How to use a Hydrometer - Beer, Wine, Cider


A hydrometer is an essential tool for all homebrewers, allowing them to measure the specific gravity of their beer, wine or cider during the fermentation process.

This simple yet effective piece of home brew equipment helps brewers determine the alcohol content and the progress of fermentation.

To use a hydrometer, start by sterilising all equipment to ensure a clean and sterile environment. Please click the PDF from more detailed hydrometer instructions on how to use it.

Begin by filling a test jar with a sample of the beer being brewed. Gently lower the hydrometer into the test jar, making sure it floats freely without touching the sides.

Take a reading by looking at the scale on the hydrometer where the liquid level intersects. This reading will provide the specific gravity of the beer.

Once the fermentation process is complete, take another reading with the hydrometer. By comparing the initial and final specific gravity readings, brewers can calculate the alcohol content and determine if fermentation is complete.

Another benefit of using a hydrometer is that it allows brewers to monitor the progress of fermentation. As yeast consumes the sugars in the beer, it produces alcohol and carbon dioxide. By observing the specific gravity readings over time, brewers can see how the gravity decreases as fermentation progresses. This helps them determine when the beer is ready for the next step, such as transferring to a secondary fermenter or bottling

Hydrometers come in different types and sizes, but they all work on the same principle. They are typically made of glass or plastic and have a weighted bulb at the bottom to make them float in liquid. The scale on the hydrometer is calibrated to measure specific gravity, with the readings typically ranging from 1.000 to 1.200. Some hydrometers also have additional scales for measuring potential alcohol content or sugar content

It is important to handle the hydrometer with care to avoid breakage or damage. When inserting it into the test jar, make sure to do so gently to prevent any sudden movements that could cause it to hit the sides. After taking a reading, rinse the hydrometer with clean water to remove any residue or contaminants before storing it

The hydrometer is an indispensable tool for homebrewers, providing accurate measurements and valuable insights into the brewing process.