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I made some homemade wine and I believe I didn't add enough sugar because it reads 0 alcohol. My question is my wine has been strained and transferred into clean jars and dead yeast gone. If I take my "finished" alcohol free wine (wasn't trying to make alcohol free) and start the process over again, fruit, yeast, MORE sugar then last time and some water to top it off and start fermentation with it would it work?

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First off, it seems unlikely that you have alcohol-free wine regardless of how much sugar you added. Fruit juice alone has plenty of sugar to produce alcohol with a ferment -- perhaps not as much as you wanted.

I'd be interested to know exactly what reading represented 0 alcohol.

In the end, you could conceivably do what you suggest. But I'd be certain I was reaching the correct conclusions from what you are reading. Instead, take a taste of what you have. Does it taste like the fresh juice, or does it taste more like wine? Take an SG reading. Finished wine should be about 1.000 or less.

If the latter, I'd leave it alone, lay it down for a while and drink young (as it may have a light alcohol content).

If it still tastes like the original fruit juice (and has a high SG), then you had no ferment. Sterilize the batch, take a SG reading, add sugar to reach your desired SG, and ferment with a lively yeast.

If it is sweet and super sour -- dump it. You likely had no ferment the first time around and your must spoiled.

Hope this helps.

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  • I used my hydrometer and it read 0.00 flat. This is my 1st time making wine so I'm sure I did something wrong lol the yeast I used was red star brand premier blanc. The recipe I used only called for 1 cup sugar, 1 gallon of water and 3lbs of barries. So idk it all fermented like it was suppose to and it very much tastes like wine my reading just said 0 I also didn't have the hydrometer when I had 1st started so I could just be completely wrong and I made good wine lol Jun 15, 2023 at 1:38
  • I think you're fine. If your hydrometer reads 0 after fermentation, that's normal for wine. A lot of hydrometers will have readings for expected alcohol content on them, but that references the SG before fermentation. Jun 16, 2023 at 12:32
  • Thank you so much for your help I really appreciate it. Jun 17, 2023 at 4:09
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What did you use to get a reading of 0 alcohol?

The common method to find alcohol level is to compare how much sugar you started with vs how much is left after fermentation. Hydrometers and refractometers show a reading that represents this sugar content. There are tons of calculators on websites that will tell you the alcohol percentage based on the beginning and ending readings.

There are also different hydrometers and refractometers that are calibrated to show direct alcohol percentage, but since they use the same method as the sugar-based ones, they only work on distilled liquor- if there is any sugar in the liquid, it will throw off the reading, potentially offsetting it to zero.

If that's not your problem in the first place, to answer your question: no, more sugar won't help. If yeast didn't consume any sugar, it's because there was too much, or maybe the pH was too low, or they didn't have enough nutrients, or a similar problem. Adding sugar won't fix any of those issues. If you just wanted to try adding something for fun, try adding water, or some yeast nutrients (fermaid O is great) or maybe even just pour some craft beer in there, with the hopes that it already has a good balance of everything. You could pour in "natural" wine as well, but it's more expensive, and wine propbably won't provide nutrients, and needs years of age before it tastes okay.

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  • I used my hydrometer and it read 0.00 flat. This is my 1st time making wine so I'm sure I did something wrong lol the yeast I used was red star brand premier blanc. The recipe I used only called for 1 cup sugar, 1 gallon of water and 3lbs of barries. So idk it all fermented like it was suppose to and it very much tastes like wine my reading just said 0 I also didn't have the hydrometer when I had 1st started so I could just be completely wrong and I made good wine lol Jun 15, 2023 at 1:38
  • So basically, a beer/wine/brewing hydrometer doesn't measure alcohol level, only sugar, and a proof/tralle/ABV hydrometer can only measure distilled liquor. Sugar will make a hydrometer rise up, and alcohol will make it drop down, so sugar+alcohol like in wine can make it show zero. If you saw it ferment and it tastes good, sounds like you did it right.
    – Wiley Rush
    Jun 16, 2023 at 3:05
  • Ok thank you! So much for you help. Jun 17, 2023 at 4:09
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The hydrometer reading that says alcohol actually shows "potential ABV for the amount of sugar we think is in the liquid" - so your hydrometer showing 0.0 at the end is a good thing! Its means all the available sugar was converted.

It's not always super clear, but the hydrometer reading is actually just a rough measure of the "stuff in the liquid that isn't water" (it measures the density: higher than 1.0 is assumed to be sugars, lower than 1.0 is from alcohol).

If you have a reading from the start, the hydrometer instructions should include a formula to use the start + end values to calculate estimated ABV. Alternatively, there are a bunch of calculators online where you can type in your start + end values (and if you need, a way to convert the potential ABV reading or Brix reading to the SG reading).

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  • Good point. Only pay attention to the ABV indication in unfermented wort/must. Aug 3, 2023 at 16:03

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