This scale will determine the direct percentage of sugar solids in liquids with a specific gravity greater than zero. Before you pitch the yeast, just put a sample of sweetened liquid containing alcohol in a test jar (dollar store bud vase or see my other items) and float the hydrometer in the liquid. The hydrometer is blown glass and fragile so be careful not to let it bounce off the bottom or sides. Spin the hydrometer to release any bubbles that are sticking to it. At eye level read the number off the scale where the hydrometer emerges from the liquid. Be sure to read across the two bottom corners of the frown 🙁 not at the meniscus [top of the curve].
The plastic test jar and other props shown in the photographs are not included. You are bidding on the hydrometer and plastic tube case with instructions and red cap. The scale is about 10″ long and 1/2″ across the fat end. It is weighted with packed metal filings. There is no lead. Beware of Chinese and Russian ones that are actually only 4″ long. They give you the measurement in Centimeters and it sounds long when you order it. In the photo below you can clearly see the curvation of the meniscus where the liquid clings a bit to the hydrometer and climbs up from the flat level of the liquid. You would take your reading across the level of the liquid, NOT the highest point the liquid reaches, so the reading below would be 1.06 or maybe 1.058.
This scale goes all the way up to around 30% sugar but depending on your recipe you will probably be starting around 24% sugar, a Specific Gravity (SG) of 1.085 to 1.10. This will give you a finished wine in the area of 12-13% alcolhol. If you want to make stronger wine, you can start with more sugar but it is generally thought to be better to feed sugar at several points in the process. If you are going to feed sugar be sure to have plenty of headspace because there will be violent foaming when you dump it in. It is great fun to watch beginners feed sugar for the first time… It’s basic chemistry – Have the mop ready! The instrument is shown in a test jar of cranberry juice (available separately).
In the image shown above I am measuring some Cranberry/Pomegranate juice that has partially fermented. I started it at 1.10 and now it is at 1.06, so .04 sugar has been turned into alcohol – It’s 4% alcohol already! THAT is why you need a hydrometer.
There are basic instructions with the instrument but it will help if you understand that the instrument measures sugar not alcohol. It works because the sugar becomes alcohol in more or less a 1:1 ratio. (slightly less) We know how much alcohol a pound of sugar will make in a gallon of water, about 6%. The instrument will help you measure your juice and sweeten it up your juice so that you arrive at the desired percentage alcohol.
The most important thing is to take a reading just before you pitch the yeast and write it down. This is OG, Original Gravity. It will be something like 14% in standard fermentations. This just means that you have sugar to make 14% alcohol. 1:1 ratio! The instrument is called a triple scale because in addition to the %Alcohol there are Brix and OG scales.
As the days go by, you can check it all you like. It is fun to watch the number go down. When it gets to 1% you have 13% alcohol! If you wait and the nutrients are there it will go down to zero or even -.01 and you have the full 14%. This is called FG, Final Gravity. Usually what happens is you get some fruit, juice it, and take a reading. If it is only 8% you add sugar to get it up to 12-14%.
If you have never made wine from cranberry pomegranate juice, get a gallon going soon! It’s a good wine to make in midwinter because it is available in stores year round. Some friends raided my cellar for a tasting and a 2 year old batch of cran/pom was voted my second best out of 12 kinds sampled. The five year old Dandelion was first – bottled sunshine!
“Cheers” I carry mostly ONLY ESSENTIALS in my homebrew line no gimmicks no useless gadgets and if I am selling it you can be sure that I have tested it and I think it a good worthwhile product. Everything I sell is shipped from stock and we usually have plenty of them. We combine ship and if you add this item to your cart you will fine many of the things you need combine ship for as little as 25 cents each!