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PaddyBrew2

Refractometers

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Posted (edited)

Any use? my coopers hydrometer is pretty poor. its consistent at reading 20 degree water at 0.07 i'll give it that, but i dont want to be doing maths every time i check the gravity. plus checking gravity over 2 days can lead to a nice little dent in your supply

now with refractometers, ive been reading that you only need a little drop and it gives you an instant reading. no maths, no wastage. ( i understand that OG still may be a little off due to a number of variable like clumping etc)

Edited by PaddyBrew2

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I don’t have one but it’s on my list. For me personally I would only use it on my brewing day to check pre boil and post boil numbers to see how I’m travelling and to check my starting gravity. 

I would use my trusty hydrometer during fermentation because once fermentation starts and you have alcohol present the reading can be unreliable using a refractometer. But saying that there are some online calculators the can help get a more accurate reading if you want to use a refractometer. 

Beer Baron

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Sorry mate, but if you're using a refractometer to test FG then you will need maths again 😜. As above, the alcohol in the beer skews the readings. I don't have one either and have no want for one, I might use 300mL of beer taking hydrometer readings but the volume gets returned via the water I use with my finings added during the cold crash. Yes it would drop the ABV slightly but meh, the beer still tastes great.

I bought a Stevenson Reeves hydrometer from the UK that has been excellent. It does read slightly out as well at 0.998 in 20C water, but I'm not about to go and spend more money just to save adding 0.002 to every reading.

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Ahhhh so it doesn’t test FG ?

back I go to starsanning my pocket calculator in that case 

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Posted (edited)

Well it does but you need to put the reading into a calculator that takes into account the OG and the skewed FG reading which then spits out the true FG reading. It's probably more of a PITA than using a hydrometer though.

I can see how they'd be helpful on brew days, although I have worked out a system that allows me to take hydrometer samples without really wasting any of the wort, so again no need for a refractometer. 😁

Edited by Otto Von Blotto

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I use one and Great for pre and post boil gravity but fg i use hydrometer.

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4 hours ago, Titan said:

I use one and Great for pre and post boil gravity.

I just ordered a cheapo one from eBay for this very reason. That way i won't have to wait like 30 minutes for a sample to cool down for a hydro test

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Can understand the time waiting for samples to cool. I take my pre boil samples when I remove the false bottom before bringing to the boil and put them in the fridge. By the time the wort is boiling, the sample has cooled enough for a reading which I take and then tip the wort back in to the boil, minus the crap that settled out while it was cooling. 

Post boil I fill the cube then drain some dregs into a Pyrex jug and let it sit on the bench. Once the crap settles out, it's cool enough to tip enough clear wort into the testing jar to take the reading. Since the cube is already full, no wort is wasted because the dregs are full of break material and only get tipped down the sink anyway. 

However, everyone has their own methods that work for them, no way is the wrong way.

Cheers

Kelsey

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On 5/16/2018 at 9:12 AM, PaddyBrew2 said:

Any use? my coopers hydrometer is pretty poor. its consistent at reading 20 degree water at 0.07 i'll give it that, but i dont want to be doing maths every time i check the gravity. plus checking gravity over 2 days can lead to a nice little dent in your supply

now with refractometers, ive been reading that you only need a little drop and it gives you an instant reading. no maths, no wastage. ( i understand that OG still may be a little off due to a number of variable like clumping etc)

I did buy one from ebay and it was not expensive less then 30$.  After I got it I found that it had to be calibrated for wort because of color they were meant for clear sugar solutions hence the main scale is in BRIX and it has a secondary scale SpGr.  So to solve the calibration problem I found this Refractometer Calculator and link:   https://www.brewersfriend.com/refractometer-calculator/  as you read it, it  leads to this link that requires you to enter the SpGr for a sample and the corresponding Refractometer reading then it will calculate for you the correction factor for the unit you have purchased,   Link:  https://www.brewersfriend.com/how-to-determine-your-refractometers-wort-correction-factor/    

I find it is quit handy I use it for the initial reading and then wait for the active fermentation to subside and take a reading with 3 drops and keep checking until there is no change for several days.  As for the problem with an incorrectly reading Hydrometer the error should cancel its self. 

Ray

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I used my new refractometer for the first time today and i must say that it is great! Absolutely perfect for brewday and so easy to use

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