Hello! I'm new here and onto my second kit. And in the excitement I forgot to take a hydrometer reading!! It's been formenting for 5 days now and it too late! It's a Solomon and Grundy shiraz. Recipe called for 4 bags of sugar but I put 4.5 in. 5 litres of boiling water then the juice. Then topped up to 5 gallons with water! Is there a way to find out? Thanks in advance! Tori

Never seen a wine kit that asks for sugar...strange. I also wouldn't add boiling water to the juice as it might cook some of the fruit in the juice. It's impossible to tell what the SG was at starting since we don't know the sugar content of the juice. I suspect though that the extra 0.5lbs of sugar you added won't be an issue fermenting dry. Worst case scenario you end up with a product that is slightly sweet in the end depending on the yeast you used. Best case is your alcohol percentage will be higher. I almost never check SG before I start anymore, however the kits I buy are prepared already and predetermined to have anywhere from 12-15% alcohol. I typically only check SG now to see how fermentation is moving along until it's done.

Hello. Here's the instructions! I followed them. I also read adding a little sugar can improve taste and alcohol volume! But I guess I can't test that theory now! Never mind! Thanks for your reply!

These Solomon Grundy kits appear to be available in the UK only (or at least primarily). It appears they have very little juice (the OP's kit to make 30 bottles weighs only 1.8 kg, about 4 lb; the one I found below is 2.2 kg). Yet, reviews seem to be pretty positive on them. It is certainly different from the low end kits available here in the US. https://www.amazon.co.uk/Solomon-Grundy-Gold-Merlot-Bottle/dp/B0069Q6MGU/

The important SG reading is the one to let you know the wine is done fermenting (~0.995 or below as noted in the instructions). Without the initial reading, you will not be able to calculate the alcohol percentage.

I would skip these. I often found that with the work required to ferment and bottle you are better off with a mid tier kit for around $80-$100. I started on super cheap $50 kits from Costco and they just are not worth the time and effort. The quality you get with something from vineco or RJS for example is much better. The only one worth it at Costco is the Amarone which is $100 CAD

Hi Tori Webb - and welcome. The ads for Solomon Grundy wines seem to suggest that if you follow their instructions exactly you get a wine at around 11% ABV. I have no idea how much sugar is a "bag" but 1 lb of sugar dissolved in water to make 1 US gallon will raise the density of the water (AKA specific gravity) by 40 points. Water has a specific gravity of 1.000 so the added sugar in my example will increase the SG to 1.040. Adding two pounds will increase the gravity of that gallon to 1.080 but you are dealing with a far larger volume and a larger quantity of sugar. You will need to find out how many lbs are in 1 bag and so calculate the weight of half a bag. A final ABV of 11% suggests a starting gravity of about 1.085. To find out what your SG was you will need to know the total volume of the must (the juice and water before you pitched (added) the yeast and the amount of extra sugar you added. Bottom line: it should be possible to "reverse engineer" what's in your fermenter to guesstimate the starting gravity.

The instructions posted in post #3 say to add 4 kilos (8.8 lbs) of sugar, so I assume 1 bag = 1 kilo...which equals 2.2 lbs.

so adding a hefty 40 points across 5 gallons is basically adding 8 additional points per gallon (so let's call the SG 1.090+) - and so the potential ABV would be about 11.8%

Hi thank you for all the replies! This particular kit cost 25 UK pounds. So quite cheap bit the reviews were great! A bag is a kg yes sorry I should of specified! Tori

no problem. you are confirming that half a bag is 1.1 lbs and so the approximation is reasonable - about 11.5% ABV +/- so you have not done any harm to your kit...and it should not take any longer to ferment or somehow taste too "hot" because of anything the added sugar will have done. Don't fret. Relax. The yeast know what to do.