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Calculation error?


When making 80ML batches at 5% flavor, my calculations always call for roughly 4MLS of flavor (or 4 grams) to make that 5% flavor. For some reason, and it seemed odd, my grams increased nearly double to make that same 5%. I’m trying to figure out why this is so out of whack?




When mixing this recipe, I backed off despite calling for 7 grams of flavor and went with slightly more than the usual 4 grams of flavor. But something clearly does not seem right with this calculation.


The MSDS shows the weight at 1.773 g/ml, so the calculations would be correct although it does seem high for what I assume is pg based flavor


Easy way to roughly check the specific gravity. Use a syringe to weigh exactly 1ml of the flavour and then compare the result to the data sheet. Certainly 7.09g / 4 = 1.77g.


You have to decide what your goal is. If your goal is to make exactly reproducible flavor profiles batch to batch then you must mix by weight. If your goal is to make exactly a certain amount by volume batch to batch then mix using a calulator like the ELR one. However, understand that there are errors introduced into the formula when using a volume calucaltor like ELR because the specific gravity conversion is not exactly precise.

This question comes up all the time. Recently in PM, @ChemicalBurnVictim and I were discussing some Hybrid NET recipes and he protested that my formulation of his recipe as listed in the ELR database was wrong. I pointed out to him that I just wanted to make “a little bit for test” and used the “percentage” as listed on the ELR database. This introduced the type of error you are talking about.

So I ran a spreadsheet to help him understand the issue. Here is a copy of that sheet. I might add that in the chemistry lab and in industrial chemistry (a subject I spent 35 years immersed in) we mix by weight because the goal is to exactly and precisely reproduce a formula, the goal is not to exactly and precisely fill a 80ml bottle.

In the following spreadsheet the “ML VOLUME” numbers comes from the ELR calculator,


LOL , basically you show an error of 0.02% of a grm per ml. in his recipe with a flavor base of 4ml that would give the recipe an error of 0.08% if I understand your spread sheet, I would venture to say you have amazing taste buds to differentiate that outcome. But pretty cool info anyway


Yes, I never said that these introduced errors is going to be something that you can "taste. You are correct, these seem small errors. However, that is why I broke out the “Flavor Delta” separate from the overall error. So this depends on product flavor intensity/gm and the overall balance of weight of total flavors to total weight of the formula. For example if the formula includes using TA(tobacco absolute), you might find that 1/2% is a lot !!! - In a typical formula where the flavor is running at about 5% of the overall weight of the formula then the Flavor error is about 1/2 a percent. But this error rate will vary with overall balance of the recipe.

Another source of errors with conversion calculators like ELR is that the calculator assumption is made that certain items have a certain specific gravity. This is a huge leap of faith that the calculator “knows” what, in fact, the specific gravity of a specific ingredient actually is ! How does it know that the “TA” has a sg of 1.1 or that “Black For Pipe” converts at some other rate? It doesn’t, so that is an issue.

I guess I am a little annoyed that the ELR calculator does NOT plainly label it % calculations as “by VOLUME”… This leaves the user to, perhaps, assume that it is a % by weight, and I think this is a major source of confusion:



The MSDS for the flavor is were this particular specific gravity was calculate and correctly to the 0.00%, yes and converting volume to weight can be filled with many errors
by us kitchen scale mixers


Probably is old this msds with typo?
Right now is 0.88-0.91
From ther site


Uhh?? Really ?? The ELR database has actually had someone input all the info from MSDS Sheets to each of the thousands of flavors offered by commercial vendors, and it actually maintains that as live and correct data in its database? Well, I guess I was unaware of that. I just assumed that it was saying ‘all flavors have some singular nominal value that we will conveniently use for all of them’

As to MSDS sheets and their truthfulness, that is a subject for another thread, but I can tell you as one who wrote dozens of them as part of my daily job, they are fudged to the extreme. There are many reasons for that. I worked for a company that had to protect its proprietary products from knock offs by competitors. The MSDS sheets were carefully crafted to hide the real data.


Cool maybe you can update the data.I went with the MSDS related to the calculation. I am sure there are a lot more like you show.


SEE the little Black dot with the i in it, look right above it


so the calculations were correct by the information given in the flavor of choice. That was my point only


Thanks to this post, I now have another PG-free Grape to use! Glad you got the proper specific gravity. I was about to post the same screenshot of the data sheet!

“Non Flavor Ingredients:
Alcohol (used as a carrier to dissolve flavor ingredients), Water, Citric Acid”
-Capella website



Depends on how you look at it. I think it’s obvious that the % is by Volume. I Mix by weight and only count drops to see how off-or-on my drops are per bottle. So I like displaying my recipe calculator formatted like this. Looking at it this way it’s clear-as-day, no confusion whatsoever.

Plus all bottles drop different weights per drop. You have to draw the line somewhere to have a functioning calculator, you just can’t account for everything.



Well, this is all news to me. I will look over the ELR calculator and run some ‘fact check’ tests recipes and see what results I get. This will be on the ‘to-do’ list for next week, as no time right now, but I will check it out. I am most curious. -However you can see right away about my argument about MSDS sheets and the error issues. one post states the MSDS for the Grape as: 1.773 and @Laberythm has it as 0.88, so that sort of makes my argument for me …


I can not update the data on ELR calculator side.


I was stating what is listed in this database under that particular flavor entry ( not “You”), yes the entered one is from 2012 the other one is newer, maybe a formula change (?) because the combustible hazards are even different different


The only way of doing this and keeping it as accurate as possible for your personal mixing is the option under the settings/profile menu.

There you can click “use manufacturer specific gravity” if that’s enabled it will use it. If not marked it won’t use it.

but here’s the issue, you would then need to go in and set the weight yourself for every flavor, otherwise it takes the default of 1.0038 which it does anyways for the flavors that don’t have info from the sheets.

This does open two problems so, if you let’s say want 3% lemonade, in cases where ppl use the manufacturer weight, this recipe will be different from yours.

Now we can argue that .o2 g is not much to notice, but unfortunately for some flavors it’s noticeable. 2 drops or .04g of rich cinnamon will taste different then 1 drop - .o2 g of the same flavor.

It only matters when you sharing your recipes, if not, then using option A or B is irrelevant. Just pick what you want to do, over organize everything and be accurate down to the tiniest drop, or laid back and have the numbers put in the calculator by somebody else.

No right or wrong here. But if you pick route b you will have to constantly check msds for changes and apply that, if not you have the same problem as described here lol


Yes. Your observation is exactly correct. This is where I ran into big problems with the ELR system. As per my first post describing when @ChemicalBurnVictim and I were communicating about some NETs that have very high density ingredients, immediately this issue surfaced.

I mix with a scale accurate to 1/10 gram. I really see no reason to mix by volume, constantly dealing with SG conversion issues.