Author Topic: recommendations for measuring alcohol content?  (Read 2447 times)

Offline alaingomez

  • Cellarman
  • **
  • Posts: 28
    • View Profile
recommendations for measuring alcohol content?
« on: August 16, 2012, 02:14:41 AM »
What's better to use?  A refractometer or hydrometer?  Which is easier?

Any good brands you'd like to recommend?

Offline Kaiser

  • Global Moderator
  • Senior Brewmaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 1797
  • Imperial Brewing Geek
    • View Profile
    • braukaiser.com
Re: recommendations for measuring alcohol content?
« Reply #1 on: August 16, 2012, 05:15:55 AM »
A hydrometer will be your primary tool for OG and FG measurements. A refractometer is a nice way to get quick measurements. But there have been numerous accounts where the conversion of a refractometer reading to a hydrometer reading for beer did not work as expected.

I use a refractometer to keep track of gravities during the brew day but use a hydrometer for the OG measurement of the produced wort and during the fermentation process.

Kai

Offline davidgzach

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1659
    • View Profile
Re: recommendations for measuring alcohol content?
« Reply #2 on: August 16, 2012, 05:21:51 AM »
My refractometer works well for OG but you need to convert FG readings using a formula and I find it's still off.  So I use a hydrometer for FG readings.

Dave
Dave Zach

Offline alaingomez

  • Cellarman
  • **
  • Posts: 28
    • View Profile
Re: recommendations for measuring alcohol content?
« Reply #3 on: August 19, 2012, 12:51:45 AM »
What's OG and FG?

Sorry, I'm a total newbie at this still.  I've only brewed three batches so some of the terms are still unfamiliar to me.

Online tschmidlin

  • I must live here
  • **********
  • Posts: 8197
  • Redmond, WA
    • View Profile
Re: recommendations for measuring alcohol content?
« Reply #4 on: August 19, 2012, 01:33:25 AM »
Original Gravity and Final Gravity - specific gravity is what you measure with a hydrometer, before you pitch your yeast we call it OG, at the end of fermentation we call it FG, but at any point it can be called SG.
Tom Schmidlin

Offline a10t2

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 3833
  • Ask me why I don't like Chico!
    • View Profile
    • SeanTerrill.com
Re: recommendations for measuring alcohol content?
« Reply #5 on: August 19, 2012, 06:54:06 AM »
Sorry, I'm a total newbie at this still.

How to Brew. Read it, learn it, love it.

Also just to be clear, you don't actually need to *measure* alcohol content, right? That would require a gas chromatograph. Estimating alcohol content using specific gravity readings can get you pretty close, though.
Sent from my Microsoft Bob

Beer is like porn. You can buy it, but it's more fun to make your own.
seanterrill.com/category/brewing | twomilebrewing.com

Offline alaingomez

  • Cellarman
  • **
  • Posts: 28
    • View Profile
Re: recommendations for measuring alcohol content?
« Reply #6 on: August 22, 2012, 02:47:20 AM »
Lol.  Yes I did know that you measure the sugar, not the actual alcohol.

I'll check that book out.  I've been reading through the Brooklyn Brew Shop's Beer Making guide.  Pretty decent overview of basic concepts.

So if I were to get just a refractometer, I would be able to at least ballpark my ABV?

Offline a10t2

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 3833
  • Ask me why I don't like Chico!
    • View Profile
    • SeanTerrill.com
Re: recommendations for measuring alcohol content?
« Reply #7 on: August 22, 2012, 04:50:50 AM »
So if I were to get just a refractometer, I would be able to at least ballpark my ABV?

Right. http://seanterrill.com/2012/01/06/refractometer-calculator/
Sent from my Microsoft Bob

Beer is like porn. You can buy it, but it's more fun to make your own.
seanterrill.com/category/brewing | twomilebrewing.com

Offline alaingomez

  • Cellarman
  • **
  • Posts: 28
    • View Profile
Re: recommendations for measuring alcohol content?
« Reply #8 on: August 26, 2012, 01:06:29 AM »
Sweet!  That makes it a heckuvalot easier.