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Old 07-30-2005, 06:43 PM   #1
DuallyBrew
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Default Estimate ABV?

Is there a way to estimate % ABV without a starting gravity reading? I wasn't able to get a SG reading because I didn't have my hydrometer yet for my first batch. I'm going to be opening the first bottle today.

The hyrdrometer I have does have 3 scales, BRIX (?), Specific Gravity and Potential % ABV. The instructions say to take a Potential ABV reading before and after fermentation and subtract the first from the second.

I'd like to come up with at least a good guess.

Thanks for any info!

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Old 07-30-2005, 08:19 PM   #2
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What type of beer is it? Look at the suggested original gravity (probably a range) of the style you made. If you now know your final gravity, you will be able to figure pretty close to you % alcohol. Of course it won't be exact because you didn't have your original gravity.

Or a less scientific method would be to drink 5-6 beers and if your barking at the moon it has good alcohol content.

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Old 07-30-2005, 09:14 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Born Brewing Co.
Or a less scientific method would be to drink 5-6 beers and if your barking at the moon it has good alcohol content.
I like the way you think...
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Old 02-19-2011, 08:00 PM   #4
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Well, this reply is around six years after the initial post but thought I would add this for newbies...

There is a tool called a refractometer that can gaugethe abv of your beer without taking any gravity readings. The neatest thing about it is that it is that you only use a few drops of beer (maybe a spoonful...) instead of wasting six to eight ounces on two occasions to take your readings with a hydrometer.

Unfortunately, refractometers are quite expensive. I believe they run around $60.

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Old 02-19-2011, 09:04 PM   #5
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Depending on a few things, you can also estimate it using a few online calculators or computer software programs. I use the one at TastyBrew, and if I am using malt extracts, I'll use that as a SG, and it has a fairly good estimate for using grains.

Thanks for digging this question up, Duffman53.

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Old 02-19-2011, 09:21 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Duffman53 View Post
Well, this reply is around six years after the initial post but thought I would add this for newbies...

There is a tool called a refractometer that can gaugethe abv of your beer without taking any gravity readings. The neatest thing about it is that it is that you only use a few drops of beer (maybe a spoonful...) instead of wasting six to eight ounces on two occasions to take your readings with a hydrometer.

Unfortunately, refractometers are quite expensive. I believe they run around $60.
I didn't want to take part in a zombie thread, but this isn't quite right.

A refractometer takes a gravity reading, just like a hydrometer does. It won't magically give you an ABV reading without a starting gravity. It IS true that a refractometer only requires a drop or two of wort to take a reading.

One downside to a refractometer is that alcohol presence skews its reading. There are online calculators that will tell you the correct reading with alcohol present, but they require you to have a SG reading already.


As for a late, late, late response to the OP's question...with extract brewing, as long as you got your volume measurements correct, your OG should be exactly what a recipe calls for. If you made up the recipe, there are several tools available online that will calculate it for you.
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