Homebrewers Association | AHA Forum

General Category => General Homebrew Discussion => Topic started by: Jimmy K on July 05, 2013, 09:40:23 AM

Title: Refractometer Sale
Post by: Jimmy K on July 05, 2013, 09:40:23 AM
$16 down from $90!
 
http://www.amazon.com/Beer-Wort-Wine-Refractometer-Scale/dp/B006GG0TDK (http://www.amazon.com/Beer-Wort-Wine-Refractometer-Scale/dp/B006GG0TDK)
Title: Re: Refractometer Sale
Post by: SecondRow_Sean on July 05, 2013, 09:52:07 AM
Purchased!
Title: Re: Refractometer Sale
Post by: reverseapachemaster on July 05, 2013, 07:13:25 PM
Really good deal! I love my refractometer. When brewing small batches it's a huge deal to be able to take gravity readings without having to fill the cylinder to take a hydrometer reading.
Title: Re: Refractometer Sale
Post by: HoosierBrew on July 05, 2013, 07:28:17 PM
I've got one but I may get another at that price.  The exact same one I have, and I love mine.
Title: Re: Refractometer Sale
Post by: denny on July 05, 2013, 07:37:47 PM
I would urge you all to check the refractometer against a hydrometer.
Title: Re: Refractometer Sale
Post by: klickitat jim on July 05, 2013, 07:45:02 PM
I use refraction up to the point that the boil is done and chilled then I use hydrometer
Title: Re: Refractometer Sale
Post by: HoosierBrew on July 05, 2013, 07:54:21 PM
I use refraction up to the point that the boil is done and chilled then I use hydrometer
I use mine pre-fermentation only too.  I calibrate mine each time, and check it against my hydrometer pretty regularly.  I know there are conversions for FG readings, but I prefer the old hydrometer there.
Title: Re: Refractometer Sale
Post by: a10t2 on July 05, 2013, 08:04:39 PM
There's also a great article about refractometers in this month's Zymurgy... Coincidence?
Title: Re: Refractometer Sale
Post by: HoosierBrew on July 05, 2013, 08:07:56 PM
Read it.  The author seemed pretty knowledgeable  ;)
Title: Re: Refractometer Sale
Post by: Jimmy K on July 05, 2013, 08:14:00 PM
I would urge you all to check the refractometer against a hydrometer.

Na. I'm just going to walk away and assume it all goes to plan. Sharks with frickin laser beams.

Title: Re: Refractometer Sale
Post by: klickitat jim on July 05, 2013, 08:48:16 PM
I don't have iodine, so for me it's an ok way to check conversion in the mash. I ball park what it ought to be and aim for that. When I'm close with no change in 15 minutes I figure its done. With beers around 1.060 that's usually 60-90 minutes. Strange huh?
Title: Re: Refractometer Sale
Post by: Jimmy K on July 05, 2013, 09:05:19 PM
I don't have iodine, so for me it's an ok way to check conversion in the mash. I ball park what it ought to be and aim for that. When I'm close with no change in 15 minutes I figure its done. With beers around 1.060 that's usually 60-90 minutes. Strange huh?

At a minimum, that is a unique logic flow.

Title: Re: Refractometer Sale
Post by: klickitat jim on July 05, 2013, 09:22:26 PM
For example (I think)
10# of 2 row should be about 370 points
Divided by 5 gallons mash water should be 1.074 max.
80% would be about 1.060 or 15°
So if I hit 15° and stay there 15 min I figure it's converted.

Am I wrong or crazy? Not experienced enough to really know, it's just how I've been doing it.
Title: Re: Refractometer Sale
Post by: erockrph on July 05, 2013, 10:26:32 PM
I've been wanting to add a refractometer to my toolkit for a while now. Thanks for the tip!
Title: Re: Refractometer Sale
Post by: malzig on July 06, 2013, 07:47:53 AM
I've only used a few refractometers, but they have all been accurate to a calibrated Hydrometer.  Most hydrometers that I have owned were inaccurate before calibration.

Be aware that there has long been a problem with many, if not all, dual-scale refractometers that have both an SG and Brix scale.  There has been an ongoing problem where they all seemed to have an incorrect SG scale.  Hopefully that has been fixed, but it may be why they are on sale.
For example (I think)
10# of 2 row should be about 370 points
Divided by 5 gallons mash water should be 1.074 max.
80% would be about 1.060 or 15°
So if I hit 15° and stay there 15 min I figure it's converted.

Am I wrong or crazy? Not experienced enough to really know, it's just how I've been doing it.
The math is wrong, since you don't account for the volume added by the dissolved sugar from the converted grain, but the answer is close enough. 

Max gravity for 10# of base malt in 5 gallons of mash water is probably just under 1.065.  You can figure out your target gravity with a pretty simple formula (I'd change the 37 to a 36 if there is much specialty malt in there):
Max points per gallon from mash = (# of grain*37)/(mash volume in gallons+(0.075 gallons*# of grain))
Title: Re: Refractometer Sale
Post by: HoosierBrew on July 06, 2013, 08:02:42 AM
I have a dual scale, but only use the Brix side.  I get an exact conversion from Brewer's Friend though it's obviously easy to ballpark the SG from Brix.
Title: Re: Refractometer Sale
Post by: klickitat jim on July 06, 2013, 12:24:46 PM
The math is wrong, since you don't account for the volume added by the dissolved sugar from the converted grain, but the answer is close enough. 

Max gravity for 10# of base malt in 5 gallons of mash water is probably just under 1.065.  You can figure out your target gravity with a pretty simple formula (I'd change the 37 to a 36 if there is much specialty malt in there):
Max points per gallon from mash = (# of grain*37)/(mash volume in gallons+(0.075 gallons*# of grain))
[/quote]

Thanks Denny. That will go in my notebook. And using your formula I was off by half a brix
Title: Re: Refractometer Sale
Post by: malzig on July 07, 2013, 06:26:55 AM
Thanks Denny. That will go in my notebook. And using your formula I was off by half a brix
People don't usually call me Denny ;)

Your formula actually works darn well as a quick estimate.  It could work really well if you wanted a number you could calculate on the fly.  Basically your 80% factor makes a pretty decent estimate of the dilution effect for that grain bill, though I'm just not sure where it comes from.  It will probably become less predictive if you diverge from 2 qt/# mash thickness, but it will often get you within a brix or so.  The other formula is pretty quick to calculate, too, but it's tougher to do in your head.

I just gave you the other formula so you could see the logic used to make the calculation and get a more accurate estimate, if you want one.
Title: Re: Refractometer Sale
Post by: klickitat jim on July 07, 2013, 07:09:44 AM
malzig
[/quote]People don't usually call me Denny ;)

Oooops
Title: Re: Refractometer Sale
Post by: ncbluesman on July 07, 2013, 09:27:18 AM
$16 down from $90!
 
http://www.amazon.com/Beer-Wort-Wine-Refractometer-Scale/dp/B006GG0TDK (http://www.amazon.com/Beer-Wort-Wine-Refractometer-Scale/dp/B006GG0TDK)

Thanks, mtnrockhopper.  I got one! Great deal.
Title: Re: Refractometer Sale
Post by: jds357 on July 07, 2013, 11:59:51 AM
Great post.  I got one too. lol
Title: Re: Refractometer Sale
Post by: beersk on July 08, 2013, 11:43:32 AM
That refractometer sure didn't get very positive reviews. Kind of apprehensive after reading some of those. Usually there's one or two bad reviews, but that one has quite a few.
Title: Re: Refractometer Sale
Post by: Jimmy K on July 08, 2013, 11:47:20 AM
That refractometer sure didn't get very positive reviews. Kind of apprehensive after reading some of those. Usually there's one or two bad reviews, but that one has quite a few.
All the bad reviews I read were either the SG scale wasn't accurate or they shipped a brix only refractometer instead. I will only use the brix side, which solves both problems. If brix isn't accurate I'm sending it back.
Title: Re: Refractometer Sale
Post by: jds357 on July 08, 2013, 11:58:31 AM
That refractometer sure didn't get very positive reviews. Kind of apprehensive after reading some of those. Usually there's one or two bad reviews, but that one has quite a few.

I was reading reviews that mainly said things about the order being wrong or the refractometer not coming with a hard case.  For $20, its pretty hard to beat.  I'll also send it back if it's not what was specified.
Title: Re: Refractometer Sale
Post by: beersk on July 08, 2013, 01:47:27 PM
Good luck, fellas! The only reason I'd want one is for pre-boil gravity readings. Otherwise, I'm fine using a hydrometer for my OG readings.
Title: Re: Refractometer Sale
Post by: morticaixavier on July 08, 2013, 02:21:14 PM
That refractometer sure didn't get very positive reviews. Kind of apprehensive after reading some of those. Usually there's one or two bad reviews, but that one has quite a few.

I don't know, there are like 7 bad reviews and 23 really good ones. let's assume the guy selling it has added half the good reviews there are still almost twice as many 5 star reviews as 1 star. Time will tell.
Title: Re: Refractometer Sale
Post by: HoosierBrew on July 08, 2013, 03:10:08 PM
I'm almost positive it's the same one I have, and I'm pretty pleased with it (bought another @ that price).  I check the calibration before each brew day, and since some refractometers are notorious for giving inconsistent readings from a given sample, I take multiple readings from any sample I take. Gotta say, it's pretty consistent .  I love it.  But as previously posted, I use it for pre-fermentation readings and a hydrometer for FG.
Title: Re: Refractometer Sale
Post by: erockrph on July 08, 2013, 03:37:50 PM
Good luck, fellas! The only reason I'd want one is for pre-boil gravity readings. Otherwise, I'm fine using a hydrometer for my OG readings.

FWIW - that's pretty much what I intend to use it for. I also rarely take gravity readings mid-fermentation since I brew smaller batches. I'll probably be more willing to check on beers every once in a while if I can just take a refractometer sample instead of a full hydro sample. Personally, I'm just looking for another tool in my arsenal rather than a hydrometer replacement.
Title: Re: Refractometer Sale
Post by: beersk on July 08, 2013, 07:06:50 PM
Good luck, fellas! The only reason I'd want one is for pre-boil gravity readings. Otherwise, I'm fine using a hydrometer for my OG readings.

FWIW - that's pretty much what I intend to use it for. I also rarely take gravity readings mid-fermentation since I brew smaller batches. I'll probably be more willing to check on beers every once in a while if I can just take a refractometer sample instead of a full hydro sample. Personally, I'm just looking for another tool in my arsenal rather than a hydrometer replacement.
Fair enough. How small of batches do you brew? One gallon? Small batches are cool, I've settled on 4 gallon batches. Three gallons might be even better because turn over is much faster, but sometimes it's just not enough, especially if I'm taking a lot of growlers to parties.
Title: Re: Refractometer Sale
Post by: udubdawg on July 09, 2013, 06:36:39 AM
I've bought and been very happy with this exact one.  I probably use my 0-40 Brix refractometer more often since that's what I use for mead but it's good to have the backup. 
Title: Re: Refractometer Sale
Post by: erockrph on July 09, 2013, 08:22:20 AM
Fair enough. How small of batches do you brew? One gallon? Small batches are cool, I've settled on 4 gallon batches. Three gallons might be even better because turn over is much faster, but sometimes it's just not enough, especially if I'm taking a lot of growlers to parties.

Most of my batches net about a case of bottles once you factor in dry hops and so on. Test batches are generally 1 gallon preboil. Meads and such are typically 2 gallons or less. A couple of times a year I will split off a gallon from a batch for extended aging on Brett as well.
Title: Re: Refractometer Sale
Post by: drjones on July 09, 2013, 09:22:43 AM
Lately I've been doing mostly 6 gallon batches split into two three gallon fermenters to experiment with different yeasts.  Greater variety of beer for essentially the same effort, and I'm learning more.

Re. refractometers - the one on amazon looks identical to one I picked up last year (for twice the price!), though mine came in a soft case and did not include the adjustment screwdriver.  I've been very pleased with it.  I'll have to check the gravity scale against the Brix reading using another calculator sometime, but I have had no reason to believe it is inaccurate.  The main reason I went to the refractometer is that I was sick of breaking hydrometers - when it was starting to cost more than a new refractometer at $50, I made the plunge and have had no regrets.  The adjusted FG calculated by the Beersmith refractometer tool appears to give very reasonable numbers - but this, too, should be checked against the hydrometer - maybe someday when I'm feeling less lazy.
Title: Re: Refractometer Sale
Post by: Delo on July 09, 2013, 09:28:06 AM
My wife bought me a refractometer for Christmas a few years ago. I dont know where she bought it, but I'm  pretty sure its this exact one. It looks pretty much the same as the photo. It works well, but I never really checked the gravity scale. Reading the reviews, it does looks like there may have been some bogus ones sold from somewhere. It looks like several places sell this one.  and for ones that are not exactly whats listed, maybe amazon's listing didnt match what was actually being sold, which has happened to me twice in the past year from amazon.  Both times the listings were wrong for what I ordered, Amazon was good at exchanging/refunding.  As far as refractometers, I still use my hydrometer for most measuring.  Maybe thats why I havent found it to be off.
Title: Re: Refractometer Sale
Post by: drjones on July 09, 2013, 08:09:06 PM
OK, something funny may in fact be going on with the Brix-SG scale in the dual scale refractometer I have.  The side to side scales look good until you hit the 15 Brix range.  15 Brix~1.058 on the refractometer's scale (with nothing on the plate) - should be closer to 1.061 (0.28% higher).  20 brix~1.078, should be about 1.083 (0.46% higher).  30 Brix~1.117 - should be 1.129 (1% higher).  I've tended to brew under 1.060 since I've had the refractometer, so nothing really jumped out at me that suggested a problem.  I did just make a mead that read 30 Brix - and in this range I suppose I will not be able to trust the SG readings.  Hopefully the Brix value is at least correct.  I did some quick tests on sugar solutions, but now need to explore that a bit further at higher gravity ranges.
Anyone else's dual scale have similar values?
Title: Re: Refractometer Sale
Post by: malzig on July 10, 2013, 06:04:58 PM
...15 Brix~1.058 on the refractometer's scale (with nothing on the plate) - should be closer to 1.061 (0.28% higher)...
I'd consider that to be off by 5.3%, etc., but I suppose that's semantics. :)
Title: Re: Refractometer Sale
Post by: erockrph on July 10, 2013, 09:24:17 PM
Well, I just got mine in today and everything looks as advertised. Nice case, and the refractometer seems very sturdy. I'm looking forward to testing it out tomorrow.

My only complaint is that the SG scale is way too small for my crappy eyes to read.
Title: Re: Refractometer Sale
Post by: brewmichigan on July 11, 2013, 07:17:31 AM
I got mine yesterday and I needed to calibrate it to 0 right off the bat but I think it'll work well for me so i can check gravities in the boil and out of the mash quickly. Not bad for $22 after shipping.
Title: Re: Refractometer Sale
Post by: morticaixavier on July 11, 2013, 07:48:53 AM
Well, I just got mine in today and everything looks as advertised. Nice case, and the refractometer seems very sturdy. I'm looking forward to testing it out tomorrow.

My only complaint is that the SG scale is way too small for my crappy eyes to read.
Me to. all looks well.

+1 on the sg scale being too small to read.
Title: Re: Refractometer Sale
Post by: Jimmy K on July 11, 2013, 08:21:07 AM
...15 Brix~1.058 on the refractometer's scale (with nothing on the plate) - should be closer to 1.061 (0.28% higher)...
I'd consider that to be off by 5.3%, etc., but I suppose that's semantics. :)

I agree because 1.000 is the baseline, not zero.
Title: Re: Refractometer Sale
Post by: drjones on July 11, 2013, 10:20:26 AM
Quote
...15 Brix~1.058 on the refractometer's scale (with nothing on the plate) - should be closer to 1.061 (0.28% higher)...
I'd consider that to be off by 5.3%, etc., but I suppose that's semantics.
Hmm.  I calculated 1.061/1.058 = 1.0028, so I should instead calculate the change as 0.061/0.058 = 1.0517 (~5.2%)?

Title: Re: Refractometer Sale
Post by: malzig on July 11, 2013, 04:54:58 PM
Quote
...15 Brix~1.058 on the refractometer's scale (with nothing on the plate) - should be closer to 1.061 (0.28% higher)...
I'd consider that to be off by 5.3%, etc., but I suppose that's semantics.
Hmm.  I calculated 1.061/1.058 = 1.0028, so I should instead calculate the change as 0.061/0.058 = 1.0517 (~5.2%)?
I think so, since 1.000 means no sugar, which makes it your baseline.  Effectively, 1.000 is your "0" point.
Title: Re: Refractometer Sale
Post by: rainmaker on July 11, 2013, 07:45:38 PM
Mine showed up today.  Only a soft case, but still quite happy with the purchase
Title: Re: Refractometer Sale
Post by: Jimmy K on July 11, 2013, 07:54:22 PM
Quote
...15 Brix~1.058 on the refractometer's scale (with nothing on the plate) - should be closer to 1.061 (0.28% higher)...
I'd consider that to be off by 5.3%, etc., but I suppose that's semantics.
Hmm.  I calculated 1.061/1.058 = 1.0028, so I should instead calculate the change as 0.061/0.058 = 1.0517 (~5.2%)?
I think so, since 1.000 means no sugar, which makes it your baseline.  Effectively, 1.000 is your "0" point.

Exactly

Sent from my DROID RAZR using Tapatalk 4 Beta

Title: Re: Refractometer Sale
Post by: beersk on July 12, 2013, 10:11:26 AM
Mine showed up today.  Only a soft case, but still quite happy with the purchase
The fact that that detail is inconsistent, keeps me away from the "deal".
Title: Re: Refractometer Sale
Post by: morticaixavier on July 12, 2013, 01:22:07 PM
Mine showed up today.  Only a soft case, but still quite happy with the purchase
The fact that that detail is inconsistent, keeps me away from the "deal".

I bet if you read the fine print is says that another product will be substituted if supply requires. I got the hardcase and cloth and all just like in the picture.