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Stunning SG and refactomiter readings

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Amo

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I'm 77 and brewed beer about 50 years ago. I suddenly decided to try my hand at making wine. I am stunned at the alcohol content in my first try. Is the yeast that well developed that I could get 22.3% by weight of alcohol? Not that I'm complaining but that is beyond believe for me.. I'm making 2 gallons of Blueberry wine. My starting SG was 1.19 using an hydrometer. I then bought a refactomiter from the company I am sure I own at least half of by buying ethe wine making stuff from Amazon. It looks like fermentation has all but stoped so I took a sample with the Refactomiter (I love that thing, its so easy to use) The reading was 1.020 and that gave me a 22.3% alcohol by weight. Is that possible? the yeast I was using was LALVIN D47. If this is all true then the rest of my retirement has a lot of potential.
 

NoQuarter

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Are you sure about your initial S.G. reading? maybe 1.090 or 1.109? Seems like 1.190 would not even get started good. Lalvin D-47 has only about a 15% alcohol tolerance...
 

Amo

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Thank you NoQuarter. I just looked at my hydrometer again and the initial SG was 1.09 or 1.10 giving me a reading of +/- 9%. I'm happy with that, I don't think I could gotten through 2 gallons of blueberry wine at 23%. I had trouble reading the small numbers on the hydromiter and was hoping the refactomiter was easier to read. It was and is for sure. Total accuracy is less important to me than the taste....... Cheers.
 

sour_grapes

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I agree with @NoQuarter. I suspect you are not reading your hydrometer correctly.

Second, you cannot (easily) use a refractometer after fermentation has started. Alcohol has a different index of refraction than water does. Use a hydrometer for the second measurement.

Take a look at this and see if it helps you read your hydrometer:

 

cmason1957

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Don't forget that the reading you took with your refractrometer is incorrect. The alcohol in the liquid causes it to read incorrectly. There are correction spreadsheets available on the web. I don't have a refractometer, so I have no idea where, but they do exist.
 

Amo

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Thank you everyone. I was under the impression a Refactometer was the ideal brewing tool. After a lot of reading I know the refractometer is a cool tool to take the starting SG but needs a lot of math to find the alcohol content at the end. I did take the SG with the hydrometer at 1.10 and I took another at 1.02 so I can figure that out. Thanks to Salcoco for the awesome spread sheet for the refactometer readings. That will be simply things and I won't be wasting so much liquid as I intend to brew in gallon jugs it will be very useful and interesting to track the fermentation.
 

Juniper Hill

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Welcome to the world of winemaking! There are lots of similarities with brewing. The big difference is having to wait for your wines to mature...
 

cmason1957

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That will be simply things and I won't be wasting so much liquid as I intend to brew in gallon jugs it will be very useful and interesting to track the fermentation.

One very big difference between beer brewing and wine fermenting is most of in the wine world generally sanitize a tall enough test vessel, put our wine sample in, measure and then return the sample back to the fermentation vessel. I know this is considered dangerous in the beer making world, but due to the much more acidic PH (3.2-3.8 for wine, beer at 5.0-5.7) there is much less chance of contamination. So no need to waste much, if any of your wine samples.
 

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