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Precise determination of sugar and alcohol content has a direct impact on the later taste, and above all on the strength of alcohol. Many people ask the question whether more attention should be devoted to the selection of a hydrometer or refractometer. We will try to answer key questions.


We all love wine not only because it has a great color or belongs to European civilization for centuries. The main reason is the alcohol content. It is thanks to them that after some time we begin to hum in the head, the body relaxes, and the company embraces a joyful atmosphere. However, the purpose of wine is not to induce a hangover, so keep an eye on the alcohol content. During the entire process of making wine at home, the sugar content in the must first needs to be measured. Later - alcohol released by yeast in the prepared mixture. But first things first. Let's start with a detailed presentation of both types of equipment.


Why we should measure sugar content?


Hydrometer allows you to have full control over the production of home-made alcoholic beverages. It’s quickly method to precisely determine how much sugar is in the solution. On this basis, you can also predict the strength of the drink. The colored graduation of the hydrometer makes it easier to read the measurement and interpret the results correctly. The different colors determine the optimal sugar concentration for the next stages of home-brew production - thanks to this you know how to operate without additional calculations or checking the table. The hydrometer is also easy to use. Just fill the tube with a small amount of liquid you want to examine. Then place the indicator in the test tube and read the result - determined by the upper meniscus of the solution.




How does it look in practice? Get a must sample. Make sure that the liquid is clean, i.e. it does not contain a solid fraction and gas bubbles. Insert the float into the measuring table, taking care not to touch its bottom or walls. Read the result at the site of the upper liquid meniscus. Hydrometer is marked with different colors, which correspond to the recommended sugar concentrations during the subsequent stages of wine production. If we use a hydrometer, the sugar concentration is determined using the Balling scale (Blg). When everything seems to be okay, before the fermentation process the result should not be higher than 22 Blg - pink, and after adding the next dose of sugar to the set, the result should not be higher than 16 Blg (yellow). At the very end, let's wait for the green color.


Measuring alcohol by refractometr


An alternative solution for hydrometers is the refractometer. When you are wondering how much wine has a percentage, you should determine the alcohol content. It is a laboratory or portable device for measuring the refractive index, which is a measure of the speed of light in a substance, especially in liquids. The refractometer is used, for example, to determine the water content, e.g. in beer malt, honey, fruit juices, jams. In this case, however, it serves to check the maturity of the wine by an optical evaluation of the concentration of sugar in the must.



All you need to do is apply a little liquid on a portable telescope refractometer. The sugar content is determined on a Brix scale and alcohol is expressed as a percentage. The standard product available in online stores can assess from 0 to 40. The advantage of the refractometer is that you can squeeze the juice directly from the grapes into the prism to control the sugar content.


It is difficult to determine which device is better suited for assessing sugar and alcohol content. Each of them is comfortable to use and works well in home conditions. It seems that greater accuracy can be achieved with the refractometer. We hope that the measurements will come out perfectly, and the wine will be delicious.


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