Measuring Sugar

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Jul 7, 2009
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I am new to making fruit wines. I just tried my first three batches: raspberry, cherry and peach. It seems nearly all of the instructions for these recipes say to add X lbs sugar. I did as they suggest and in ALL cases ended up with way too much sugar. The cherry and peach were 27 Brix (1.115 sg) and the raspberry was 25 Brix (1.106 sg). I also get that the sg "should have" been significantly lower if I followed the instructions correctly.

Does anyone have any ideas what I might be doing wrong? I'm confused as well on something: how can they instruct you how much sugar to add without knowing how much sugar is contributed by the fruits? I know you can dilute to try to make adjustments, but when I'm diluting so much I start to have to worry about diluting the potency of the fruit, the additives, etc.

Could someone please help me figure what I may be missing, and provide me some best practices to help me get the sugar level on-target the first time?
Adding sugar al depends on what the gravity reading before you add. Google Wine-Calc and download. All you need to do is put in gravity reading now then where you want it BINGO! tells you how much to add.
I use this on all my fruit wines and hit the mark everytime.
Remember for fruit wines you want it about 1.085
Tom, thank you very much for your reply. That makes a whole lot of sense. I plan on trying that approach for my next batch -- that program sounds perfect for me.

I read that added pectic enzyme will release sugars/acids from the fruit and that you might get inaccurate sugar/acid readings unless you wait 12 hours or so after adding it. Under what conditions do you take your initial reading(s)? Do you wait after adding the pectic enzymes? How much water (if any) do you add before taking your initial measurements?
Pectic enzyme breaks down the cellular walls for better extraction from the yeast and aids in not getting pectic haze.
How much water added depends on how much fruit you will use. I do 5-6 pounds per gallon. So Strawberry would be around 30#
Once the fruit and water is added is when I take a gravity reading. Yes not all the sugars are not extracted but it shouldnt go up much more. For fruit wines aim for 1.085 gravity.
This is great info to have -- you've cleared up a lot of things for me. Thanks again.

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