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General Category => Equipment and Software => Topic started by: Bret on April 04, 2011, 07:00:40 pm

Title: Best Hydrometer?
Post by: Bret on April 04, 2011, 07:00:40 pm
I have been having issues which lead me to believe mine is inaccurate, plus it is hard to read.  Any thoughts?
Title: Re: Best Hydrometer?
Post by: tschmidlin on April 04, 2011, 07:17:17 pm
Have you measured water with it?  It should read 1.000 at 60F (or 68F, depends on the brand).
Title: Re: Best Hydrometer?
Post by: Bret on April 04, 2011, 08:33:11 pm
Just did this, Tom, and it reads accurately.  I guess I need reading glasses.  Still interested in what everyone thinks, though.  Is any brand easier to read?
Title: Re: Best Hydrometer?
Post by: tschmidlin on April 04, 2011, 08:54:14 pm
I don't have experience with any particular brand, whenever I break mine I just get whatever triple scale hydrometer is available.  They all seem about the same to me in terms of readability.  You might consider narrow range hydrometers, they are supposed to be easier to read but I haven't used them.  And they're more expensive, and you need more than one, but many come with a built in thermometer.

http://morebeer.com/search/102224

Title: Re: Best Hydrometer?
Post by: denny on April 04, 2011, 08:56:10 pm
but many come with a built in thermometer.

I love those!  Mine not only has a built in thermometer, alongside the temp scale there's also a correction listing that tells you how much to add or subtract.
Title: Re: Best Hydrometer?
Post by: a10t2 on April 04, 2011, 11:24:15 pm
Since I've been worrying about reading FGs precisely recently, I got a narrow-range -5 to +5 Brix hydrometer. It's graduated to 0.1°Bx, and can actually be read down to 0.05°Bx (~0.0002 SG). For OG readings you can use the cheap triple-scale hydrometer, since a variation of a "point" or two isn't as much of a concern, or use a refractometer.
Title: Re: Best Hydrometer?
Post by: bluesman on April 04, 2011, 11:31:40 pm
I'm not sure of the brand name for mine but I do keep a backup "just in case". Better safe than sorry is my motto.

I do know it's a triple scale and calibrate it every so often to make sure it's doing it's job accurately.
Title: Re: Best Hydrometer?
Post by: maxieboy on April 05, 2011, 01:42:44 pm
Best one? The one that you use.
Title: Re: Best Hydrometer?
Post by: Will's Swill on April 06, 2011, 01:26:30 am


I love those!  Mine not only has a built in thermometer, alongside the temp scale there's also a correction listing that tells you how much to add or subtract.

Oh man, no way I'd be able to read the corrections.  I can barely read the scale...  :P
Title: Re: Best Hydrometer?
Post by: ckpash88 on April 09, 2011, 05:15:45 am
So I am lost with reading my hydrometer i made a gallon batch of beer put it 6 pounds of light dme and a extra pound of corn sugar i took a initial reading and i got a reading of 1.070 does that mean i really have possibity of this beer being 9.3 abv if i read the chart right?

Would a refractometer be a good investment? At a quick glance how does one of those work? Are they better then a hydrometer?

I am asking this because in the past i just let it keep fermenting till it stops bubbling but i now want to be more accurate and have more consistancy.
Title: Re: Best Hydrometer?
Post by: ckpash88 on April 09, 2011, 06:15:10 am
*5 gallon batch
Title: Re: Best Hydrometer?
Post by: tschmidlin on April 09, 2011, 06:20:18 am
How many gallons?  Not "a" gallon, right?  Beersmith tells me it's 4.4 gallons to get 1.070 with those ingredients. <edit, ok, saw your correction>

Anyway, why do you think it will get to 9.3 ABV?  I get 6.8, assuming a "normal" attenuative yeast.  To get to 9.3% you'd have to get it down to 1.000, which won't happen with the extract.  By the chart, I assume you mean the "potential alcohol"?  Ignore it, it's useless.  It all depends on the attenuation you get from your yeast, assume 75% until you get some numbers to back it up.

At this point, I don't think you need a refractometer.  The main advantage is the small sample you need for measuring gravity, you've got other things to spend your money on.  Other than that and the speed of cooling a smaller sample, they are in no way better than a refractometer in my opinion.
Title: Re: Best Hydrometer?
Post by: beveragebob on April 09, 2011, 07:15:31 am
I like the ones with the metal ballast. Super heat tolerant so you can read your pre wort boil gravity. Just need to compensate for the temp at reading and your golden. Needless to say, I busted mine last year and need to get a new one. I've brewed a few times to know where I can pretty much nail my OG within 1 or 2 points but, I miss that piece of equipment.
Title: Re: Best Hydrometer?
Post by: BrewArk on April 09, 2011, 04:00:40 pm
I'd prefer one that isn't made of glass.  But that gets expensive:
http://www.coleparmer.com/catalog/product_view.asp?sku=0826500 (http://www.coleparmer.com/catalog/product_view.asp?sku=0826500)
Title: Re: Best Hydrometer?
Post by: a10t2 on April 10, 2011, 02:00:44 am
It's worth mentioning that when brewing with extract and/or sugar, there's no real need to take an OG reading, as long as you can measure the volume of the wort and the weight of the extract/sugar accurately. You can simply calculate the gravity.

In all-grain brewing, a refractometer is handy because you can take very quick pre- and mid-boil gravity readings. In an extract beer, you know that you'll always hit your target OG, so that isn't really a concern.
Title: Re: Best Hydrometer?
Post by: ckpash88 on April 20, 2011, 01:56:15 am
So can you take a gravity reading after you carbonate it. B/c when i made this batch i screwed up so many times b/c i was super ADD and i didnt care what the abv was i just knew it was going to be over 6%. Now i am interested it figuring it out for the sake of learning
Title: Re: Best Hydrometer?
Post by: a10t2 on April 20, 2011, 02:37:26 am
Sure, you just need to de-gas it. Put the sample in a sealed container, shake it around for a few seconds, vent the lid, and repeat until no more gas comes out.