Author Topic: hydrometer question  (Read 1475 times)

Offline jr doyle

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hydrometer question
« on: November 11, 2012, 02:43:09 PM »
ok... i am trying to make some plum wine this year (my first attempt at any of this) and am having some issues with the alc. %. my starting sg was .990 and now i'm getting a reading of 1.0 :-/ my hydrometer didnt come with any instructions or ?conversion charts? but it has a "potental alc%" section on it and that is now reading 0... does that mean it's 0%?!? this is my first rack on the wine and though the airlock had stopped perking it seems to have a little carbonation in the wine so i assume it goes back to the carboy for a little longer to keep going. anyone out there have any wisdom to help a noobie along with the process?

p.s. i did drink the wine from my test reading and it does tast like wine and for a couple small gulps i feel a "head change"...  ???

thanks
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Melodee

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Re: hydrometer question
« Reply #1 on: November 11, 2012, 08:46:26 PM »
I'll try to help... But I'm not sure if I'm understanding you completely.

I never pay any attention to the specific gravity when using the hydrometer.  I look at the potential alcohol numbers (which normally starts out about 8-10)  and wait for it to register 0.  Sounds like that is where you are now.  So you might want to rack it into a clean carboy to settle some more.  After that you should be ready to bottle.

I like this website, they have a lot of good info:  http://www.eckraus.com/

One of my favorite products is this one:  http://www.eckraus.com/wine-conditioner-pint.html 

You add it at the time of bottling.  it has the potassium sorbate in it; so you don't have to worry about fermentation restarting after you add the sweetener.  It also gives a nice body to the wine.

I hope that helps :-)

Offline fritz_monroe

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Re: hydrometer question
« Reply #2 on: November 11, 2012, 09:39:23 PM »
I rarely ever use my hydrometer.  But if I start making fruit wine again, I'll have to start using it again.

But it sounds like you may have done something incorrectly, or the hydrometer is not calibrated.

Pure water is supposed to be 1.0  When you add in the sugar, the gravity should go up.  .990 sounds more like a finishing gravity instead of starting.  Fill your hydrometer jar with water and check the gravity of that.
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Offline fratermus

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Re: hydrometer question
« Reply #3 on: November 11, 2012, 10:30:19 PM »
I would assume one or more of the measurements were erroneous.  As Fritz points out, distilled water at calibration temp should be 1.000.  Adding fermentables (etc) should be higher than 1.000.  And since ETOH is less dense than water, after fermentation it will likely be lower than 1.000.   

The difference between original/starting gravity (OG or SG) and final gravity (FG) is the ABV%, generally speaking.

Two tips for getting good hydro readings:
  • correct for temperature using googleable charts or conversion tools
  • ensure the hydro is not buoyed by bubbles;  spinning the hydro in the fluid will usually displace clingy bubbles

Bonus points for drinking one's hydro sample.  :-)
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Offline jr doyle

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Re: hydrometer question
« Reply #4 on: November 12, 2012, 12:10:35 AM »
i must be mistaken on the first reading, i'm not known for record keeping and it has been a couple months  :D i guess a better question would be "is there a way to determine alcohol content on finished product?". i have siphoned it off to second fermenter and i think i'll be ready for bottling soon.
Bonus points for drinking one's hydro sample.  :-)

and what can i say, i forgot to sterilize the tube and thought it'd be sac-relig to dump the stuff down the drain :-) thanks everyone!
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Offline fratermus

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Re: hydrometer question
« Reply #5 on: November 12, 2012, 01:02:55 AM »
There are assays that can be performed but in general, specific gravity readings by hydrometer are the simplest method and least expensive methods for home use.  For example, at only 10x the price of a hydrometer you can buy a refractometer, etc.

Aside from gauging ABV%, a hydro will let you know if you are really at the FG, and therefore whether one is likely to get bottle bombs.
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Offline fritz_monroe

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Re: hydrometer question
« Reply #6 on: November 12, 2012, 07:44:17 AM »
Bonus points for drinking one's hydro sample.  :-)

I didn't think that dumping it was even an option.  I always sample my product any time I transfer any of it.
F_M
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Melodee

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Re: hydrometer question
« Reply #7 on: November 12, 2012, 06:30:14 PM »
"is there a way to determine alcohol content on finished product?". i have siphoned it off to second fermenter and i think i'll be ready for bottling

You can use this tool:    http://www.eckraus.com/vinometer.html

Or.... you can drink a quart of it and determine how much alcohol is present by how fast the room is spinning  ;)

Offline jr doyle

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Re: hydrometer question
« Reply #8 on: November 13, 2012, 01:05:00 PM »

Or.... you can drink a quart of it and determine how much alcohol is present by how fast the room is spinning  ;)

hahaha. well i was thinking the same thing but i aint 22 anymore  ;-)
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Offline Smurf Hunter

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Re: hydrometer question
« Reply #9 on: November 13, 2012, 03:30:31 PM »
I usually drink the hydro sample, even if it's un-pitched wort.

Offline Charlie17

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Re: hydrometer question
« Reply #10 on: November 16, 2012, 12:46:44 PM »
You can estimate the ABV pretty close by knowing your starting and ending specific gravity from the hydrometer - both of which must be corrected for temperature.  Probably won't work for you this time since the starting SG is not known but will be helpfull for future batches.


Calculate the percent ABV by subtracting your adjusted final specific gravity from your original specific gravity, multiplying by 1000, then dividing by 7.36.

For example, if original specific gravity is 1.095 and final specific gravity is 1.008, multiply the difference (0.087) by 1000 (870) then divide by 7.36 to get an ABV of 11.8 percent.

Hope this helps.