Just a quick update to say that I’m letting these calculators out of beta. Some of you have seen them already if you’re on my email list but now they are available as a regular site feature in the right hand navigation bar. If you can think of other calculators that might be useful, let me know. Here they are:

Travis says

What is the optimal temp to store a batch at during waiting periods?

Ben says

I actually think it doesn’t matter much. Limoncello isn’t temperature sensitive the way wine or beer is. I usually store it at room temperature (72-75 degrees F)

bill nye says

Awesome! If I can make a 240% alcohol solution then I can break absolute zero!

Josh says

I have enjoyed your website alot and have made a couple of successful batches thanks to you! However, the Calculator has not worked now for a couple of weeks. Will the calculator be up and running soon? Thanks for you wonderful website!

Ben says

Yes, the site redesign killed the calculator but it should be up again within a day or so. Sorry about that!

Joseph says

Hi Ben, looking at your calculator I can see how you calculate how much simple syrup is needed given a 100% abv of the liquor to create a desired abv for the final product. Could you tell me how to calculate the final product abv with a KNOWN simple syrup amount? Example: 1250ml of 84.8% liquor and 1675ml of simple syrup. Could you show me the math to take into account the 84.8% and how to back into the abv rather than calculating for simple syrup?

Rich Shulman says

I am a little confused by the standard recipe. When you say your Limoncello is “strong”, what kind of alcohol percentage are you producing?

If I plug the standard recipe into the calculator (1500 – 75 – 30), it says I need 3375 ml (about 14 cups) of simple syrup, but the recipe says 5 cups.

What am I missing here?

Ben says

I think I may be misunderstanding you but I’ll take a crack at it anyway. Your total volume in that case is 1,250 + 1,675 = 2,925ml of fluid. Your pure alcohol volume is 1,250 * 0.848 = 1,060. So 1,060/2,925 = 36% ABV.

Bob says

Hi, Question about the calculator. I put in my values and it calculated an amount of simple syrup that seems high. So I tried an experiment, I tried 1L of 100% Alcohol and asked for a 50% final product and it calculated 2 liters of simple syrup. Shouldn’t it be 1L to SS, giving a total volume of 2 liters that is 50% alcohol?

Laura says

I don’t think the calculator is working properly. When I put in the following criteria:

1000ml alcohol

100% alcohol

50% desired alcohol content

The result is 2000ml of simple syrup to add. It should only be 1000ml of simple syrup to add to bring the desired alcohol content to 50%. The total amount of liquid you would end with would be 2000ml.

Steve H says

Hey Ben – love your website and articles! Inspired me to want to make a batch, but I have a question first (hopefully not a dumb question!). I have both Everclear and Vodka available. Per your calculator:

A. 190 proof Everclear needs 3,117 ML of simple sugar for 30% Limoncello.

B. 100 proof Vodka needs to 1,166 ML of simple sugar to reach 30% Limoncello.

Simple sugar obviously cut the alcohol content, but what about sweetness?

Logically it would seem the Everclear batch would be far sweeter than the Vodka version based upon the quantity of simple sugar added. Making it a bit more complex, Vodka also contains water – 500 ML per liter in the example above. That fact, plus adding less than half the simple sugar per liter, suggests the Vodka version will be significantly less sweet.

So does your calculator take all of this into account to measure both alcohol content and sweetness? If so, what measurement in sweetness (assuming there is a way to measure it) is sought in your standard recipe regardless of spirit / proof used?

Thanks in advance!

Jasmin says

What is the desired alcohol % of the final product do you strive for? Don’t want to make it too weak…

Kim Weber says

Dear Ben…thank you so much for taking the time to put together such a comprehensive website for your passion and my delight.

Question…

In your standard recipe of:

*1500 ml of pure grain alcohol

*The zest of 17 lemons

*3.5 cups of white sugar

*5 cups of water

I am presuming that this batch will equate to your recommendation of a finished product of 30% alcohol.

Living in Florida, i cannot purchase 95% grain alcohol and must use 75%. According to your calculator if i use my 75% alcohol, i should use approximately 3000 ml of simple syrup to have an end product rated at 33%.

What is the yield in milliliters of your 5 cups of water and 3.5 cups of sugar so i may be able to adjust and wind up with 3000 ml of simple syrup?

Thank you!

Peter says

Hate to be pedantic, but I believe the math (or labeling, depending on your perspective) behind the new calculator is incorrect.

Simple example: to achieve a final 50% ABV with input of 1000ml of 100% alcohol, one should need to only add another 1000ml of 0% ABV liquid (=”simple syrup”). 1000ml @ 100% ABV + 1000ml @ 0% ABV = 2000ml @ 50% ABV.

However, the calculator suggests to add 2000ml of simple syrup, therefore yielding a 33.3% ABV (1000ml @ 100% ABV + 2000ml @ 0% ABV = 3000ml @ 33.3% ABV).

The 2000ml labeled as “simple syrup required” is the amount of *total* solution volume (alcohol + simple syrup), not the requisite simple syrup added to achieve the target ABV.

Kim Weber says

Ben…I went ahead and created the simple syrup following your directions of five (5) cups of water combined with three and one half (3.5) cups of sugar. to my surprise, the sugar did not displace any of the water, completely dissolved and my batch yielded only 1900 ml of simple syrup (most likely to boiling it for 6 minutes). I added the syrup to the lemon peel / 75% grain alcohol mixture after waiting 45 days and filtering 4 times. The initial start of 1500 ml of alcohol also dissipated some, most likely being absorbed into the lemon peals which were discarded.

The container I had wound up being full – however i believe my alcohol content should now be close to 44%. I am going to go ahead with this batch as it is – I’ve become impatient at this point and come hell or high water will break it out in 20 days for Christmas…we will see how it turns out. I figure i can always dilute it more by manufacturing more simple syrup.

Thanks!

PS – the alcohol % calculator is still fried…

Bill DeFelice says

Ben,

I was trying to go logically through the calculator. I put in 1500 ml at 75 % (151 grain) and then put in that I wanted the final product to be 75%. The calculator gave me an answer of 1125 or something close to that. My expectation was that I would get a 0. If I just want to cut the ABV in half shouldn’t I add as much simple syrup as starting liqueur

Don says

Ben– Is there a calculator (or general rule of thumb) for determining how much zest is optimal for infusing a certain amount of alcohol? Or do you stick to the 12 lemons for 750ml, 17 for 1500ml?

Ben says

What I use is about 50 grams of zest.

Jim says

Would there be any benefit in using distilled water for syrup?

Tom Radu says

Hello,

We are making limoncello and limecello.

We have 17.5 liters of everclear (95%) that we infused into the zest of 950 lemons.

Last year we used a 1 cup water to 1 cup sugar recipe.

This year the women want a less sweet result. Can you give us a formula to make the simple syrup less sweet (syrupy)?

Thanks

Ben says

Consistency of taste. Distilled water always tastes the same because there’s nothing in it. Your tap water may have minerals, chemicals, etc. that cause it to have a flavor.

Ben says

Just reduce the sugar, my standard recipe calls for 3.5 cups sugar to 5 cups water. Yours is a much higher 50/50 ratio.

Jim says

Still no clear answer….I have 1500 of 75.5% alcohol…zest of 20 lemons…sat 45 days…here is the tricky part that many dont seem clear on: HOW MUCH simple syrup to add? I used the 5 cup water to 3.5 cup sugar recipe but is that enough? It seems to conflict several places and the calculator tells me I need twice that much. Maybe the calculator can be adjusted to have people input how much alcohol they START with, and then how much simple syrup t add for the 30% goal. If I plug in 750ML stsart instead of my 1500, it gives me the correct 40 oz of syrup to add. Maybe the calculator is figuring on final product volume… can you please clarify that? One of the posters indicated she was going to go ahead as-is and let it sit for the 2nd 45 days..so i will do the same and see how that goes.. I guess I can always add more simply syrup later and have it sit longer? Anyone?

Jorn says

First of: Ben! thanks alot for this guide I just used it to finish my first batch and tastes good!

What might be included in the guide is the measureing of alcohol after filtration. I started with 2000 ml of 96% (192 proof) alcohol and after the filtering (and bits of spilling) and the residue left in the peels I ended up with 1.825 ml. so thats my base for the rest of the calculations. Might seem obvious but always measure after filtration and adjust simple syrup calculation based on that.

@Jim,

1500 ml of 75,5 % (of 151 proof) is your base.

you don’t say your desired end result but I guess its 30 % alcohol.

New calculator works fine and tells you to add 2250 ml of simple syrup.

HOWEVER: like I said before its highly unlikely that you end up with 1500 ml after filtering.

Measure the content after you waited 45 days and filtered.