Hydrometer - Beer and Wine

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Hydrometer - Beer and Wine

Hydrometer - Beer and Wine

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  • Hydrometer - Beer and Wine


Hydrometer reads in three scales - Specific Gravity, Brix/Balling, and Potential Alcohol

Fill the container it came in, or a test jar with the liquid you would like to measure (at room temperature). The Hydrometer will float in the liquid. Read the number at the top of the liquid. Surface tension will try an pull up on the liquid touching the glass, but make sure you read the number where the liquid would be if it were a perfectly flat surface. The diagram to the right is illustrating a Specific Gravity of 1.046, which could be the Original Gravity (density before fermentation) of a 4.6% ABV beer.

Hydrometer Reading

Brewing Jargon
We home brewers refer to a gravity of 1.010 as "ten ten", and 1.020 as "ten twenty, and so on. 

As a rule of thumb
<1.010 = Very Dry finished beverage
  1.010 = Common F.G. for finished beverages. Well fermented, slightly dry finish.
  1.011 - 1.020 = Still OK. Finishing a little sweet.
  1.021 - 1.030 = Super sweet. Possible stuck fermentation. 

Alcohol Content
Take your O.G. and Subtract your F.G (1.045 - 1.010 = 0.035)

For Alcohol by Weight "ABW" Multiply by 105 (0.035 x 105 = 3.68% ABW)
For Alcohol by Volume "ABV" Multiply your "ABW" by 1.25 (3.68 x 1.25 = 4.6% ABV)

For a quick gauge of ABV just take the last two digits of your OG and move the decimal. In the above example you started with 1.045, this is approximately a 4.5% beverage.


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