Hydrometer and bottling

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ol' boy

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Well my first two questions...


My first question is, do I really need a hydrometer. In all the equipment that I have found of my grandfathers, there is no hydrometer. How vitally important is the hydrometer?

The second is I am on a budget and cheap, I have found prices for bottles but I am thinking what i I just went to a restaurant and asked for the used wine bottles and pulled all the labels and made sure I cleaned and sanitized them really well?
 

St Allie

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Hello OB and welcome,

Some use hydrometers and some don't, it's entirely up to you how you choose to create your wines. I'd recommend you get one and use it, initially at least.

Most of us here recycle bottles. We have a section on the site that deals with removing labels, sterilising etc Have a look around and see if the information you are looking for is already provided there.

Personally I'm in favour of recycling as much as possible.

Allie
 
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Wade E

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Please get a hydrometer or you will be at a loss for knowing exactly what is truly happening. If you get any wine making tool at all a hydrometer is most needed. As far as bottles go I have only ever bought a few cases here and there just because i wanted some special bottles for a few special wines. The rest I get from a recyling center for free by asking them to save them for me and i repay them with full bottles every so often. I clean the bottles with very hot water and OxyClean and ten sanitize the bottles with potassium metabilsulfite. A hydrometer is very cheap and so is K-meta(potassium Meta) If you end up with a problem with your wine and dont have gravity readings to tell us we really wont be able to help you and you truly wont know what the abv of the wine is, if the wine is done fermenting or if you have a stuck fermentation.
 

smurfe

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If you were making only kits, I would say yeah, you could "get by" without a hydrometer. Follow the general directions and let it set for a while and it will work. I have made quite a few kits never breaking out the hydrometer.

If you are making fruit wines or wine from fresh grapes, I think it is pretty well a requirement unless you are OK with what ever comes out is good enough to drink. Many recipe wines require the addition of sugar to bring the SG up to the desire starting level or water to dilute high gravity levels. You really need that hydrometer to measure that as the natural sugar levels in same fruits vary significantly year to year or even plot to plot.

Most questions you may have if there is an issue with your wine will be unable to be answered as many issues are gravity related. Hydrometers are one of the cheapest tools you can buy but no, you really don't absolutely have to have one.
 

ol' boy

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Please get a hydrometer or you will be at a loss for knowing exactly what is truly happening. If you get any wine making tool at all a hydrometer is most needed. As far as bottles go I have only ever bought a few cases here and there just because i wanted some special bottles for a few special wines. The rest I get from a recyling center for free by asking them to save them for me and i repay them with full bottles every so often. I clean the bottles with very hot water and OxyClean and ten sanitize the bottles with potassium metabilsulfite. A hydrometer is very cheap and so is K-meta(potassium Meta) If you end up with a problem with your wine and dont have gravity readings to tell us we really wont be able to help you and you truly wont know what the abv of the wine is, if the wine is done fermenting or if you have a stuck fermentation.
very well then.
recycled bottles and a hydrometer it is.
 

St Allie

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hehehhe..

I love a good old boy that listens ...

(winks)

Allie
 

Wade E

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Take areading when started as this will tell you what abv you will finish with. If making a fruit wine a good starting SG is 1.085, any higher and most fruit flavors will be masked by the high abv of the wine, too low and the wine wont have enough alc to be stable and keep good.
 

St Allie

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I had a feijoa wine with high alcohol once Wade.. It was horrible.. like the 'white lightning' my gran used to distill.. It's put me off feijoa wine permanently.

Allie
 

Wade E

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Some wines will do pretty good with higher abv's like elderberry and black currant but others like strawberry will be just horrible. It really depends on how strong a flavor the fruit has. Never heard of that fruit though Allie!
 

arcticsid

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Ole, wine tastings and champagne bruncehes on Sundays are also good outlets for free bottles, ask first and be sure to pick them up when promised. As far as the wine tastings go, buy a ticket, taste a few nice wines, learn something, and if you ask before purchasing a ticket you may get the bottles put aside for you. . They can be spendy if you have to buy them and realize 5 gallons/US eguals like 25 bottles. I recently got 17 cases of empties from some people I know that hosted a charitable wine tasting.
Troy
:r
 

St Allie

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Wade

a feijoa is also known as a pineapple guava.

Allie
 

smurfe

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Ol Boy, I think your Grandfather probably had a hydrometer from reading your into post and his wine making skills. You probably just didn't find it. It could of got broken and just never replaced or he kept it somewhere safe and you just never ran across it. Welcome aboard and here's to successful wine making! :b
 

kiljoy

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Just out of curiosity, could one use canning mason jars? They sell them by the boatload every fall at the grocery stores. They seal very nicely. I've used them for that little bit of leftover wine that went in the fridge after bottling. Never for longterm storage though.
 

St Allie

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Just out of curiosity, could one use canning mason jars? They sell them by the boatload every fall at the grocery stores. They seal very nicely. I've used them for that little bit of leftover wine that went in the fridge after bottling. Never for longterm storage though.
Mason jars rely on a heat seal.. you fill the heated jars with a boiling product ( say chutney or jam), the seals are also heated before screwing the bands on them, as the product cools and contracts, it forms a vacuum under the seal. For long term storage, I wouldn't think they'd be suitable for bottling wine in.

Allie
 

Wade E

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And unless filled right to the brim there would be too much head space(ullage) in a mason jar!
 

kiljoy

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Thn whatever did the masons drink out of?::
 

St Allie

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hehehhe

the 'holy grail'of course..

:p
Allie
 

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