Anton Paar Alex 500

edited November 2019 in General

Anyone had any hands on use with the Anton Paar Alex 500?


Measures alcohol directly using infrared, so it can measure alcohol in spirits that contain fruit for example, which is not possible with a density meter (or glass hydrometer) without distilling a sample.

Looks interesting. Not cheap, but still much cheaper than their top line systems.

800 x 587 - 43K


  • Is it legal for gauging in your jurisdiction?

    If not, technically, you'll be distilling anyway.

  • edited November 2019

    Was looking into this is a bit, since I have a line on a beautiful Mettler density meter with the refractive index module (does the same thing).

    The error rates for this method are very high, way outside what would be permitting for gauging anywhere I'd imagine. Even the most expensive benchtop Anton Paar and Mettler (Liquidphysics) units aren't accurate enough for TTB in the US using this method.

    Interestingly, they are based off the old (like really, really old) nomogram tables. If you were able to get your hands on the nomogram tables, you'd be able to do the same thing yourself using a hydrometer for density and a handheld refractometer ... print them out ... measure ... draw a line ... done.

    I was able to find an example of a beer nomogram table - but the alcohol content maxes out far too low for us.


    685 x 521 - 43K
  • Just looking over the specs of these units, they appear to max out around 40% / 80 Proof - its likely that the tables become highly inaccurate outside of a narrower range (like you see above).

  • edited November 2019

    Apparently they max out at 65%, if the spirit is white.

    Down to 40 to 44% if the spirit is coloured in some way.

    Important that the spirit can be "seen through" otherwise they don't work.

    In the UK, the compliance by HMRC (national tax income) and trading standards (local authority) seem to be pretty liberal (unofficially) regarding which equipment you can use for final proofing.

    For example, with Anton Paar only the DMA 5000 is approved by HMRC. Tested by the LGC back in 1998. That costs over £20,000 ($26,000).

    Yet the DMA 4500 (3/4 of the cost of the DMA 5000) is approved by the TTB in the USA, and offers the accuracy required by HMRC. Just not tested by the LGC in the UK.

    The DMA 4500 is used by several customers of Anton Paar in the UK without any issue with national or local government.

    The Alex 500 is used by a certain distillery who take 45% white spirit (gin) then adds their fruit, and cuts to 42%. Without the need to distil a sample, which is a pain in the arse.

    And nobody in government seems to give a shit.

    This is of course really confusing. Other distilleries are using equipment that is (technically) not compliant, but they are being left alone.

    Dilemma indeed.

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