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My hydrometer shows units I can't conciliate with whatever I read on the internet.

It shows from top to down:


On Internet however,the gravity should be measured in floats of the 1.xxx type.

How should I read this hydrometer?

enter image description here

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It might be Brix or Plato, which are basically the same. To test, mix up a 10% solution of sugar: 10 grams sugar in 90 grams water. If the scale is Brix, your solution should read 10 at the calibration temperature. If the units are gravity points, it will read 40.

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The scale is sometimes called "Gravity Points" - it's the Specific Gravity value (1.xxx) without the "1." prefix. So, 1.010 is 10, 1.020 is 20,...1.100 is 100 and so on.

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Okay, if so then my hydrometer showed 80 before fermentation and now it shows 70. From these figures the alcohol content by volume should be 1.31%, but my banana wine clearly is much stronger than that (I'd say 20% by the taste of it). – Benjamin Sep 15 '13 at 15:35
If those are gravity points, it's a narrow range hydrometer; it only goes up to 50. I'd guess that the units are Brix or zplato. – Tobias Patton Sep 15 '13 at 15:36
I agree Tobias - it could be brix also. I do have a narrow range hydrometer for FG which is why I thought gravity points. But the best solution is to test against a calibrated solution like you say in your answer. – mdma Sep 15 '13 at 17:07
I'm confused -- how did you read 80 before fermentation, when the highest number on the scale is 50? Is there a different scale on the other side? – Tobias Patton Sep 15 '13 at 22:23

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