What is the saccharometer and how to use it?

Saccharometer (type of hydrometer) is the device made of glass which is used for measuring the sugar in fruit mash (mixture of the fruit) based upon its density or rather its specific weight. We need this information because basically, even before we begin we know what density the filtrate of the “boiled” fruit mash of certain fruit should show. It is made of glass and spindle-shaped. In the lower part, it has embedded thermometer and under it metal buckshot giving weight to the alcoholmeter. The upper part looks like a hollow glass pipe with the scale marked with numbers 0-130. These numbers represent Oechsle degree (°Oe).  It is named after Christian Ferdinand Oechsle.


Measurement procedure

The fruit mash should be filtrated first than the filtrate should be poured into the measuring jug (a glass dish with a rubbery bottom). After this, the saccharometer is put inside without touching edges of the measuring jug, just like with the alcoholmeter.

Depending on a density, the alcoholmeter sinks up to a certain level in the filtrate (the more sugar, the less it sinks into the liquid). If the filtrate is sparser, the saccharometer (hydrometer) goes deeper and shows lower number of Oechsle degrees.

The reading-out of the saccharometer  degrees is done on the spot where the liquid surface cuts the saccharometer. This is reading-out in the level of liquid or reading-out lower meniscus of the liquid.

If the komina is on lower or higher temperature, the correction should be done. Measurement should be done on 15 degrees (in most cases saccharometer are calibrated on this temperature).

If the temperature is lower, we should detract 0.2 Oe for each degree. If it is higher, we should add 0.2 Oe.



% of sugar based upon the read-out values °Oe: % of sugar (g/100ml) = °Oe X 0,266-3

Based upon the results gained by using this formula, we can calculate the percentage of the alcohol in the schnapps we are making.

% vol. of the alcohol= % of sugar (g/100 ml) X 0.59

The filtrate of the “boiled” fruit mash of certain kinds of fruit should show approximately these values: apple- 5-13 °Oe, cherry 12-20 °Oe, pear 6-16 °Oe, plum 15-20 °Oe, raspberry and blackberry 5-8 °Oe .

If some of the values are not within these limits, it means that the process of fermentation isn’t finished.

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