The Best Wine Hydrometer For Home Brewing
Winemaking is a rewarding process but to make sure your wine rises to the standards, you’ll need to know when it’s ready to be bottled. For this purpose, having a wine hydrometer is a must.If you’re new to wine brewing and are wondering what this instrument is, read on to find out why you need it and how to use it. Alternatively, if you’re just looking for the best wine hydrometer on the market, click on the links below to jump to our selection.
How To Use A Wine Hydrometer
Wine should have an alcohol concentration between 5,5 and 23% depending on the type, therefore you should check the standard before brewing your beverage if you want to make a wine of the best quality. Moreover, knowing the alcohol concentration of your wine is also nice if you want to add wine labels to your bottles.
If you’re new to winemaking and only produce a few bottles for personal use, the actual alcohol concentration of your wine might not be of high concern. Nevertheless, if you really care about this craft, then maybe you would like to check if your wine follows the standards of the industry.
But a wine hydrometer can be used for another purpose too. Namely, you can also use it to determine the actual alcohol concentration of your wine.
For this reason, to check if the fermentation process actually ended, you need to measure the specific gravity, or alcohol concentration, of wine.
However, this is hardly sufficient. Yeast can be inactivated by many factors, including too low temperatures. But inactivated yeast can restore its activity at any moment and if this happens after the wine is bottled it could lead to a complete mess.
There is a wide range of people, all new to home brewing, who believe that it is enough to observe the beverage to tell if the fermentation process has ended or not. In part, this is true. In fact, sometimes it is enough to see if the beverage stopped making bubbles to determine whether the yeast is active or not.
Why You Need A Wine Hydrometer
Even if you’re new to winemaking, you probably know already that in order to bottle wine, the fermentation process must be ended. Otherwise, the beverage might continue its fermentation inside the bottle with various potential consequences. For this reason, knowing how to use a hydrometer is a must. Let’s find out how to do it.
Essentially, a wine hydrometer is a long glass tube that contains various gradations and that is used to measure the specific gravity of wine. Specific gravity is a figure that lets you know whether the fermentation process has ended or not.
If by now is clear why you need to invest in a hydrometer, using it is a whole different story. But there is no need to be frightened. Using a wine hydrometer is really simple, and so is determining specific gravity or alcohol concentration of the beverage.
As mentioned above, a hydrometer is a long tube made of glass. The tube contains a weight fixed at one end and gradations along the length of the tube. To use it, pour some wine into a tall cylinder made of transparent glass or plastic. Alternatively, you can use a tall glass or a carafe.
Simply drop the hydrometer into the liquid and read the gradation corresponding to the point where the hydrometer meets the surface of the liquid. The gradation will show you the alcoholic strength, which is not the same thing as the alcohol concentration.
To determine whether the fermentation process ended, you have to measure specific gravity two times. First, you should measure the gravity when you add the yeast to the juice. In most cases, the hydrometer will indicate a number between 10 and 13%. This number represents the potential alcoholic concentration that can be achieved if all sugars are transformed into alcohol.
A second measurement should be made when the fermentation seems to have stopped. If the hydrometer indicated a value around – or +1, then fermentation has stopped and you can safely bottle your wine.
To determine the actual alcohol concentration of your homemade beverage, subtract the second number from the first one. For most types of homemade wine, you should get an actual alcoholic concentration between 9 and 15%.
Since owning a wine hydrometer is essential and using it is so simple, all you have to do now is find the right model for you. If in doubt, have a look at some of the best wine hydrometers available on the market that we listed below.
The Best Wine Hydrometer For Home Brewing
1. Chefast Hydrometer & Test Jar for Wine
Using a wine hydrometer is simple, but some will certainly appreciate the possibility of investing in a complete specific gravity measurement kit. Regardless of whether you’re a newbie or expert winemaker, this Chefast Hydrometer & Test Jar for Wine could be the right option for you.
This set includes a glass hydrometer and a 250 ml plastic test jar. The best thing about this combo is that it is designed to help you measure specific gravity without committing measurement errors. Useless to say that this is essential if you want to be sure that it’s really the time to bottle your wine.
The hydrometer is easy to use and accurate. It can measure specific gravities between 0,99 and 1,17 and alcohol concentrations between 1 and 20%. Moreover, the set also includes a series of other useful accessories, such as a cleaning brush.
2. Brew Tapper Triple Scale Hydrometer for Beer, Wine, Mead & Kombucha
The Brew Tapper Triple Scale Hydrometer for Beer, Wine, Mead & Kombucha is an accurate hydrometer to consider if you do not care too much about getting a test jar and accessories with your purchase. In fact, this hydrometer doesn’t come with any accessories yet it strikes with its accuracy.
This hydrometer is ideal for wine and beer brewing. Regarding winemaking, the instrument has gradations specifically for dessert wines and table wine, which is a nice thing to have if you’re new to this craft.
This triple scale hydrometer is made of glass and free of hazardous elements such as lead or mercury. It has the ability if reading specific gravity, potential alcohol concentration, and the Brix scale, offering you all possible choices you need to assess the strength of your beverage.A thing we like is the fact that the manufacturer guarantees the accuracy of this product and offers a lifetime warranty to sustain this claim.
3. Brewer's Elite Hydrometer & Test Jar Combo
The Brewer's Elite Hydrometer & Test Jar Combo is another great specific gravity reading kit if you’re looking to invest in your first wine hydrometer.
The kit consists of a triple scale hydrometer and a test jar with a capacity of 250 ml. Both items are packed in a super-tough hard case and come with a free microfiber cleaning cloth that is used to maintain the hygiene of both hydrometer and cylinder.
The wine hydrometer is perfect to measure specific gravities between 0,99 and 1,16 and potential alcohol concentrations between 0 and 20%. Moreover, the hydrometer has a Brix Balling scale that provides measurements between 0 and 35.The manufacturer also offers a 100% money back guarantee if you are not fully satisfied with the products, regardless the reason.
4. Goodmanns Hydrometer (Beer/Wine) & Glass Test Jar
If you’re a fan of wine hydrometer and test jar kit but not so fond of plastic beakers, then you might like this set of wine hydrometer and glass test jar from Goodmanns.
The main difference between this set compared to the others is the glass test jar. Because of the different material, the jar is truly transparent, easier to clean, and it maintains its properties over the time. this means that you’ll be able to make clear readings even after several uses.
Regarding the hydrometer, this is specifically made for wine and beer. It has three gradation scales and it can be used to measure specific gravity, potential alcohol volume, and Brix levels.The hydrometer doesn’t contain any lead, mercury, or any other potentially harmful elements. Moreover, the manufacturer offers a lifetime accuracy guarantee and offers a free replacement at any time if the hydrometer is not accurate.
5. Home Brew Stuff Hydrometer and Tralle by Bellwether
Sometimes all you need is a simple hydrometer that allows you to read specific gravity without the hassle of seeing through colors and scales. If this is the case, then a product to consider is the Home Brew Stuff Hydrometer and Tralle by Bellwether.
This hydrometer is simple to use and read. It only contains a scale of gradations that range from 0 to 100. This makes the hydrometer suitable for a wide range of alcoholic beverages including wine but also strong spirits such as whiskey or brandy.
The hydrometer is calibrated at 60°F and may lose its accuracy if the temperature of the beverage is different when measured.It should also be said that even if many winemakers find this hydrometer easy to use, the manufacturer advises that it is not completely accurate for low alcohol beverages including beer and wine. Keep this in mind before deciding whether it is the right product for you or not.
Conclusion & Final Pick
The main thing to keep in mind when choosing the best wine hydrometer is the accuracy of the instrument. Since almost all hydrometers we reviewed have excellent performances, we decided to choose the best based on its popularity.
According to this criteria, the best wine hydrometer available on the market is the Chefast Hydrometer. The instrument is part of a kit containing a plastic test jar, a cleaning brush, and a storage pouch. Moreover, the hydrometer presents a triple scale and it is graded to be used for wine and beer.
The hydrometer is easy to use and accurate. It can measure specific gravities between 0,99 and 1,17 and alcohol concentrations between 1 and 20%. A Brix scale is also available for the true enthusiasts.
The only main downside of this combo is the capacity and material of the beaker. However, since we’re evaluating the hydrometer, we can say without a doubt that this is one of the best products you could find!