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How to measure alcoholic strength? Tips and kits for home producers.


It’s obvious that your own beer, wine or liqueur taste much more better than ordinary products from stores. First of all you can choose, which specific ingredient you want use, to obtain unique flavor. Of course homebrewing require a lot of time to get knowledge, but in the end - it’s worthy effort. Sometimes this kind of after-work hobby in unpredictable way starts to be a full-time job. Whether you still an amateur or already professional manufacturer, you need some basic staff to make beer, wine or liqueur properly.



Measurement of alcohol percentage

When someone drinks the beer that you made, basic question is: how strong is it? Maybe they are worried about whether or not they’ll able to back to home later. Either way the amount of alcohol is important information for home producers. For instance, if they not know how much alcohol it has, all batch could be lose. To avoid wasting you should keep an eye on percentage of alcohol all the time.



As was explained the alcohol content of the drink is expressed as percent ABV (Alcohol By Volume). It’s just a percentage of the volume of each serving sweet ethyl alcohol. To compute ABV you need to understand specific gravity - unitless measure that in context of brewing compares density of the brew to the density of the water. In other words, the more sugar that is in the brew the more dense will be and the higher the specific gravity. But will be difference between specific gravity before and after fermentation since the yeast will convert some of the sugars into alcohol.


Hydrometers and alcoholmeters


There are few useful tools available to the home brewer and winemaker also. One of them is hydrometer. Mostly it contain three different coloured scales printed on the side: sugar, density and potential alcohol degree. Main unit dedicated for this little instrument is Brix (°Bx), Balling (°Bx or °Blg) and Plato (°P), but differences are so small.





Glass hydrometers buoys up in a liquid and shows proper indicator. If you want take sample to your test from fermenter, you will probably need test jar. It is some kind of pipette, which make floating hydrometer more freely. Another kit is alcoholmeter, which is very similar to hydrometer. At some stores these two tools are presented as the same. It allows read from 0 to 100%, so uses just one potential alcohol scale. Alcoholmeter work only with alcohol and water mixtures. You can find also an offer with extra test tube in package.


How to use a refractometer?


Refractometer uses a prism to measure the amount of sugar in the liquid. Score is reported in Brix degrees (1°Bx is 1% sucrose solution). To use it place a couple of drops on the prism, hold it up to the light and read the Brix value. You should be sure to take the initial and final refractometer readings at the same, not so high temperature. After whole process is necessary to convert read to specific gravity unit.




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