The hydrometer is a valuable tool that measures the weight or gravity of a liquid in relation to the weight of water. Due to the relation of the gravity to water is specified the resulting measure is called specific gravity. Your hydrometer will float higher in a heavy liquid which would be a liquid with sugar in it, and will float lower in a light liquid such as water. When making wine there is no real interest in the specific gravity of your must however it does play a role in knowing how much sugar is dissolved in it since the yeast converts sugar into carbon dioxide and alcohol. If you know how much sugar you started with and ended with you can figure out how much alcohol your wine or mead has before bottling.

You can get different types of hydrometers. Some of them have only one scale, some have two scales and some three scales. I personally use a hydrometer that measures the following: Specific Gravity, Potential Alcohol By Volume and Balling (Percent Sugar).

The hydrometer I use reads .990 to 1.170 for Specific Gravity
The hydrometer I use reads 0% to 20% Potential Alcohol By Volume
The hydrometer I use reads 0 to 38 Balling (Percent Sugar)

Using the Hydrometer:

When creating your recipe you will want to sample your must using the hydromter so you can see the specific gravity for the type of wine it is going to produce.

1.085 – 1.100 Dry Wine
1.120 – 1.140 Medium Sweet Wine
1.140 – 1.160 Sweet Wine

Temperature Corrections:

Most hydrometers are calibrated to give a correct reading at 59-60 degrees Fahrenheit. Higher temperatures thin the liquid and result in lower readings than if the must was at 59-60 degrees. There is a way to correct your reading depending on your must’s temperature. Please see below:

50 degrees Subtract 1/2
60 degrees add 0.000
70 degrees add 0.001
77 degrees add 0.002
84 degrees add 0.003
95 degrees add 0.005
105 degrees add 0.007

** Note: Above 95 degrees you are taking a chance of killing your yeast and losing your wine.

Example is your must is at a temperature of 84 degrees

Specific gravity is measures at 1.085
Correction to specifig Gravity is 0.003
Corrected Specific Gravity is actually 1.088

Figuring your Alcohol Percentage:

To figure your alcohol percentage you will need to take two readings. One as soon as the ingredients are combined in your must. Another will be taken after fermentation stops. You will subtract the final figure from the first reading and that is your alcohol content by volume.

1st reading 15%
2nd reading 06%
Alcohol content 9%

I have attached a calculation form for Specific Gravity, Balling and Potential Alcohol to this thread.



Attachment: hydrometer-calculations.pdf



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