Basic information about various hobby and craft topics.
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
The hydrometer is used in both winemaking and beer making and is an essential instrument for both hobbies. Most hydrometers are made of glass, with a weighted bulb on the bottom and a graduated scale on the top. A trial jar is used to float the hydrometer in either the must of the wine, or the wort of the beer. The hydrometer measures the sugar content of the unfermented media and will help determine the final alcohol content of the mix.
Because sugar saturated liquid is denser than liquid after the sugar has fermented out, by taking a measurment before fermentation begins and after it has been finished the final alcohol content can be determined. You can also determine if you need to add more sugar to the brew to bring it up to desired levels, or to dilute it if there is too much sugar. In this way you can make your wine or beer to your specifications using the hydrometer.
The hydrometer is also used to determine if home brew is ready to bottle. If the sugar level is still too high, then bottling must be put off or you may burst the bottles. Similiarly, this same method can be used to make sparkling wines at home. If you are even semi-serious about wine making, you will want to have a hydrometer.