How To Calculate ABV

How To Calculate ABV

Calculating the alcohol by volume (ABV) of beer using a hydrometer involves measuring the specific gravity of the beer before and after fermentation. Here's a step-by-step guide to calculating ABV using a hydrometer:

1. Take Original Gravity (OG) Reading:

  • Before pitching the yeast, take a hydrometer reading of the wort. This reading is known as the original gravity (OG) and represents the density of sugars in the wort before fermentation.

  • Fill a sanitized hydrometer jar or sample tube with a sample of the wort. Spin the hydrometer gently to dislodge any air bubbles, then insert it into the sample. The hydrometer will float and indicate a specific gravity value on its scale.

  • Record the specific gravity reading. This value represents the OG of the beer.

2. Take Final Gravity (FG) Reading:

  • Once fermentation is complete (typically after 1-2 weeks), take another hydrometer reading of the fermented beer. This reading is known as the final gravity (FG) and represents the density of the beer after fermentation.

  • Follow the same procedure as before to obtain a hydrometer reading of the beer in the fermenter. Record the specific gravity reading.

3. Calculate ABV:

  • Use the following formula to calculate the ABV of the beer:

                 ABV = (Original Gravity - Final Gravity) * 131.25

  • Subtract the final gravity (FG) from the original gravity (OG), then divide the result by 0.0075. This constant factor accounts for the density difference between alcohol and water and provides the ABV as a percentage.


  • Suppose the OG of the beer is 1.050 and the FG is 1.010.
  • Calculate the difference: 1.0501.010=0.040
  • Divide by 0.0075: 0.040÷0.0075=5.33
  • The ABV of the beer is approximately 5.33% alcohol by volume.


  • Ensure the hydrometer and all equipment are properly sanitized to prevent contamination.
  • Take hydrometer readings at the same temperature each time to maintain consistency. Adjust readings using a temperature correction chart if necessary.
  • Allow the beer to ferment fully before taking FG readings to ensure accuracy.
  • Keep detailed brewing notes to track OG, FG, and ABV for each batch of beer.

By following these steps and calculations, you can accurately determine the alcohol by volume (ABV) of your homebrewed beer using a hydrometer. Cheers to successful brewing!

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