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Old 07-17-2012, 06:28 PM   #1
Stretch1991
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Default Can You Guesstimate ABV late in the game?

Hello,

So I started brewing meads mid to late 2009 and it was before I really knew what the heck I was doing. I did not take original gravity readings and to be honest it was more of a fingers crossed this works type of deal. I now have a hydro and do things properly but deep inside I want to know the ABV of my meads/cysers/metheglins you name it that I started way back in the day. I started them all between July 2010-September 2010 and just bottled in May 2012

Vanilla Metheglin Recipe
2lbs clover honey
1gal Water
2 Vanilla Beans (primaried so not much vanilla taste)
EC-1118 Yeast

Buckwheat Mead
2lbs Buckwheat Honey
1gal Water
EC-1118

Apple Cyser
1lb Clover Honey
Meijer Brand Cider
EC-1118

Wildflower Mead (this is when I started going to a homebrew Shop)
3lbs Wildflower unfiltered honey
1gal water
Wyeast Sweet Mead Yeast

Blackberry Braggot (or so I thought)
1lb Blackberries
2lb Wildflower Honey
1oz Cascade Hops
1gal Water
D-47

The Vanilla tastes like alcohol, Cyser is way to sweet like apple juice, the wildflower is amazing, I have not tried the buckwheat yet and I am afraid of the braggot haha its this disgusting brown puke color from the blackberries and hops but I am no hop head and 1oz in 1 gallon is allot to me.

All my meads where brewed cold including the braggot if I remember right

Thank You for your help or any input you have on my stuff. I have since upgraded massively but everyone has to start somewhere

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Old 07-17-2012, 09:39 PM   #2
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My suggestion would be to find a calculator such as http://www.brewersfriend.com/allgrain-ogfg/

You can find Honey under the 'Sugar' section. It won't be 100% accurate but it might give you what you need.

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Old 07-18-2012, 06:46 AM   #3
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I usually use the calculator over at the gotmead website it is more designed for mead rather than beer.

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Old 07-18-2012, 09:56 AM   #4
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Although its not well known, yes you can get a good estimate of ABV without knowing OG if you use both a hydrometer and a refractometer.

Google for FermCalc. Download it.

Get both refractomer reading (in Brix) and a hydrometer reading. Make sure they are accurate and adjusted for temperature.

Enter the numbers into FermCalc in the Alcohol->Hydrometer & Refractometer section.

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Old 07-18-2012, 04:01 PM   #5
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Thank You! I will need to pick up a refractometer but it was on the shopping list anyways

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Old 07-18-2012, 05:04 PM   #6
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If you go to https://www.brewers-assistant.com there is a toolkit to the left - just click on "Refractometer", then choose "Final" in the dropdown, enter current brix(refractometer) and gravity(hydrometer) measurements and click Calculate.

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Old 07-19-2012, 12:10 PM   #7
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All of these calculators still require original readings though so the OP will still need to use something like Gotmead's to guestimate where he started.

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Old 07-19-2012, 12:40 PM   #8
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He should be able to do the math to get a rough starting point - honey should get you about 1.035 with 1 pound in 1 gallon.

Vanilla Metheglin Recipe - should have started at about 1070

Buckwheat Mead - 1070

Apple Cyser - 1035 + the sugar in the cider. You can buy some cider and measure it - then just add 35 points from the honey.

Wildflower Mead - 1.105

Blackberry Braggot 1070 from the honey - someone moreknowlegeable about brewing with fruit is going to have to help estimate the additional sugar from the berries
1lb Blackberries

those are your starting gravities - use the hydro and you can calculate the %ABV

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Old 07-19-2012, 01:47 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheBrewingMedic View Post
All of these calculators still require original readings though so the OP will still need to use something like Gotmead's to guestimate where he started.
No that's not true. You can get an accurate ABV measurement by using both a refractometer and a hydrometer without knowing OG.

EDIT: See the following quote from FermCalc -
Quote:
Originally Posted by FermCalc
FermCalc includes four methods of estimating alcohol content and residual solids (true Brix) from simultaneous refractometer and hydrometer readings. All of the methods are designed to be used after fermentation, but they should be able to yield reasonable estimates of alcohol content during fermentation as long as there is enough alcohol to affect the measurements and the sample is degassed enough that the measurements are not affected by dissolved CO2.
See all the fancy math here: http://web2.airmail.net/sgross/fermc...cohol.html#al3
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