Alcohol Hydrometers

Posted by Kenneth Kreiman on

VEE GEE Scientific carries a few different hydrometers for alcohol measurements. Before we get into the different types, one important point that applies to all hydrometers:

Hydrometer measurements are temperature sensitive and each hydrometer will list the “Calibrated for use at temperature”, generally 60°F (15.6°C) or 68°F (20°C). If your liquid isn’t at the calibrated temperature, a correction factor needs to be applied. Some hydrometers, known as combined form, have a built-in thermometer to make this process easier.

Let’s explore where each of these alcohol hydrometers is used.

Tralle/Proof Hydrometers

Used to verify the alcohol content in distilled spirits, these hydrometers would not be used for beer or wine. The Tralle scale equates to the percent of alcohol by volume (ABV) and ranges between 0-100%. The Proof Scale, in the USA, is equal to twice the ABV. For example, if a distilled spirit has an ABV of 50%, it is equal to 100 Proof. Again, these are only for distilled spirits, they won’t work for beer or wine. VEE GEE Tralle and Proof Hydrometers.

Proof Scale, IRS Specification Hydrometers

If you are proofing distilled spirits for labeling and tax purposes, then our Hydrometers that meet the IRS specifications will meet your needs. They are also available with an NIST-traceable certificate with 3 data points if you require paperwork for an auditor. The IRS specification calls out a number of ranges and the subdivisions for each range. VEE GEE IRS Alcohol Hydrometers and VEE GEE IRS Alcohol Hydrometers with NIST Certificate.

Plato Hydrometers

The Plato scale is calibrated to show the concentration of beer wort extract as a percentage by weight. For example, a 5°P reading indicates 5 g of extract per 100 g or wort. The measurement is used as an indicator of the potential alcohol content of the beer. VEE GEE Plato Hydrometers.

Brix Hydrometers

Brix hydrometers are more commonly used in winemaking to measure sugar content of pressed grapes in order to estimate the potential alcohol content of the finished wine.

For beer brewing, Brix can sometimes be used before, during, and after fermentation. But the readings are commonly converted to Plato or specific gravity. VEE GEE Brix Hydrometers.

Specific Gravity Hydrometers

Beer brewers will use specific gravity hydrometer to measure the original gravity and the final gravity to determine the alcohol content. They can also be used during the fermentation process to check the progress of the yeast.

In winemaking, similar to the Brix Hydrometers the Specific Gravity Hydrometers are used to get a measure of the original and final sugar content in order to calculate the alcohol content. VEE GEE Specific Gravity Hydrometers.

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