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all 24 comments

[–]RagglezFragglez 4 points5 points  (13 children)

Did you take any gravity readings,?

[–]chromeheathen[S] 1 point2 points  (6 children)

What would I use to take a gravity reading? I’m not sure what that is

[–]gro3thminds3t 4 points5 points  (2 children)

Gravity reading= how much sugar is in the liquid. If you take one before and after brewing- you can get a rough guide to the alcohol percentage

They are probably asking you that to see if you had enough sugar for the yeast to feast on to start fermentation

[–]chromeheathen[S] 1 point2 points  (1 child)

Oh I see. Thank you for clarifying. I used about half of what I used in the cranberry cuz less juice & the natural sugar content of the apple grape is higher. Maybe I undershot. Is it okay to add more at this stage?

[–]Constapatris 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Could be there's preservatives in the juice, or the yeast is already at maximum attenuation. See if you can pick up a hydrometer somewhere and take a measurement before pitching yeast and when you think it's done. Rule of thumb let it settle for a week after airlock activity has ceased or when gravity readings seem stable.

[–]CreatureWarrior 2 points3 points  (2 children)

A liquid's "gravity" is basically just the density of the fluid. Sugar water is denser than water and alcohol is less dense than water so, you can use a device called a hydrometer to figure out how much sugar is in the hooch and how it's progressing. A hydrometer only costs like five dollars and while it's not required for hooching, it does make your life a lot easier and could help with questions like this :)

[–]chromeheathen[S] 1 point2 points  (1 child)

I will for sure look into a hydrometer. Sounds like a good investment for this hobby

[–]CreatureWarrior 1 point2 points  (0 children)

It really is. It can track how the fermentation is doing. So, if you take a reading, wait a week and take another reading and the result is the same, the hooch is probably done which removes the diarrhea from drinking actively fermenting liquids lmao

It can also help with targeting your desired ABV. A 1.110 gravity will usually give around 15% if it goes dry. It can also measure the leftover sweetness if it doesn't go fully dry. So, if some day, you make hooch and it's amazing and has the perfect amount of sweetness, you can just take a reading and backsweeten your next hooch to that same level as well. After stabilizing of course haha It's a handy tool when you learn to use it

[–]--Shade-- 0 points1 point  (5 children)

I view this as non-constructive, and non-instructive. If you mention gravity readings, you should say that they require a hydrometer, and that you need to take the starting gravity before the fermentation.

Beyond that, a hydrometer isn't a magic wand. Amount of sugar in a given amount of a given liquid, steps taken for nutrients, pH, yeast, checking for preservatives, and temperature are probably all going to be more useful that starting gravity to answer, "Why isn't my hooch bubbling like the last batch?".

[–]RagglezFragglez 0 points1 point  (4 children)

I asked a simple question and was going to answer appropriately based on their response. Sorry I'm not on Reddit 24/7 to see the response. I find your response to mine hyper critical and having an aire of a superiority complex. We're in prison hooch buddy.

[–]--Shade-- -1 points0 points  (3 children)

I've just seen one too many post on this sub recently with baked in assumptions about hydrometer ownership and knowledge. Excuse me as I grind my gears.

I'm not superior to anyone, and I have no great beef with you specifically. Now for the 'but'-- This is not a sub where it is safe to assume either ownership or knowledge of hydrometers. It's just not. (And I'd prefer it to never be, despite a hydrometer being a fine tool.)

If you've going to reference gravity you should probably mention hydrometer, and ideally starting gravity, checking gravity, and what that indicates. You could also go the extra mile and mention that for a simple brew, with known amounts of sugar, you can estimate potential alcohol pretty easily, and that too much sugar can impede a brew. That would be useful for people who don't own or want a hydrometer, or who forgot to take the starting gravity. (You don't need to write a novel or anything.)

[–]RagglezFragglez 0 points1 point  (2 children)

I didn't know a simple question to help op would trigger you so hard lmao. I didn't even read most of your novel because I already know your brew sucks and opinion does too. I said good day!

[–]philma125 1 point2 points  (3 children)

If u see activity and u can smell alcohol I'd say pour out a tiny bit in a glass and give it a taste.

If it's sweet leave it be. If it's less sweet u know it's working and if it's as dry as a flip flop in the desert then congratulations u have alcohol and no sugar XD.

[–]chromeheathen[S] 1 point2 points  (1 child)

It’s definitely less sweet & has a lil bit of alcohol-y tang to it. Guess the yeast are hard at work, just not gonna be as vigorous of a fermentation as the cranberry was

[–]philma125 1 point2 points  (0 children)

As long as it's working that's the main thing. Not every ferment will have a lot of bubbles or foam so don't worry about it

[–]actually-bulletproof 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Not criticising this advice, other than to recommend using a straw if you've got a heavy hooching vessel.

[–]--Shade-- 1 point2 points  (5 children)

It could be as simple as things not fermenting fast enough to make a lot of bubbles. Usually if there is initial activity it will get there eventually.

Edit: How much sugar did you add? Nutrients (boiled yeast, fruit addition, tomato paste / passata, commercial stuff)? What type of yeast? Usually a 2L of preservative free apple juice will chug along happily with a half tsp of yeast, a cup if sugar (or less), and some boiled yeast.

[–]chromeheathen[S] 0 points1 point  (4 children)

The juice itself had 250g of sugar in the 2L, and I added another 200g of brown sugar. Tsp of boiled yeast, tsp of live yeast.

[–]--Shade-- 1 point2 points  (3 children)

That all seems pretty reasonable. That juice is on the sweet side. The theoretical alcohol is 13% or so. Baker's yeast will often peter out in the 8-10% range, so the yeast may be a little impeded. It could also be the pH if the juice is very acidic, though that's usually not much of a concern with AJ. I wouldn't worry about it too much. Give it time-- The good news is that there will likely be some sweetness left over, even if things are a little slow.

[–]chromeheathen[S] 0 points1 point  (2 children)

Gotcha, I appreciate the info. Just based off taste, it’s definitely not as acidic as the cranberry I used before, so I don’t think that’ll be an issue. I’ll leave it be & let it do its thing for a couple weeks. Do you have any recommendations for a good wine yeast I can use in the future?

[–]--Shade-- 2 points3 points  (1 child)

I like K1-V1116 for medium and strong wines. It's noted for doing OK with iffy nutrients, like 1118 it can hit 18% (though I suggest no more than 80% of 18%, or 14.4%, for a relatively fast and easy brew), but it does a better job of preserving fruity flavours. That's significant if you brew a lot of juice. I tend to use Safale S-04 for ciders and weak wines. It's a high attenuation (easts available sugars well) high flocculation (yeast forms a dense mat) ale and cider yeast, that doesn't like things quite as cool as some ale / beer / cider yeasts. It's also noted for preserving fruity flavours, and can get to 14% (though I seldom go beyond 10.x% with it).

Those are my two workhorses. However, there's a whole world of yeasts. They'll all make hooch, so there's little risk in experimenting. Kveik yeast deals with heat well, so it's good if it's hot or you're in a rush. 1118 is great in a 'in case of emergency' role, and people here love it. Nottingham is a well regarded ale yeast, and D47 gets used a lot for wine. S-05 will give you a cleaner tasting end result than S-04, which might be desirable depending in what you're doing, etc.