Hydrometer

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MBCUK

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Ive just got a hydrometer and admittedly.. its cheap.

Its simply 3 balls that float to give 3 different reading of

1.015
1.000
.966

all depending on the balls position.

I would like to find out how to calculate how strong the alchol content.

Thanks
 

Omerta

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you might want to score a proper hydrometer. I can't imagine that it would be easy to get accurate readings with that method.
There are calculators available online where you plug in your starting SG and your final SG and it gives you the ABV
 

rawlus

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i think that is going to be difficult to do as quite likely none of those balls will be able to give you an accurate starting SG, which is key to determining final alcohol content. a proper hydrometer of glass is less than $10 for a cheap triple-scale and will prove far more valuable than the fuzzy and loose approximations you'll get from the balls. about all you could get from the balls is when to rack to primary (around 1010) and when fermentation is likely complete (below 0998, sometimes as low as 0992)

if you can determine starting SG and ending SG and the temp both readings were taken at, then this calculator at the bottom of the page will help you estimate final ABV.
 

MBCUK

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Great! Thanks for your help ill have to leave it for this batch as I didnt do a starting SG reading.

Much Appreciated! :b
 

rawlus

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if this is a kit wine, an email or call to the kit cust serv line should be able to get you the target SG for that kit, provided you hydrated correctly it will be pretty close to your actual starting SG.
you prob have time to get a glass hydrometer and get your ending reading before your wine finishes if you've just started it.
 

Lurker

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I sounds like the hydrometer we used to use to check antifreeze.
 

Mike

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i think these are what the OP is using.
http://www.brewballstore.com/
I hope he didn't pay $20 for those things...

If you're going to get a device to tell you gravity/Brix, I would highly recommend skipping the hydrometer and get a refractometer. I've purchased 2 off eBay for less than $30 shipped. You don't have to worry about gathering a sample other than a couple drops of the liquid plus I think it's more accurate and less fragile.
 

MBCUK

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if this is a kit wine, an email or call to the kit cust serv line should be able to get you the target SG for that kit, provided you hydrated correctly it will be pretty close to your actual starting SG.
you prob have time to get a glass hydrometer and get your ending reading before your wine finishes if you've just started it.
Thankyou ill give them a ring tomorrow morning.

The following picture is the hydrometer that I bought. Sorry the image is fuzzy

 

rawlus

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I hope he didn't pay $20 for those things...

If you're going to get a device to tell you gravity/Brix, I would highly recommend skipping the hydrometer and get a refractometer. I've purchased 2 off eBay for less than $30 shipped. You don't have to worry about gathering a sample other than a couple drops of the liquid plus I think it's more accurate and less fragile.
a refractometer is almost a necessity with fresh grapes/juice but less so with kits. and after the wine has begun fermenting, you have to make compensations for the inaccurate readings with tables or calculators to obtain the true measurement - at that point, a hydrometer becomes more straightforward.

i have a refractometer i use occasionally for starting SG, but i use my narrow-range hydrometer far more often for determining racking stages and final SG.
 

rawlus

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Thankyou ill give them a ring tomorrow morning.

The following picture is the hydrometer that I bought. Sorry the image is fuzzy

wow. i can't say i have ever seen anything like this. very interesting! thanks for posting.
 

Mike

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Plugging your FG Brix reading into a correction spreadsheet takes seconds. I'll take that any day compared to handling the fragile glass and needing 4 oz samples each time I want a gravity reading. YMMV I guess.
 

MBCUK

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Ive come to the conclusion that the "hydrometer" (if thats what you want to call it) only really lets you know when the wine is ready.. It wont give me an exact reading for starting SG... Well thanks to all that have helped!! Looks like I have alot to learn!
 

xanxer82

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a refractometer is gonna be a bit more expensive than a hydrometer. But if it can test an individual grape, I may have to get one if I plan on growing wine grapes.
 

Mike

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Ive come to the conclusion that the "hydrometer" (if thats what you want to call it) only really lets you know when the wine is ready.. It wont give me an exact reading for starting SG... Well thanks to all that have helped!! Looks like I have alot to learn!
A hydrometer can give you an exact reading at any point.
 

MBCUK

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Ive been thinking about that too... I think a refractometer is the way to go.. for me first batch ill just have to see how long I can stand to test the alchol content lol
 

MBCUK

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A hydrometer can give you an exact reading at any point.
did you see the picture of the one I have mike? it only gives 3 readings.. I trust a proper hydrometer will do the job but this one is very basic
 

Mike

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Sorry. I have no idea what that device is and wasn't counting it as a hydrometer. :)
 

MBCUK

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no your right its not a proper hydrometer but as a noob I picked it up thinking it would do the job.. This one mearly tells you when the wine has reached .996 and is ready.. its taken all day and all these lovely people contributing to figure it out.. :)
 

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