How to estimate sugar levels?

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Jul 20, 2009
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Ok yesterday I started my raspberry (from concentrate) and raisin blend in my primary. I was aiming for a non-gasoline wine and shot for a 1.085 SG. I ended up right at 1.088 SG after adding small amounts of sugar at a time. I would stir, sit, stir, and check the SG.

Feeling happy with my SG and rechecking after about a hour I added my yeast. I checked it this morning (about 12 hours after adding the yeast) gave it a stir and checked the SG. Well it is now at 1.110 SG....

Is this normal? Only thing I can figure is that when I started the batch the raisins had not 'released' all of their sugar. Is this what happened? How in the future if at all can I estimate this kind of thing? I guessing it's probably going to be a experience thing.

How much you making and how much sugar did you add?
Sounds like it may not have been mixed well. Without more info its hard to tell.
I've not experienced anything quite that drastic but I don't use raisins either. You should always wait 24hrs prior to pitching the yeast to let the initial addition of K-meta dissipate anyway. So waiting to check the initial SG could be another reason. BTW, was the temp. of the must elevated on your first testing? If so that could be where the error lies.
This is a one gallon batch...

Here is the recipe....

3 Cans of 100% Cranberry Juice concentrate
12 Ounces of natural organic raisins (chopped up)
1 1/4 Pounds of sugar (came out to just about that)
1 1/4 tsp acid blend
1 tsp yeast nutrient
1/2 tsp of peptic enzyme

I was told by a few others in another thread here not to add the campden to the must due to the sulfites in the concentrate. I also did a quick (2 minute) boil of the raisins as suggested on another forum. The temp of the must is at a steady 73-76*F and I will say I completely flaked and forgot to compensate the SG for temp. So this makes my SG reading non adjusted for temp. I ran the sugar through a sifter and waited about a hour before making my final SG reading. While it may be possible but I really pay close attention to make sure the sugar is dissolved and well mixed before taking a SG reading. I know having a 'chunk' of sugar can mess up the SG. So I am going to go out on a limb here and say mixing wasn't the issue here.

Thanks for the help!
Doesnt seem to be out of order. Lets see how it comes out. Google WineCalc and download. It is a great program to find out how much sugar to add to bring to a certain gravity.
Raisins contain a lot of sugar.
About 50 to 60%
So if you add them just like that the yeast will have a hard time to get to the sugar. Then after 24 hours they will have swollen, the skin likwly has bursted, and the yeast will have access to the sugar.
So sugar levels can raise in due time.

There is something else that might cause the trouble.
you stirred the must and took a sample.
Did you shake the sample vigorously.
The sample might be fermenting and trapped CO2 might push the hydrometer up. That would give some sincere off readings.


Thanks for the advise about the WineCalc! I'll be using that from here out.


I added about 84oz of water to to must to give just a bit over one gallon to work with.


The raisins were and are swollen and split (the ones at least were not chopped up). I think you may be on the something with the CO2. The sample was fermenting like crazy and I had not idea shaking it up would release some of the gas. I also didn't think of the gas pushing up the hydrometer but makes sense. I am going to pull another SG in the morning and will make sure a shake up the sample really good!

Well this morning I took another SG reading and got a 1.090 with the temp. adjusted in the reading. I did not stir the must before taking the sample and shook the sample up very well.

I am going to chalk this up to sugar in the raisins. I think next time I will wait the 24 hours (even if not adding campden) to let the sugar equalize better.

I will say this is the best smelling wine I've ever smelled in a primary. Maybe this is a good sign!

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