Am I Reading my Hydrometer Wrong or have I Messed up my Cider?

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IronLiver

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I've made a cider that should be between 8 and 14%, however after 2nd fermentation the hydrometer reads 1.000 - I'm a bit of a novice, am I right in thinking that this has NO alcohol then as it is the same reading as water?! What the hell have I done?

The recipe is supposed to be a natural fermentation so no yeast is used - should I think about adding yeast or more sugar? Or am I just talking bull?
 

CKuhns

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am I right in thinking that this has NO alcohol then as it is the same reading as water?! What the hell have I done?\

YOU MADE HARD CIDER!!!!
Only if you had a starting Gravity or Original Gravity (OG) Greater than 1.000 when you started and assuming that the gravity above 1.000 was due to the presence of sugars. You then had sugars for the wild yeast to consume. (Yep you did have yeast or bacteria that ate your sugar but not added by you.) In essence if your final gravity (FG) after your ferment is complete is 1.000 then you achieved alcohol production a little more alcohol could even drive it less than 1.000.

In this case a very rough estimate of alcohol can be calculated.
OG - FG * 131.25 = ABV (Estimated and good to a couple of tenths)
EXAMPLE...
An OG of 1.060 minus an FG of 1.000 = 0.060 and 0.060 X 131.25 = roughly 7.9% Alcohol.
 
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IronLiver

IronLiver

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So imagine I'm a complete moron... Is my batch OK or is it kaput? The OG was higher than the FG and the fermentation went as planned to my observation. The taste is decent although I'd prefer a little sweeter...
 

CKuhns

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I would suspect your batch is just fine. (Drink and enjoy!) A SG after ferment is complete of 1.000 will taste a bit dry as all or nearly all of the sugars have been converted to alcohol.

NOTE
Your OG must be higher than your FG (Original Gravity vs. Final Gravity) if you have sugars (From the apple juice). When yeast consume the sugars alcohol and CO2 are produced and your Gravity will start to fall and likely end up back to near what water is or 1.000.

Just to be clear, Original Gravity is the gravity of the cider prior to pitching your yeast. Or in this case allowing yeast from the air or inherent in the juice to consume the sugar. As you noted clean clear water has a Specific Gravity of 1.000. My experience has been that apple juice "typically" (not always) has a Specific Gravity of 1.050 plus or minus a bit and without getting too detailed most of the difference between the water and apple juice Gravity is the sugars.
 
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