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I'm having a "duh" moment... help with measuring SG and alcohol?

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Okay... I know I did a really dumb thing here... I am making ginger beer. I know its not a wine, but its not terribly different and I figured many of you might know how to bail out a very fluffy-headed newbie. ...Back to my story. I am making the following ginger beer recipe:

Dave's Ginger Beer
Like Mama Used to Make - Except Alcoholic!
5 gallons water
1-1 1/2 lbs. ginger root, coarsley chopped
17 cups sugar
4 lemons, sliced
3/4 tsp. cream of tartar
1 packet champagne yeast


Boil as much of the water as will fit in your largest pot.

Squeeze in lemons and add squeezed bits.

Add ginger root and cream of tartar.

Add as much sugar as you can if there's room.

Simmer gently for 20-30 minutes.

Put remaining sugar, if any, in 5 gallon plastic pail or similar.

Pour water mixture over.

Add remaining water to 5 gallons and cool to lukewarm.

Taste - this will approximate the taste of the finished product. If necessary add more ginger or ginger powder.

Dissolve yeast in a cup of the mixture, then stir it back in.
Cover and ferment for 7 days at 65-70�F.

Siphon into sterilised bottles (I use 2-litre pop bottles). Cap. Age upright for one week at 60-65�F then store in cool place at 60�F or less.

If necessary release pressure in bottles occasionally to prevent explosions! Take care when opening bottles - can be very lively!!

Drink as is (will be 5-7% alc. by volume). Is also very good, but deadly, mixer for gin on a hot summer's day.

I added 1 tsp. finely chopped Habenero Peppers to one batch - was excellent taste and good for clearing sinuses!!!

I have been making this for years, many of my friends are now making it too.


So here's the trouble and the "duh" moment. I DID measure the SG when I started my brew, but I lost the paper where I wrote it. ARGH! :eek: Can I check the alcohol content and percentage without knowing the starting SG? I measured it yesterday when I bottled it and it was .889
Oh help, please... I know it isn't absolutely vital to the enjoyment of the drink to know the alcohol percentage, but it is absolutely vital to my kitchen geek pride to be able to tell people that. Sheepish shrug.
 
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I think it would be about 1.068

I used this free online recipe builder for beer: http://hbd.org/cgi-bin/recipator/recipator
I just entered in 7lb 7oz (7oz = 1cup) of cane sugar for a 5 gallon batch and that's the original gravity it calculated. Someone else may have better calculations, but that should be close.
 

lockwood1956

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Have you measured the starting S.G. on other batches you have made over the years?

this should give you an average, just use that.
you can allegedly use a vinometer to determine the alc content but they are notoriously innacurate so I wouldn't bother.

finishing S.G. of 0.889?

this is unlikely, I think the driest you could hope for would be 0.990, have you calibrated your hydrometer recently?

If it tatses good then just drink it and make sure to take measurements and record them next time, for the time being tell anyone who asks that it is11.887% alc by volume, with 1.778% residual sugar, anyone who disagrees, ask then to prove it!

And next time have a wine making log that you keep safe somewhere, not S.G. numbers on bits of paper that are easily lost (been there, done that :D)
 

lockwood1956

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I think it would be about 1.068

I used this free online recipe builder for beer: http://hbd.org/cgi-bin/recipator/recipator
I just entered in 7lb 7oz (7oz = 1cup) of cane sugar for a 5 gallon batch and that's the original gravity it calculated. Someone else may have better calculations, but that should be close.
1 cup is 8oz US, or 8.32 oz Imperial, so your calculations will be out if using 7oz for 1 cup
 
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I actually did calibrate it... but I'm not sayin' I'm right

Hey Lockwoode... I did calibrate it, but the error could still be mine:eek: Let me just make sure I'm reading it right. Fill liquid in test jar to fill line- gently drop in hydrometer, read where hydrometer meets top line of test jar. Any embarassing errors yet?

I'm very distractable in the kitchen these days. Five kids, getting one house ready to sell and one house ready to move into- I've had more organized times for sure! I still want good brew, though!

Keep the advise coming folks!
 
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oh yeesh... I misspoke...

I re-read my post and realized I meant to say read it where it breaks the plane of the liquid. Um. So, anyway, any errors???

Interesting new phenomenon- for me anyway... I tested the ginger beer again today and it started by reading 5% and when I left it alone for a bit it read 10%. I'm assuming it is the carbonation doing that. How do I read it with the carbonation acting that way?:confused:
 
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1 cup is 8oz US, or 8.32 oz Imperial, so your calculations will be out if using 7oz for 1 cup
Oops. That's what I get for relaying in the first internet site I look at:eek: .
If 1 cup = 8 oz then 17 cups = 8lbs 8oz which will give you an OG of 1.078
 

BobF

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Oops. That's what I get for relaying in the first internet site I look at:eek: .
If 1 cup = 8 oz then 17 cups = 8lbs 8oz which will give you an OG of 1.078
CUP is a volume measure. OZ is a weight measure. A CUP of granulated sugar WEIGHS approx 7 OZ
 

cpfan

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Shake:

Standard hydroemeters don't go below about .988. So measuring .8xx would require a special (non-wine/beer) hydrometer.

So was it really .889? Or perhaps .989.

Steve
 

smurfe

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This is a 2+ year old thread. I doubt they are around here anymore.
 

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