When a recipe gives you a brix reading as a certainty

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St Allie

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This link will help anyone wanting to measure initial brix with a general hydrometer.

http://www.101winemaking.com/hydrometer.htm

I was thrown for a six by Lum Eisenmanns (see recipe forum) references in his recipes. Plus, I understand testing for brix in a fermented must is not going to be correct after fermentation begins.

Allie
 

Luc

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Plus, I understand testing for brix in a fermented must is not going to be correct after fermentation begins.
Allie
Plus, I understand testing for brix in a fermented must is not going to be correct after fermentation begins.
Allie
Hydrometers are build for measuring dissolved materials in water. So when fermentation begins the must is no longer only water. It is a mixture of alcohol and water. Therefore hydrometer readings will be off.

This is one of the reasons why I posted (in another thread) that transferring from primary to secondary by judgement of the hydrometer readings is not good winemaking practice.

Be aware that the table pays a lot of attention to temperature corrections, more as is actually needed.

As you can see in the table that each degree Celsius gives an off reading of 0.07 brix. You can derive that from the last column in which you can see the value each times increments 0.07 with each degree celsius. So 10 dergrees celsius would give an off reading of 0.70 brix.

This means that the potential alcohol would differ less as an half percent if the temperature would be 30 degrees celsius (86 degrees F)

So temperature readings are important but if the reading is within a few degrees of the calibration point of the hydrometer, don't worry about it.

Also be aware that a hydrometer does NOT only measures the amount of sugar in the must. It measures ALL dissolved materials in the must: sugar (the main part), acid, tannin, color components etc etc etc.

Two years ago I made my own SG table which does takes this in account. If you are interested you can download it as a PDF file from my web-log in a link on the right side of the page halfway down the column where it says: Luc's SG tabel
http://www.wijnmaker.blogspot.com/

So any hydrometer reading is an estimate of the amount of sugar in a must.

This last point can be easily demonstrated, and I already planned to do a demonstration of this on my web-log:
Take a measuring jar and fill it with yoghurt.
Now put the hydrometer in.
The reading will be sky-high despite the fact that there will be almost no sugars dissolved in it. And if there is sugar in the yoghurt it will likely be the non-fermentable lactose. And yoghurt is just water with several ingredients dissolved in it......

So please be aware that a hydrometer is just an aid and the rest is up to your own judgement.

Luc
 

St Allie

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Having never really used a hydrometer Luc.. I'm still using my own judgement on the wines.. however I am starting to keep the SG records in my wine book as well.
Have given up on the brix calculations..I was never brilliant at mathematics to start with.

Allie
 

Luc

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Ehhhhhhh ???

If you do not have used a hydrometer, how do you measure SG to keep the records ???

Luc
 

St Allie

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Ehhhhhhh ???

If you do not have used a hydrometer, how do you measure SG to keep the records ???

Luc
I have a hydrometer.. but didn't use it.
Have been using it since I've been on here with you guys.. Before that, I just followed my wine recipes from my books.. they just give ingredients and method, without an estimate of abv.So I have been making the finished product.. just without knowing what the alcohol percentage was.

Allie
 

smurfe

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Allie, have you got to try any of these wines since you started using that hydrometer? Have you noticed any difference in them? I am sure you will notice a consistency factor from now on.
 

St Allie

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Allie, have you got to try any of these wines since you started using that hydrometer? Have you noticed any difference in them? I am sure you will notice a consistency factor from now on.
Steve,

my tried and true recipes like rhubarb, peach and plum . I doubt whether it will make any difference to the end result, because apart from recording the SG I'm making them in exactly the same way I always have. The main difference with using the hydrometer now, is that I will tackle new recipes like the Lum Eisenmann one, where it was all measured in brix .. guestimate it into a hydrometer reading and work from there. It gives me a bit of a challenge and I will be able to tweak that recipe next time. It also occurred to me that if anyone reads my wine notes in future, having the initial SG readings in the recipes will be useful to them.

Allie
 

smurfe

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So when you did start measuring the SG, did you find the recipe was in line with the correct gravity, etc? You didn't have to change the recipe any at all?
 

St Allie

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So when you did start measuring the SG, did you find the recipe was in line with the correct gravity, etc? You didn't have to change the recipe any at all?
Surprisingly yes. They were spot on.. Note that all my fruit is from the garden or gifted from friends gardens.. so it is picked fresh and ripe, not picked early and cool stored as most purchased fruit is nowadays. I think that must make the difference to fruit sugar levels, and the books I am using are old recipes, so the original winemakers will have been using fresh picked fruit themselves.

Allie
 
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