Newb here from the Pacific Northwest America. I recently got the crazy idea to try my hand at (very) small batch wine creation. My parents have a small Concord grape vine, and my sister made juice from them and gave me a handful of quart jars. I purchased some 71b-1122 yeast on eBay, as well as a couple cheap airlocks, and a hydrometer. My first attempt (with the homemade Concord grape juice) was quite a failure. I added some water and sugar, per a online suggestion I found, and the abv seemed ok once finished, and aged about 2 months, but the taste was awful (I taste tested a tiny amount each week for those 2 months, it was bad from the start and never got better) But I had the itch, so I went and purchased some unfiltered apple juice in a glass bottle at the grocer, poured a few small glasses for my kids, added 2 cups of standard granulated bleached cane sugar, and my yeast, and fermented. Aged one month now, and it’s made a lightly carbonated ‘cider’ that has a dry start, quite sweet aftertaste, and will definitely get ya drunk. But I’ve had difficulty testing it with my hydrometer. I didn’t have the hydrometer when I started it, so had no base test point, and now the hydrometer reads what I would call ‘negative 20%’ I assume it’s the carbonation that is making the hydrometer testing innefective? Is there any other method of testing for abv? Or should I just buy more juice and make a larger batch using the same proportions and just hope for the same end results? I suppose I could guess my recipe had over 40% sugar content before pitching, and the abv reached a level high enough to kill the yeast (approximately 15% I believe with 71b-1122) yet still had ample sugar to retain the sweet aftertaste? Anyone else have a similar experience? Could the lightly carbonated effect be similar to champagne where the yeast doesn’t completely die off, just becomes somewhat dormant beyond a certain abv and then continues releasing carbon dioxide? Sorry for the book, I just greatly enjoy this new hobby!