by: Lets Do Wine
measures the weight of a liquid in relation to water. It measures the density of your wine making juice. The heavier the juice, the more sugar it contains. The more sugar it contains, the higher the alcohol in your wine. It is important to know the amount of sugar in your juice because that determines your end result. This reading is known as "Beginning Specific Gravity".
is a long glass cylinder that is weighted at the bottom and is usually a "Triple Scale hydrometer
. It measures the specific gravity (S.G.) of the wine juice. If you float a hydrometer
in water, it will read 1.000 on the Specific Gravity scale. At the beginning of fermentation, a typical reading might be 1.090. This means, for example, that the juice at that point weighs 9 percent more than water, or the juice is 9 percent thicker than water. When all the sugar is turned into alcohol, you will have a hydrometer reading on the Specific Gravity scale that is less than water - typically around .995. This means that the juice weighs less than water, or it is thinner than water by a half of a percent. Hydrometers
are very simple to use and will help you gage the fermentation progress of your wine.
When using a hydrometer, a small amount of wine juice will need to be put into a test jar
or an easier way to take a reading is by using a wine thief
. Place the hydrometer
is in the juice and gently spin to dislodge any air bubbles. At eye level, read the figures on the stem of the hydrometer where the surface of the liquid cuts across the stem.
Please note: Hydrometer gives an accurate reading when the temperature of the liquid is 60 degrees F. And remember, hydrometers are very slippery when wet!