My dad always made wine every year. His wine could knock you off your feet lol. I have never really paid attention to him while he made his wine. He died in 1987 so I won`t be able to now. How did he get his wine so strong?
Well there is an obvious limit to how much alcohol wines can take unless it has additional alcohol added to it. Also, some wines, although they have the same alcohol content, tend to be stronger. Not quite sure why that is!
My friend's aunt taught her to make wine the year before she died. The aunt lived in Cuba where supplies are limited. She would make wine with whatever fruit was available, water, yeast and sugar. I don't really know the exact measurements of each, but it is more a going by feel. Her wines are always super strong for my taste. I believe it is the sugar what makes the alcohol stronger. They are almost like ports.
Typically 12% is my target ABV . 2+ lbs of sugar including the sugar in the juice per gallon gives you about that.I made some 20% jungle juice one time but found a warning label alone was not enough to save my brethren from the degradation of praying to the porcelian goddess.I've made some Michaels hardly lemonade @ around 8% and found it needed no ageing.
Indeed the hydrometer seems complex till done acouple times, but over my experience I have noticed to increase the alcohol level to my states max of 15% by volume with 25% (50 proof) over all is by not using bread yeast that dies off at 12% but wine yeast which in right conditions can live up to 17% and of course enough sugar but thats now days, my grandfather always threw in a handfull of corn (dont know if it was sprouted or not) when he would siphon from the primary fermentation to the carboy secondary fermentation container then did a brix test to see if sugar was needed (rarely) unless playing with the recipe and his wine would defiantly knock you off your feet just after 1 glass, dont know how states laws was back in the 80's but his recipe he claimed was his fathers from the old country (Italian).