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mikeman9412
06-14-2012, 10:18 PM
Hey guys!

So I'm just starting into mead making and I made a pretty stupid mistake... I've brewed beer before and I've always taken an initial hydrometer reading as it's become somewhat habit but when I did mead I guess it slipped my mind... It's been a week now and I've just remembered "Oh... I should have taken one..." Is there anything I can do to measure the alcohol content without this initial hydrometer reading?

Forget my title... Only one question, I thought I had another but it was solved.

TAKeyser
06-14-2012, 10:21 PM
Best you can do is get an estimate of the original Gravity using the Mead Calculator linked over on the left.

There's a few ways to find out the alcohol content after fermentation is complete, but I've never done them.

Chevette Girl
06-15-2012, 02:50 AM
I've done it twice (http://www.gotmead.com/forum/showthread.php?t=17641) but it's not that accurate with a regular hydrometer and you really have to watch your volumes. I kind of wish I had a huge syringe or something so I could be more exact.

atothestrong
06-17-2012, 11:06 PM
Well, if you paid attention to your alcohol potential when you made the must, you can figure out a rough equivilent to whatever your starting gravity would have been.

TAKeyser
06-17-2012, 11:14 PM
Well, if you paid attention to your alcohol potential when you made the must, you can figure out a rough equivilent to whatever your starting gravity would have been.

Well, since Alcohol Potential is determined by the amount of fermentable sugars in the must and that is determined by either Gravity or Brix which require a Hydrometer or refractometer (don't work very well in Mead musts) reading and he forgot to take a reading it would be kind of hard to pay attention to his Alcohol Potential. The best he can get until the mead is finished is an estimate based on the calculator here or one on another site, but again that is an estimate only.

TAKeyser
06-18-2012, 12:50 AM
refractometer (don't work very well in Mead musts)

Refractometers work fine in mead musts, I was thinking of Vinometers when I was typing.

claudio
06-18-2012, 04:13 AM
If you used only honey, still have the jar and remember exactly the weight used it should be trivial. Compute the gravity of honey by dividing the honey's weight by jar's volume. Then compute the water's volume: it's the final volume minus the honey's (=jar's) one. Then make a weighted average.

So, if you used 1 kg honey from a 0.7 l jar, then the honey had gravity 1 / 0.7 = 1.429.
Final volume was 5 l, so you added 5 - 0.7 = 4.3 l water.
O.G. is then (honey_gravity * honey_volume + water_gravity * water_volume) / final_volume
(1.429 * 0.7 + 4.3) / 5 = 1.060

If you used 2 jars honey, its gravity it's still 1.429, but you added less water:
Final volume was 5 l, so you added 5 - 2*0.7 = 3.6 l water.
O.G. is then (honey_gravity * honey_volume + water_gravity * water_volume) / final_volume
(1.429 * 2*0.7 + 3.6) / 5 = 1.120

Note that water's gravity is exactly 1.

You may also see in this way: gravity = total_weight / total_volume. You already know total_volume, you know honey's weight, you just need to compute water's weight (which is the same as water's volume).

gravity = (honey_weight + water_weight) / (honey_volume + waters_volume) =
= (honey_weight + water_volume) / total_volume
= (honey_weight + (total_volume - honey_volume)) / total_volume

This proves very useful when you use BDCDYF technique.
If you had other fermentables in your must things gets more complicate. If you used juices you can still do the weight / volume trick, otherwise not (but even an hydrometer wouldn't help you there).

By the way the mead calculator does exactly these computations, but it uses its own honey's gravity, which is imprecise if you use weird honey (very liquid or very solid).