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Adding sugar to increase alcohol. Chaptalization
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Calculate how much sugar to add to increase the alcohol in wine


This page is for people who make wine where the original amount of sugar is not sufficient to make a storable wine (minimum 10% per volume) and therefore it is necesary to add sugar (chapitalise). There are dozens of web pages talking about this subject in great depth. The calculator on this page will enable you to make a fairly rough calculation accurate to within 1% alcohol by volume (ABV). I am not a great expert on this subject I just want a quick solution. 2 years ago I made a pear wine that was really strong, it must have been near 15% alcohol, the first couple of times I drank it resulted in a crazy evening for my guests and myself. I won't go into details, it was a lot of fun but it is not good to go over the top too often. This year I made 60 litres of blackberry wine and it has come out too weak. It feels about 6% ABV. So I have designed this calculator so that in the future I can have a good idea of how much sugar to add.
I do actually own a hydrometer but there are many disadvantages. Wine has to be taken out of the batch and the hydrometer and measuring container has to be sterilised. It is much easier to use a refractometer. Just put a couple of drops of the must on the plate, look through the lens and hey presto it tells you the potential ABV. It is so easy. Mine cost about 50 euros. It was a very good investment, I also use it to decide when to harvest my grapes. If you don't have a refractometer but you do have a hydrometer you will have to do this calculation before you use this calculator. The basic formula is ABV = (OG - FG) * 131.25 - OG means Original Gravity and FG means Final Gravity. If you want totally dry wine then the FG will be 1.000. Let's say your must is 1.080 and you want a very dry wine. The ABV will be (80 X 131.25) which is 10.5%. You can then use the 10.5% figure in this calculator.

I have looked at lots of web pages on this subject and it seems that the amount of alcohol you get from adding a given amount of sugar is quite variable. The easiest way to understand and compare the addition of sugar is to think of the amount of grams per litre required to increase the ABV by 1%. I have seen estimates from anywhere between 16g per litre to 21g per litre. Maybe the big differences are due to the fact that it is actually quite difficult to measure the amount of alcohol in a wine unless you have expensive equipment and most people don't know for certain. In my case I just want a wine where I can have 3 or 4 glasses, get a bit of a buzz for a while and if I am with friends the conversation will be slightly more animated. The next day I don't want a hangover. For me this is a wine of about 11.5% ABV. That is the goal. For that reason I have chosen the figure of 19.6 grams of sugar to increase the ABV by 1%. It is the average of all the estimates I have seen. By the way I advise you to do the following. Put 2 thirds of the sugar in the must at the start and then store the rest of the sugar in one place. When fermentation slows down add a bit more of the sugar. Keep doing this until all the sugar has been added.
Please fill in the form below with your own values and then click the button to see the results.

Chapitalisation Calculator

Please fill in this form with details of your own wine must.
ABV = Alcohol by volume. Must = The liquid you are making wine from.