There are an incredibly large number of variables involved in Fermentation and Distillation, each of which impacts on the final quality of the product. Only by measuring, recording and controlling these variables can we ensure consistent product quality.
Product development is in essence playing around with these variables, to see what combination gives me the best result or my unique product. In order to do product development therefore, we need to be able to measure and record the variables we influenced, which will eventually give us our recipe.
Record Keeping is a legal requirement for both Home and Commercial Distillers or Craft Distillers. Especially on a commercial level, you can be expected to be Audited at least once a year, and based on these Audits, it will be determined whether or not you accurately declared your production and paid the correct Excise Tax. Without proper measurements, there cannot be proper records.
Legal requirements in terms of Labeling and Product Regulations need to be adhered too - these include (among others) ABV% and Sugar content. Accurate Measurements of these variables are required in order to make sure the product and labels are legally compliant.
Certain processes like the Rehydration of Yeast, Starch Conversion, Fermentation Pitching, etc. requires detailed measurements in terms of volumes, times, temperatures and the like, in order to ensure that the process achieves its desired result.
In order to run a Profitable Commercial Distillery or Craft Distillery, or even to make sure that as a Hobby or Home Distiller I do not waste money or potential yield, it is necessary to have accurate measurements and information about my product and process, so that I can do the necessary calculations to ensure maximum yield and recovery.
There are of course many more reasons why we need accurate Measurements, but these are the most important.
What do we Measure in a Distillery?
You can and should measure everything you can, as the more information you have, the better for you when it comes to repeatability, consistency, and troubleshooting. These are merely the most important factors to keep track of.
Mass - of Raw Material and Ingredients
Volume - of Raw Material, Ingredients, Product, Samples and Intermediate Products
Time - of Processes, Treatments and Procedures
pH - of Fermentations and Final Products
Sugar - of Raw Material, Fermentation and Final Products
Specific Gravity - of Raw Material, Fermentation and Final Products (not just Sugar, but other dissolved Solids as well)
Alcohol - of Raw Material (if a Producer), Products and Intermediate Products)
Temperature - of Fermentation, Distillation, Processes, Treatments, Procedures, Final Product and Intermediate Products