Use a brewing hydrometer to check the specific gravity of your homebrew beer, wine, lager or cider. You simply place the brewing hydrometer in your liquid at 20°C and read off the scale on the side.
If you are looking for a homebrew hydrometer, there are 2 types of brewing hydrometer:
1 - Beer & Wine Hydrometers - For measuring the sugar dissolved in your homebrew beer, wine, lager, mead or cider.
2 - Spirit Alcohol Hydrometers - For measuring the alcohol by volume in spirits.
When brewing, take a reading with your Beer & Wine hydrometer before you add your yeast to your beer, wine lager, cider or spirit wash. This will tell you how much sugar is dissolved in your must and will give you a reading on the specific gravity scale. 1.000 is water with no sugar. You can then use the beer and wine hydrometer to check the progress of your fermentation and use the hydrometer to determine when your fermentation has finished. A beer and wine hydrometer can be used with Beer, lager, cider & Wine and will show you the amount of sugar in your juice, must or wort. Use the reading at the start of the fermentation (called the Original Gravity (OG)) and compare this to the reading at the end of the fermentation (called Final Gravity (FG)). You can use these 2 figures to calculate the alcohol content of your beer, cider, lager and wine.
Spirit Hydrometers measure the amount of alcohol in a distilled spirit like vodka or whisky or gin. The scale on the hydrometer tell you alcohol content of the spirit. This will not show an accurate reading if the spirit has extra sugars added, e.g. a liqueur. If you are using a still to distil spirits, then use this hydrometer to see the alcohol content of your distilled spirit. You can then use this to see how much water you need to add to bring the ABV to a respectable level.
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