Taking Hydrometer Readings…

Gravity Hydrometer and H-JarHello,I am starting my first attempt but I can’t seem to get a hydrometer reading, what am I doing wrong?Jane———-

Dear Jane,

The number one beginner mistake in taking hydrometer readings is not using a large enough wine sample. In other words, you have to use enough wine to get the gravity hydrometer to float. If the wine is still touching the bottom of the container you are testing in, you need to add more wine. If the container you are testing in is starting to over-flow and the gravity hydrometeris still touching bottom, you need a larger container.We offer what are called Hydrometer Jars or H-Jars that are designed to make hydrometer testing easier. You can also use a Fermentation Sampler that makes taking the wine sample easy as well.You can also do a rough testing of the wine simply by putting the gravity hydrometer in the batch itself. This only works if you are fermenting in an open container of sorts and not a carboy or fermenter that has a narrow neck.
I hope this helps you out.
Best Wishes,
Customer Service at E. C. Kraus
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Ed Kraus is a 3rd generation home brewer/winemaker and has been an owner of E. C. Kraus since 1999. He has been helping individuals make better wine and beer for over 25 years.

5 thoughts on “Taking Hydrometer Readings…

  1. I have been placing the hydrometer in its original narrow plastic tube it came in and adding the wine to it. I have been doing it for over 10 years. Everything seems to be coming out fine. I wonder if the readings are accurate? Another thing I do is pay attention only to the PA scale. I start with approximately 14%. Let it ferment down to 3-4% before transferring to a carboy. After 6 months in the carboys it’s usually at 0%. The specific gravity routine seems so confusing to me.

  2. It’s difficult for me to read the PH scale on the strips. I also purchased an acid test kit, but adding the drops, doing the math, etc. seems confusing. I noticed recently a new PH tester for around $50. I wonder if this would help me? I mainly do blackberry wine and have had a couple of batches that did taste too acidy causing acid indigestion and the like. So I have come to realize that the acid level with my blackberry wine is really important. It also seems to change with the years! Is it worth buying the new tester? I’m not cheap, I want to do it right. Thanks!

  3. Darren, taking a hydrometer reading in the plastic storage tube is not recommended. You are probably getting close readings, but for accurate readings you will want to get a hydrometer jar. The digital pH meter is the most accurate way we have of reading pH. I takes only seconds to do, but you do need to calibrate the meter every so often with a set of three different solutions with three different pH levels.

  4. Using a hydrometer is easy. —must make sure that you twirl the hydrometer around several times to get rid of foam forming in you meter tube and then hold tube with meter in it at eye level to get exact reading!!!!

  5. You can put a hydrometer directly into a carboy with narrow neck, but before doing so, take a length of coated copper wire, 12 or 14 gauge and bend a loop in one end that just slides over the upper tube of your hydrometer. Have the wire long enough to reach the top of the hydrometer, slide over it snugly and then tip it ever so slightly to lift it up and out of the carboy. Works great, no sampling and no chance to contaminate if you clean the hydrometer good before.

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