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2 pointsI think a nice IV of WildFlower Mead should do your husband good. Also, thanking your son for his service to this great country of ours!
1 pointIt is not as accurate as hydrometry as mentioned above....but "good enough" to follow the progress of a fermentation. I have prepared a document describing the process and procedure: See http://www.moundtop.com/fermentation/RBRIX-ATC-Fermentation-Tables.pdf The refractometer approach's biggest problem is that it cannot be used to reliably to indicate dryness (end of fermentation). However, even a hydrometer comes up short here. As an amateur winemaker I rely upon Clinitest tablets to estimate the residual sugar level indicative of dryness. As always, there are many ways to skin this cat.
1 pointYou need the pre-ferment refractometer readings. Then, you can use some estimations/calculations down to the end. Not as accurate as a hydrometer, IMO but many people use it.