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General Category => General Homebrew Discussion => Topic started by: madscientist on March 17, 2011, 12:42:21 PM

Title: I broke my hydrometer...
Post by: madscientist on March 17, 2011, 12:42:21 PM
I left it in my drying rack by the sink and i went to put it away and it fell right out of my hand onto the floor.  I was pissed.  The new one's already been ordered, but i have a batch fermenting that should be done by sunday, so now I guess I have to rely on taste to determine if it's ready?
Title: Re: I broke my hydrometer...
Post by: tumarkin on March 17, 2011, 12:46:16 PM
are you a member of a home brew club? or do you have any homebrewing friends? maybe you can borrow one.

or simply just give it more time. leave it for another week, swirl it occasionally, raise the temp just a little bit. patience furthers, and remember.... it wants to be beer.
Title: Re: I broke my hydrometer...
Post by: kgs on March 17, 2011, 01:01:06 PM
are you a member of a home brew club? or do you have any homebrewing friends? maybe you can borrow one.

or simply just give it more time. leave it for another week, swirl it occasionally, raise the temp just a little bit. patience furthers, and remember.... it wants to be beer.

I don't know if this is ideal process but the longer I homebrew (over 2 years now) the less I am inclined to mess with fermenting wort. The first few batches I measured almost every day. Now, unless I have a concern about what is or isn't happening; I measure at points along the brew session so I can learn from my brewing process, then one last time before I pitch yeast, and then I don't touch it until I think it's ready to bottle or I'm opening the fermenter anyway to dry-hop. I trust my eyes, the calendar, the recipe, and any associated knowledge related to the recipe.

My non-evidence-driven theory is that as much as possible I shouldn't be disturbing the cushion of CO2 on top f the beer which keeps the oxygen away. The only evidence is that my beer keeps getting better, which after 2 years is a good thing :-)

That said, why aren't there plastic hydrometers? Oh, and the best way to prevent a broken hydrometer is to buy a spare.
Title: Re: I broke my hydrometer...
Post by: tygo on March 17, 2011, 01:14:09 PM
Oh, and the best way to prevent a broken hydrometer is to buy a spare.

This
Title: Re: I broke my hydrometer...
Post by: corkybstewart on March 17, 2011, 01:16:09 PM
Whenever I'm down to one hydrometer I order 2 more because I know the one I have is doomed.
Title: Re: I broke my hydrometer...
Post by: saintpierre on March 17, 2011, 01:16:24 PM
Unfortunately that will not be the last hydrometer you break.

Can you get away with letting it sit in the carboy a little longer? If you are worried about over fermenting you could crash cool it...
Title: Re: I broke my hydrometer...
Post by: Pawtucket Patriot on March 17, 2011, 01:18:27 PM
After breaking three glass hydrometers in a year, I ponied up a little more $$ for a nalgene lab hydrometer. Haven't broken it in almost 4 years (KOW).

http://www.nalgenelabware.com/products/productDetail.asp?product_id=156&subcategory_id=150&category_id=150&brand_name=Labware&category_name=Hydrometers&subcategory_name=
Title: Re: I broke my hydrometer...
Post by: Hokerer on March 17, 2011, 01:39:32 PM
After breaking three glass hydrometers in a year, I ponied up a little more $$ for a nalgene lab hydrometer. Haven't broken it in almost 4 years (KOW).

http://www.nalgenelabware.com/products/productDetail.asp?product_id=156&subcategory_id=150&category_id=150&brand_name=Labware&category_name=Hydrometers&subcategory_name=

Bummer...

"Product 3630-1000 is obsolete and can no longer be purchased."
Title: Re: I broke my hydrometer...
Post by: Pawtucket Patriot on March 17, 2011, 01:43:11 PM
I just noticed that. Looks like no one sells them anymore. Weird. I hope it's not because they weren't providing accurate readings!!  

Edit: I was able to find a few places that still sell nalgene hydrometers. Unfortunately, they've gotten even pricier than they were before, like $89+!
Title: Re: I broke my hydrometer...
Post by: morticaixavier on March 17, 2011, 03:02:58 PM
I left it in my drying rack by the sink and i went to put it away and it fell right out of my hand onto the floor.  I was pissed.  The new one's already been ordered, but i have a batch fermenting that should be done by sunday, so now I guess I have to rely on taste to determine if it's ready?

Don't worry about it. Let it ride. As Denny says 'the beer makes the schedule, not the calendar'.

and it's okay if the broken hydrometer makes the delays in the calendar. I regularly leave my beers for several weeks after fermentation is completely over just cause it takes me that long to get around to bottling. Wait till your new one arrives and take a reading then
Title: Re: I broke my hydrometer...
Post by: maxieboy on March 17, 2011, 03:11:57 PM
Wasn't gonna post but I still have my original and only hydrometer, 11 yrs old. Now I'm jinxed...
Title: Re: I broke my hydrometer...
Post by: tygo on March 17, 2011, 04:20:23 PM
Wasn't gonna post but I still have my original and only hydrometer, 11 yrs old. Now I'm jinxed...

Yep, that wasn't wise.  Go buy another one now.
Title: Re: I broke my hydrometer...
Post by: madscientist on March 17, 2011, 05:05:21 PM
I do have a friend I could probably borrow a hydrometer from, if  I need it.  I wanted to dry hop this on sunday, I can still do that and wait for the hydrometer, right? 

Thanks for the input and advice.  I figure i'm bound to break several more.  I should have known based on my reputation with glass..
Title: Re: I broke my hydrometer...
Post by: richardt on March 17, 2011, 05:15:34 PM
Two separate issues
1.) is fermentation done?  Wait until you've got the hydrometer (or borrow one) and get your reading.  If you've reached your FG (whether determined by estimate or FFT), then you're ready to go to step 2.
2.)  Chill and clear the beer by putting the fermentor in the fridge (if possible).  After a few days, rack the bright beer off the yeast into another container (e.g., a corny keg) and dry hop. 

If you dry hop in the original fermentor, you risk the yeast adsorbing a lot of the hop resins/oils and they won't end up in your beer.

It also allows you to reuse your yeast cake (w/o hops affecting the flavor of the next batch).
Title: Re: I broke my hydrometer...
Post by: SiameseMoose on March 17, 2011, 08:08:45 PM
If it's glass, I have two (minimum). Glass doesn't bounce.
Title: Re: I broke my hydrometer...
Post by: chumley on March 17, 2011, 08:13:03 PM
Believe it or not, some of us don't take hydrometer readings anymore.  Kind of what happens after brewing for 20 years.  :D
Title: Re: I broke my hydrometer...
Post by: maxieboy on March 17, 2011, 08:21:45 PM
Believe it or not, some of us don't take hydrometer readings anymore.  Kind of what happens after brewing for 20 years.  :D

The FIRST time I DIDN'T in 11 yrs, turns out the fermentation had stalled and I racked off the yeast! ! Took a reading in secondary before kegging and discovered it. Got some slurry from the microbrewery and was able to get it to finish. Lesson learned...
Title: Re: I broke my hydrometer...
Post by: weazletoe on March 17, 2011, 08:35:23 PM
There is a club for brewers that have broken a hyhdrometer. It's called everybody. We meet at thebar.   ;D
Title: Re: I broke my hydrometer...
Post by: Hokerer on March 17, 2011, 08:36:27 PM
If it's glass, I have two (minimum). Glass doesn't bounce.

And then, once you have the spare, you'll never break the first one.  On the other hand, if you don't have the spare, you'll break the first one in a heartbeat.
Title: Re: I broke my hydrometer...
Post by: jeffy on March 17, 2011, 09:25:43 PM
"If you dry hop in the original fermentor, you risk the yeast adsorbing a lot of the hop resins/oils and they won't end up in your beer."

I've never heard this before.  Why or how would yeast at the bottom of the primary absorb hop resins/oils in the beer above it?