Hydrometer?

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Quacker

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I have found a hydrometer by Stevenson-Reeves, which would seem suitable for a beginner, however someone wrote in the reviews that a calculator is required to ascertain the reading, which they said would not be required for "more modern products".

I don't know if I am allowed to post a link to a product, but it can be seen on UK Amazon, titled "Hydrometer (Stevenson-Reeves) for Wine & Beer Homebrew Home Brew Homemade", sold by Bigger Jugs at £6

Could anyone advise me as to whether this will be a suitable choice for me?
 

sour_grapes

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That one looks okay, but I prefer a so-called "triple scale hydrometer." This is the same instrument as the one you link, but it also reads out in two more scales: Brix, and potential ABV. The last one is just an instantiation of the formula I gave you in your other post. Brix is a scale based on percentage of sugars. I suspect that is what the reviewer was referring to.

BIlinli 2pcs/set Triple Scale Hydrometer Self Brewed Wine Sugar Meter Alcohol Measuring for Home Brewing Making Beer Wine Mead: Amazon.co.uk: Kitchen & Home
 

Quacker

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Ah! Thanks very much. Yes, that sounds much more useful, and exactly what I would wish, to avoid the necessary calculations.
 

KCCam

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I use a hydrometer with only a specific gravity (SG) scale, and FermCalc on my phone or computer for any other calculations I need. But as a beginner I would go with a triple-scale as @sour_grapes suggested. And get 2, you should always have a backup, because it is fragile, and if you don’t have a backup, you will break it.
And sorry, I don’t know how “beginner” you are, but make sure you have some way to take a sample once your wine is in a glass carboy. You need a test tube long enough for your hydrometer and a wine thief or a turkey baster to take the sample.
242010F6-1047-4D66-BAED-93578F429B3B.jpeg799DB7D8-A7AE-44CF-A851-5526E96B4EAA.jpeg
 

DizzyIzzy

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I use a hydrometer with only a specific gravity (SG) scale, and FermCalc on my phone or computer for any other calculations I need. But as a beginner I would go with a triple-scale as @sour_grapes suggested. And get 2, you should always have a backup, because it is fragile, and if you don’t have a backup, you will break it.
And sorry, I don’t know how “beginner” you are, but make sure you have some way to take a sample once your wine is in a glass carboy. You need a test tube long enough for your hydrometer and a wine thief or a turkey baster to take the sample.
View attachment 63759View attachment 63760
I am still trying to figure out how to determine the ABV. For example if my SG is say, .996 I look over to the ABV scale and there is none! I have read to subtract the FG from the OG and multiply by 131.25 to determine the ABV, but what does one do if they didn't record the OG?...............Dizzy
 

KCCam

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You're pretty much out of luck. You have to know how much sugar you started with. The calculation assumes a certain percentage is converted to alcohol. The final SG indicates how much of the sugar is left. The difference determines the ABV. If your wine is fermented dry, there is a device called a vino-o-meter that can give you a rough idea of the finished wine:
1595293962745.png

It reads like a thermometer, and uses surface tension the estimate ABV. But it doesn't work if you have backsweetened or if there is residual sugar. Your wine also has to be very clear because the tube is very, very fine and any particles could plug it.
 

cmason1957

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You really should have stopped your second to the last statement at - But it doesn't work. I don't think anyone who has tried to use one of those would suggest it again.

Rather than buy one of those, if you don't know your starting sg, you can get a refractometer and measure the current brix reading and convert that to a SG. Refractometer are calibrated to pure sugar, no alcohol present, but there are conversion charts, you can execute the conversion backwards and determine an approximate starting SG, then calculate the ABV from that.
 

sour_grapes

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But it may be easiest to just estimate the ABV based on the ingredients. Provided you know what you put into the wine, you could use FermCalc to estimate the sugar and the alcohol. Or if you list the ingredients here, I can do it for you.
 

KCCam

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You really should have stopped your second to the last statement at - But it doesn't work.
Lol. I suppose, but mine works, it’s just not very precise. And much easier and less expensive than a refractometer. I wasn’t recommending it though, for the reasons stated above. Sorry for any confusion. It was just the only easy way to get an estimate that I was aware of. Or when you do another batch with the same recipe measure that one and you should be close.
 

BernardSmith

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I am still trying to figure out how to determine the ABV. For example if my SG is say, .996 I look over to the ABV scale and there is none! I have read to subtract the FG from the OG and multiply by 131.25 to determine the ABV, but what does one do if they didn't record the OG?...............Dizzy
If you know the ingredients and the total volume you can make a reasonable guess-timate of the starting gravity. And if you can't , it is likely that someone on this forum can: If the must was a wine kit, then we can make a good guess. If it was fruit, with no added sugar - a fair guess, if the substrate was floral and the fermentables were table sugar or honey - a good guess... Just need to know, the ingredients, the weight of the fermentable ingredients and the total volume.
 

Scooter68

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I wasted money on a vineometer - it's around some place. Might make a good feeding tube for a very very small critter but that's about all it would be good for.


Also I'll bet that his old Hydrometer, if it has typical readings would be just fine. Just because it isn't color marked or triple scaled - still would work. just a quick check on accuracy some distilled water is all that would be needed. I never accept the markings other than the standard reading. I just enter it into the only ABV calculator and get the results. Ya gotta do a little work to make wine.
 

Mario Dinis

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I wasted money on a vineometer - it's around some place. Might make a good feeding tube for a very very small critter but that's about all it would be good for.


Also I'll bet that his old Hydrometer, if it has typical readings would be just fine. Just because it isn't color marked or triple scaled - still would work. just a quick check on accuracy some distilled water is all that would be needed. I never accept the markings other than the standard reading. I just enter it into the only ABV calculator and get the results. Ya gotta do a little work to make wine.
LOL, same here.
 

winemanden

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Why worry? As Bernard says, do a guess-timate based on your ingredients. What does it matter if you're a point or so out on your ABV. As long as you've got enough alcohol in your wine to preserve it that's fine. If you offer your guests a glass of good stuff they won't quibble if your guess-timate is wrong. Enjoy!!!
 

DizzyIzzy

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You're pretty much out of luck. You have to know how much sugar you started with. The calculation assumes a certain percentage is converted to alcohol. The final SG indicates how much of the sugar is left. The difference determines the ABV. If your wine is fermented dry, there is a device called a vino-o-meter that can give you a rough idea of the finished wine:
View attachment 63763

It reads like a thermometer, and uses surface tension the estimate ABV. But it doesn't work if you have backsweetened or if there is residual sugar. Your wine also has to be very clear because the tube is very, very fine and any particles could plug it.
KC, thanks for the reply.....................Dizzy
 

DizzyIzzy

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You really should have stopped your second to the last statement at - But it doesn't work. I don't think anyone who has tried to use one of those would suggest it again.

Rather than buy one of those, if you don't know your starting sg, you can get a refractometer and measure the current brix reading and convert that to a SG. Refractometer are calibrated to pure sugar, no alcohol present, but there are conversion charts, you can execute the conversion backwards and determine an approximate starting SG, then calculate the ABV from that.
cmason, thankyou for the info, but since math was NOT my best subject, I will remain ignorant of the ABV values of previously-made musts, and in the future to be sure and take the OG..........Dizzy
 

DizzyIzzy

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But it may be easiest to just estimate the ABV based on the ingredients. Provided you know what you put into the wine, you could use FermCalc to estimate the sugar and the alcohol. Or if you list the ingredients here, I can do it for you.
Thanks for the offer sour-grapes, but I won't waste you time on littl' ole me and my dilemma. I will live with it and do the right thing next time. Appreciate you...............Dizzy
If you know the ingredients and the total volume you can make a reasonable guess-timate of the starting gravity. And if you can't , it is likely that someone on this forum can: If the must was a wine kit, then we can make a good guess. If it was fruit, with no added sugar - a fair guess, if the substrate was floral and the fermentables were table sugar or honey - a good guess... Just need to know, the ingredients, the weight of the fermentable ingredients and the total volume.
Hey Bernard, one can sure tell the expert vs. the novice with words like substrate, floral, "weight" of fermentables? I have no idea about weights, but I do have an idea about who is the "expert". Thankyou for your response, but I will muddle through and take OG on all future wines. Thankyou......................Dizzy
 

BernardSmith

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Ha! It's not so much about experts vs novices as much as knowing that a pound of table sugar dissolved in water to make one US gallon will have a specific gravity while a pound of honey dissolved in water to make that same volume will have a different gravity (my rule of thumb is the sugar = 1.040 and the honey 1.035); many fruits have enough sugar (and this again is simply a rule of thumb) of about 1.045 - 1.050) - That is the juice itself before you add any water, but you might expect wine grapes to be closer to 1.090, so I would guess a wine kit might be somewhere around 1.080 - 1.090 (kits are typically concentrated juice so you add water and the
gravity before you pitch the yeast might vary depending on how much water you in fact added.. so this is all very much about approximations and rules of thumb.
 

KCCam

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Thanks for the offer sour-grapes, but I won't waste you time on littl' ole me and my dilemma. I will live with it and do the right thing next time. Appreciate you...............Dizzy
Don't be so shy. Speaking for myself, if I offer to help someone in some way, I have already decided it's not a waste of my time. If things change and a discussion starts taking more time than I have, I am not embarrassed to say so. I've seen how much @sour_grapes helps on this forum, and I can't speak for him, but I think he would agree. As @BernardSmith has shown, the experienced people here have a very good idea about how much sugar certain fruits, or berries, or juices have, and it's very quick to adjust for so many added cups or grams or pounds of sugar, or honey. Final SG's are usually within a pretty narrow range. So if you're interested... go for it.
 

sour_grapes

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Don't be so shy. Speaking for myself, if I offer to help someone in some way, I have already decided it's not a waste of my time. If things change and a discussion starts taking more time than I have, I am not embarrassed to say so. I've seen how much @sour_grapes helps on this forum, and I can't speak for him, but I think he would agree. As @BernardSmith has shown, the experienced people here have a very good idea about how much sugar certain fruits, or berries, or juices have, and it's very quick to adjust for so many added cups or grams or pounds of sugar, or honey. Final SG's are usually within a pretty narrow range. So if you're interested... go for it.
@KCCam speaks the truth.

However, I also think that @DizzyIzzy 's resolve not to worry too much about knowing the ABV of this batch is healthy! :)
 
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