What is PPG
Points per pound per gallon is a unit of measure for the gravity points a malt or grain or sugar has to describe the potential it has to produce alcohol in a recipe.
Many times the beginner is looking for a recipe to try out. They find one and try it. They use their triple scale to find the Initial Gravity and that's that. Many times for the beginner there is no understanding why the recipe produces the amount of alcohol it produces. They are simply duplicating a recipe. There is nothing wrong with this approach, In fact, it's a great place to start. but at some point you want to know that the IG (Initial Gravity) you start with is what you should have got. This is just another step in the learning process to gain a deeper understanding of what is going on when you are mashing in a recipe.
How to use PPG
If you understand PPG then you will have an idea ahead of time what IG to expect. An understanding of PPG will also allow you to modify existing recipes to get a certain IG. This all relates to ABV% and will affect yield and proof of final product.
Say you try a whiskey recipe and get an IG of 1.070, but you have found that you prefer recipes with an IG of 1.050. well, with an understanding of PPG you will be able to alter grain amounts, water amounts, or even sugar amounts to target a specific initial gravity.
I'm going to do a simple example here. A lot of the folks in our Moonshine For Beginner's group like to start with basic corn whiskey recipes. It's a great place to start because corn is inexpensive and has a great flavor. It oaks well and ages well. It's a very versatile and affordable recipe.
By the way, if you want to join our Moonshine For Beginners group here is an invitation link.
Okay, let's build out a simple corn mash recipe, and lets say we want to achieve an Initial Gravity of 1.050. This means we want 50 gravity points per gallon in our recipe. And let's say we want to use cracked corn as our main supply of starch and we want to use 2 row barley as our supply of enzymes to convert that starch.
If we know we want 50 gravity points per gallon then we need to decide how big a batch are we going to make. We want to make a 5 gallon batch so, we multiply 5 gallons by 50 gravity points. This tells us we need 250 total gravity points in this recipe.
Now we need to know what is the PPG of both cracked corn and 2 row malted barley. I've made this part simple for you. I have put a Typical PPG chart of the most common grains and malts here on the website.
We go to the chart and find that the PPG of cracked corn is 30/lb and the PPG of 2 row is 31/lb
Now, because we have already learned how to understand Diastatic Power we know that we need at least 25% of this recipe to 2 row barley so we have enough enzymatic power to convert all the starch we can start picking numbers for the pounds of grain.
We already know we want 250 total gravity points in our 5 gallon recipe so we can find the right amount of 2 row by multiplying 250 by 25% this gives us 62.5 or 63. Now we know we're going to try to get 63 total gravity points from the 2 row.
Because of the Typical PPG chart on STC we know that 2 row has a PPG of 31/lb. All we have to do now is devide 63 by 31 which is 2.03 or 2. so we need at least 2 lbs of 2 row.
To figure out how much cracked corn to use we take the remaining 187 gravity points for the recipe and divide that by the PPG of cracked corn which is 30 to get 6.3 lbs of cracked corn.
We have just built our first recipe from scratch with a target IG of 1.050
With this information, we can know before we even mash that we can anticipate an ABV of 6.7%
If you have any questions please leave them in the comment section bellow. I usually check them daily.