdvocate.com. Retrieved 2014-07-03. 

Bibliography[edit]

  • Hehner, Otto (1880). Alcohol Tables: giving for all specific gravities, from 1.0000 to 0.7938, the percentages of absolute alcohol, by weight and volume. London: J & A Churchill, ASIN B0008B5HOU. 

External links[edit]