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View Full Version : Hydrometer doesn't go high enough... can I reasonably estimate OG?



jaxn slim
01-22-2010, 08:55 PM
I am making the following recipe:

18 lbs clover honey
17 lbs frozen strawberries (thawed)
3.25 gallons filtered water (I ended up with this number to fill to 6.5 gallons total, but there is more room in the fermenter if need be.)

1116 yeast

I just took an OG reading, and it's off the charts. If I take a ruler and extrapolate from the numbers, it looks like I hit 1.165.

Is it reasonable to estimate the OG this way?
Can champagne yeast handle this high of an OG? Would I be better off diluting?

Thanks.

Displaced Hick
01-22-2010, 09:15 PM
You can get a brix reading by dilution. Just go to VinoCalc (http://www.slymail.org/vinocalc.html#highsugar) and follow their method.

I am sure others with a lot more experience will say that high of an SG will probably lead to very stressed yeast. If you want to keep your sugar additions where they are it would be best to consider step feeding.

jaxn slim
01-22-2010, 09:44 PM
I cut it in half with tap water and came out to SG 1.116. :eek: That means my OG is 1.232ish. :eek: Yikes.

Is it possible I pulled a bad sample? Maybe my wine thief didn't make it all the way through the strawberries floating on top?

TheRabidKumquat
01-23-2010, 12:39 AM
If you can, maybe thief a sample and either put that in the hydrometer test jar, or put the hydrometer in the thief to get a more accurate reading, if the strawberries are getting in the way.

Using the mead calculator, plugging in your amounts of honey and strawberries, I came up w/ a S.G. of 1.139

jaxn slim
01-23-2010, 03:28 AM
If you can, maybe thief a sample and either put that in the hydrometer test jar, or put the hydrometer in the thief to get a more accurate reading, if the strawberries are getting in the way.

Using the mead calculator, plugging in your amounts of honey and strawberries, I came up w/ a S.G. of 1.139

Cool thanks.

I mixed it up really well with my lees stirrer and took another sample. I came up with 1.138. Then I mixed it up some more, took another one for kicks and came up with 1.115. :eek:

Do people normally have this much trouble when there is fruit floating around? Many of the strawberries are largely dissolved, this is my first mead, other than JAO, where I had fruit in primary.

fatbloke
01-23-2010, 07:31 AM
Getting accurate readings can often be a complete PITA if you're using whole fruit.

Don't forget, you say that a lot of the fruit is "dissolved", but it's not really it's just smashed up quite finely so some of the sugars in the fruit will still be tied up quite finely in the tiny fruit particles.........

It's one of the reasons why I use my steam extractor, especially for "red and black" fruit, as it removes the juice and sugars well and means that the juice then mixes in well with honey/water and makes it relatively straight forward to get quite accurate readings.

Of course, "white and green" fruit have to be juiced differently as they will often display a "cooked" taste when subjected to heat during processing.....

Either way, it's up to you how you want to manage this part of the process.

regards

fatbloke

Medsen Fey
01-23-2010, 09:45 AM
Take 1/2 cup of the must and strain it out or use a coffee filter to eliminate the fruit particles then take a reading using a hydrometer testing container. That will give you the correct reading.

TheRabidKumquat
01-23-2010, 04:48 PM
If you think it's rough getting a hydro reading, just wait until it's time to rack off that fruit.


You might want to start searching ways of doing that now.

My usual, but not necessarily preferred method involves a few different strainers to scum the goop out, a spoon to press the juice back through the strainer holes, multiple rinses of the auto-siphon, and a whole lot of colorful language.