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The science of alcohol
The science of alcohol

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4.1 Setting up your homebrew experiment

If you would like to set up your own homebrewing experiment, you should now watch the following video of Danny Allwood explaining what equipment you will require to brew your own beer. Even if you do not want to do the experiment yourself, you will still find it useful to see how it is done by Danny.

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You should note that Danny make references to an instrument called a hydrometer. This is a simple instrument that will allow you to calculate the final alcoholic strength (referred to as % alcohol by volume, ABV) of your home brew. If you are planning to take part in the home experiment, you should try to buy a kit which includes one of these, or buy one separately.

A hydrometer is an instrument used to measure the specific gravity or relative density of liquids, i.e. the ratio of the density of the liquid to the density of water. Hydrometers are usually made of glass and consist of a cylindrical stem and a bulb weighted with a heavy material to make it float upright. Examples of a hydrometer you can readily purchase are illustrated in Figure 8.

This is a photograph showing two hydrometers.
Figure 8 Examples of commercially available hydrometers