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Old 10-26-2008, 08:41 PM   #1
John Long
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Default <1 hydrometer readings

I just racked some Cider and some Chamomile Agave Mead (excellent!) and got two hydrometer readings less than 1.

The Cider read 0.85 and the Agave Mead read ~0.79. I could not read the mead correctly as my hydrometer label doesn't go that far.

Both are fermented using dry wine yeasts and both are very dry with barely any carbonation. I'm assuming the yeast ate so many sugars the liquid is now less heavy than water?

Both sat in primary for over 2 1/2 months.

I'm confused!

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Old 10-26-2008, 08:42 PM   #2
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Readings below 1.00 for meads and cidars aren't unusual. Those two seem really low to me, though. You may want to test your hydrometer by putting it in pure water. Should read 1.00 even

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Old 10-26-2008, 08:42 PM   #3
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What temp was it when you took your readings?

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Old 10-26-2008, 08:45 PM   #4
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Temp was 60 F.

I will test with water now.

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Old 10-26-2008, 08:48 PM   #5
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I think you're reading the hydrometer wrong- I'd be willing to bet that your readings are .985 and .979 respectively. (Hydrometers generally don't go below .990- that's usually where the scale starts.). It's impossible to have the readings be what you posted.

Most of my wines finish dry at .990, as do my meads and ciders. That's actually "dry" and when they are done fermenting, although some will finish as high as .998 or so.

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Old 10-26-2008, 08:49 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Long View Post
Both are fermented using dry wine yeasts and both are very dry with barely any carbonation. I'm assuming the yeast ate so many sugars the liquid is now less heavy than water?

John Long
Alcohol is less heavy than water, and if they have fermented waay down, it is possible to get readings like what you describe. Dry wine yeast can do this depending on what fermentables you started with, the other possibility (very rare) is a gusher bug. How does the stuff taste?
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Old 10-26-2008, 08:54 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Donasay View Post
Alcohol is less heavy than water, and if they have fermented waay down, it is possible to get readings like what you describe. Dry wine yeast can do this depending on what fermentables you started with, the other possibility (very rare) is a gusher bug. How does the stuff taste?
I have NEVER heard of any wine/cider or mead going under .990. Never. I don't think any wine yeast could do it. Has this actually happened to someone?
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Old 10-26-2008, 08:55 PM   #8
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.8 does sound pretty low for most yeasts. But basically what is happening, as you suspect, is that the alcohol (less dense than water) is causing your reading to go bellow pure water.

This doesn't happen with beer because wort has a lot more unfermentable sugars and ale/lagger yeast are more picky about what they eat. Grape juice and honey are almost pure simple sugars that the yeast gooble up. And wine yeast will generally atenuate more, ie eat more into the range of complex sugars.

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Old 10-26-2008, 09:01 PM   #9
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My hydrometer reads 60 F water as 0.950.

So my correct hydrometer readings are:

Cider 1.0
Agave Mead: 0.94

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Old 10-26-2008, 09:04 PM   #10
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I have NEVER heard of any wine/cider or mead going under .990. Never. I don't think any wine yeast could do it. Has this actually happened to someone?
All my temps were over or under 60 F by less than 0.4.

I used 1# of honey and 3# of agave nectar in my mead and I'm sure agave sugars ferment differently than honey. Thats probably why the reading is so low.

And the taste is excellent!!
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