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Scales for sweetness measuring Brix, Balling, Plato, ČNM, KMW, Oechsle, Baumé

Auxiliary calculators

We have prepared two special sweetness calculators for our visitors:

  1. Mostwaage converter - conversion among different scales for wine must
  2. Calculator for sugar concentrates dilution

Degree Brix (°Bx)

The scale in Brix degrees (sign °Bx) has been designed to determine how many grams of sucrose is dissolved in 100 g of sugar aqueous solution. The degree Brix represents the strength of the solution as percentage by mass (sugar mass fraction). If you measure value 25 °Bx it means that in the 100 g of aqueous solution is dissolved 25 g of sucrose. In other words, in 100 g of aqueous sucrose solution is 25 g of sucrose and 75 g of water. That is why is sometimes used the percent sign (%) as a unit because the sucrose content is a sucrose percentage by weight.

The results Brix are fully convertible to refractive index (the degrees Brix are defined an international standard ICUMSA) therefore the refractometers equipped with Brix scale can be used for measuring of any chemicals.


The Brix scale is widely used in the food industry for measuring of sugar content in fruits, vegetables, fruit juices and its concentrates. According to measured values you can determine the ideal time to harvest fruits and vegetables that they will arrive to the consumer in perfect condition or in a condition suitable for further processing (e.g. winemaking/vinification).

The Brix scale reflects the amount of dissolved sugars in aqueous liquid (concentration) and because this concentration is in relation with the liquid density (specific gravity SG), you can easily calculate the specific gravity (SG) from a value measured by Brix refractometer - °Bx = 261.3 * (1 - 1 / SG).

Degrees Brix, Balling, Plato and their differences

The author of the Balling scale (°Bg, °Blg) is the Czech chemist Karel Josef Napoleon Balling. It has been developed in 1843 and it has been designed for especially for measuring of dissolved solids concentration (mainly sucrose) as a sucrose mass fraction (percentage by weight) - originally at 17.5 °C.

Adolf Ferdinand Wenceslaus Brix derived the Brix scale by recalculating of Balling scale to another reference temperature 15.5 °C. But also the Brix scale had been revised and has been again recalculated to currently used reference temperature 20 °C. To calculate the Brix value from the specific gravity may be used following equation 261.3 * (1 - 1 / SG), SG is specific gravity of the aqueous solution at 20 °C.

Also the Plato scale (degrees Plato, °P) is a recalculation of Balling scale. Plato scale use a reference temperature 17.5 °C and you can calculate the Plato value from the specific gravity by using the equation 260 * (1 - 1 / SG), SG is specific gravity of the aqueous solution at 17.5 °C.

These three scales are often confused because the result differences are negligible.

  • Brix scale is primarily used for measuring of fruit juices, grapes and in the sugar industry.
  • Plato scale is primarily used in the brewing industry.
  • Balling scale appears on older saccharimeters and it is still used in the wine industry in South Africa.

Klosterneuburger scale (Klosterneuburger Mostwaage, Babo)

Scale of Klosterneuburger Mostwaage (°KMW, °Kl) has been created in 1861 by Austrian aristocrat Baron August Wilhelm von Babo (that is why this scale is sometimes called as Babo scale). It indicates how many kilograms of sugar contain 100 kilograms of grape must. It is based on Balling scale but it also calculate with the influence of non-sugars (insoluble solid parts in the fruit juice).
Klosterneuburger scale has been and still is used for measuring of wine grapes sweetness in the whole territory of the former Austro-Hungarian Empire. And therefore we can found it in the viticultural scientific literature in Austria, Hungary, Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro, Slovakia and the Czech Republic.
In the Czech and Slovakia has been later replaced by the scale of Ceskoslovensky Normalizovany Mostomer (ČNM, NM).

Scale of Ceskoslovensky Normalizovany Mostomer

The scale of Ceskoslovensky Normalizovany Mostomer has been developed in Research Institute of Viticulture and Enology in Bratislava (Výskumný ústav vinohradnícky a vinársky Bratislava. Also during the formation of this scale has been taken into account the amount of non-sugars. As its name suggests, it is used in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, and indicates how many kilograms of sugar contain 100 litres of grape must.
In this context we like to boast that we have developed a versatile optical refractometer RWN10-ATC for measuring of wine grapes that is equipped with four scales for grape sweetness: scale of Československý normalizovaný moštoměr (°ČNM, °NM), Klosterneuburger Mostwaage (°KMW, °Kl, Babo), Oechsle Mostwaage (°Oe) and scale Brix (°Bx). Besides these includes also a scale for the estimation of alcohol content of naturally fermented grape juice %VOL (according to Czech act No 321/2004 Sb. - Czech Act on vitiviniculture). There is given a relation between the alcohol content and the sweetness value in °ČNM.

Oechsle scale (Oechsle Mostwaage, Oechsle degree)

Oechsle Mostwaage is designed for measuring of wine must (grape juice, grape must) sweetness and it is used in Germany, Switzerland and Luxembourg. It has been developed by German mechanic, jeweller and inventor Ferdinand Oechsle at the beginning of the 19th century (around 1820). The value of wine must sweetness is derived from the wine must density at 20 °C. It is based on the premise that the wine must density (specific gravity) is higher than the density of water. It means the wine must density is higher than 1.0000 kg/dm3. The Oechsle value represents a "reduced" value of wine must density (density − 1) * 1000 - for example when the wine must density is 1.0820 kg/dm3 the value according to Oechsle scale is 82 °Oe.

Baumé scale

Baumé scale has been developed by French pharmacist Antoine Baumé in 1768 as a scale for measuring of liquid density. It is used especially in French-speaking countries and in Spain for measuring of grape sweetness, sweetness of fruit juices or for example also for measuring of specific gravity in the brewing industry.
An interesting feature of this scale is that there are used two formulas for calculation of the specific gravity - one for liquids denser than water and second for liquids that are less dense than water. There are several signs used for this scale - B°, Bé°, Be° eventually Baume.

Sources: viticulture research and professional literature, Wikipedia

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