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FAQs

TECHNICAL BULLETIN
ABOUT BRIX, GLUCOSE
+ FRUCTOSE,
AUTOMATED
ANALYSIS
AND
POTENTIAL
ALCOHOL
OF YEAST
COUNT AND
VIABILITY
7 August 2013

The amount of fermentable sugar (glucose + fructose) in


juice and the average conversion rate of sugar into alcohol
can be used to help predict the potential alcohol level in the
corresponding fully fermented wine.
WHY CHOOSE GLUCOSE + FRUCTOSE INSTEAD OF BRIX
FOR ALCOHOL PREDICTIONS?
Brix provides a quick estimate of sugar content, but it is
actually a measure of all the dissolved matter in must, not
just the fermentable sugars. Using Brix, which is not a true
measure of fermentable sugar, adds an additional layer of
uncertainty to alcohol predictions.
The glucose + fructose analysis provides more accurate
sugar levels than Brix for a given sample regardless of fruit
conditions. Differences or discrepancies between Brix and
actual fermentable sugar content are more pronounced in
immature fruit and in fruit affected by fungal growth.
HOW DO GLUCOSE + FRUCTOSE COMPARE WITH BRIX?
It might seem surprising that glucose + fructose numbers
often appear higher than the corresponding Brix. The
reason for this apparent anomaly is that Brix is measured
as a percentage by weight measurement so Brix values are
influenced by the density of the juice. Glucose + fructose is
measured as weight by volume and is independent of juice
density.
This helps explain why Brix (% by weight) appear to increase
more slowly than glucose + fructose (weight by volume)
during grape ripening and why the equivalent glucose +
fructose results usually are higher than Brix for sugar values
greater than 21-23 Brix.

CONVERSION RATIOS FOR POTENTIAL ALCOHOL


The conversion rate used by the European Union is: Potential
Alcohol (% vol) = glucose + fructose (g/L) 16.83.
Keep in mind that since actual conversion rates vary with
yeast properties and fermentation conditions, the calculation
of potential alcohol is only an approximation. Alcohol
conversion ratios are always subject to variability during
fermentation so your alcohol may be lower or higher than
your potential alcohol estimate.
This calculation provides a good starting point for estimating
the potential alcohol content of a wine. Clients have found
that the conversion rates observed for their own yeasts and
fermentation conditions generally remain relatively constant
and use their internally observed rates to calculate potential
alcohol content based on their glucose + fructose values.

ESTIMATED CONVERSION RANGES


SUGAR (g/L)

ETHANOL (% Vol)

180

10.0 - 10.9

190

10.6 - 11.5

200

11.1 - 12.1

210

11.7 - 12.7

220

12.2 - 13.3

230

12.8 - 13.9

240

13.3 - 14.5

250

13.9 - 15.2

260

14.4 - 15.8

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