Originally Posted by Fuzzymittenbrewing
A vinometer will probably work. You can get one at your lhbs for about $6
This is what I found out about how they work. I don't think it would work at all due to the alcohol content and co2.
This is a very simple way to check the alcohol content of your home brew wine but remember - it is very approximate and you need to know how it works to avoid the common pitfalls.
It works on (still) wine only, not beer or spirits.
It will only work if there is no CO2 left in your wine.
It will only work if your wine is 8-13% or around these values.
The homebrew wine alcohol meter uses the capillary effect in the liquid to determine the alcohol. This will only work on "normal" strength home brewed wines. Unfortunately most meters are graduated between 0-25% but the error outside 8-13% is too large, it simply doesn't work there.
Trick: If you have a very strong wine, dilute it with equal amount of water, then take a reading. If reading ends up inside the interval 8-13% you know you can trust it and in reality it is twice as high.