204-237-3333 info@moonshiners.ca

Every so often, we get a call along the lines of "There’s something wrong with my wine."
One of the first questions we ask is "What does your hydrometer say?" It’s kind of like asking "Is your computer on?" This handy tool helps give us an idea of what’s going on when we can’t see your wine.

When used faithfully, the hydrometer can be your greatest ally in producing consistent, spectacular wines.

How do I take a reading?

Drop the hydrometer into your wine or beer and allow it to bob up and down. When it stops, take the reading at the waterlevel.

What do the scales mean?

The Specific Gravity scale is the one most of us will use the most often. This measures the sugar content in the liquid. If you were to put your hydrometer in a glass of water at 60F, the reading would come out at 1.000. If you were to add sugar, the reading would move up the scale as the hydrometer floats higher. This occurs because the sugar content creates a denser liquid. Keep in mind that your hydrometer is calibrated for a little under room temperature, and if the liquid is warmer or cooler, it may throw the reading off by a degree or two.

Potential Alcohol measures just that, potential alcohol. Keep in mind that this reading assumes that you are somehow magically able to ferment ALL the sugar in your must or wort.

Can I measure what my actual alcohol is?

Yes! Take an initial Potential Alcohol reading before adding the sugar, and a second reading when you’re ready to bottle. Subtract the second reading from the first. So, if you had an inital reading of 11%, and a second reading at 2%, your actual alchol would be 10%.

Is there anything else I can do with my hydrometer?

Indeed there is! Let’s say you have a strong preference for how sweet(or not sweet) a wine is. If you have a bottle from the LC that matches your taste perfectly, take a Specific Gravity reading of it using your hydrometer and make a note of it.

When you’re making your wine, take several readings as your wine ferments. When the hydrometer reaches the same Specific Gravity as the wine you’re in love with, stop the fermentation early with the Stabilizer Crystals and Sodium Metabisulphite.