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Wine & Beer Hydrometer

£3.50

Glass Beer and Wine Hydrometer

A hydrometer is an essential piece of equipment for wine and beer making. Careful use of the hydrometer is very helpful in ensuring that the wine is started with the correct amount of sugar. It can also be used to help monitor the progress of fermentation and to determine the final sweetness level. Using your readings you can easily calculate the alcohol level of your finished wine.

Keeping good records of specific gravities during your wine making will enable you to give essential information to your local retailer if you have experienced any problems. When sugar is dissolved in water the density (or specific gravity) of the liquid increases in direct proportion to the amount of sugar dissolved. In simple terms the hydrometer is a balanced device which floats. The denser the liquid the higher the hydrometer floats and therefore the higher the specific gravity reading.

Most hydrometers are calibrated to give a reading of 1.000° when placed in distilled water at 20°C. Any reading higher than 1.000° therefore indicates that the liquid is denser than simple water and therefore suggests that there is sugar present in the liquid. As sugar is fermented by yeast, alcohol and carbon dioxide are produced. Alcohol is much less dense than sugar and water and therefore the specific gravity reading will decrease.

The hydrometer can be seen to be floating lower in the water. By measuring the specific gravity (SG) at the start and finish of your wine fermentation you can calculate the percentage alcohol produced. The final specific gravity reading after completion of fermentation will also give you a good guide to the dryness or sweetness of your wine. Several points to bear in mind before taking a reading:

1. At the end of fermentation make sure the wine / beer is degassed. Freshly fermented wine or beer will contain large quantities of dissolved carbon dioxide gas. This should be removed by transferring the wine / beer from one jug to another by pouring at a height of about 15cm (6") up to 10 times. Do not heat the wine to drive off the gas.

2. To be absolutely accurate make sure your trial jar (holder for the hydrometer) is at least 50% wider than the hydrometer itself.

3. Use a good make like the Stevenson or Alla Hydrometer. .

4. Spin the hydrometer as it is dropped into the liquid, then wait 30 seconds before taking a reading. Take the reading from the bottom of the meniscus - blow away the bubbles before taking the reading.

Many people ask us how do I work out my alcohol levels? The best way is to take the starting specific gravity, from the finishing specific gravity and divide this by 7.36, ie 1080 - 990 = 90 divided by 7.36 =12.23% ABV. The other option is to acquire a Vinometer. This is a simple device you can pour a small sample of wine into which will give an ABV reading. It's simple and quite useful as a guide. Price is under £5


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This product was added to our catalog on Tuesday 30 November, 1999.

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