Author Topic: Digital refractometer  (Read 3564 times)

Offline ccfoo242

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Digital refractometer
« on: December 03, 2012, 07:06:20 AM »
I broke my hydrometer yesterday and while searching for a replacement I saw this digital refractometer:

http://www.amazon.com/Milwaukee-Refractometer-Automatic-Compensation-Resolution/dp/B007Z4IN58/ref=sr_1_10?ie=UTF8&qid=1354542394&sr=8-10&keywords=beer+hydrometer

Does anyone have experience with using a digital refractometer? Is this model a piece of crap?

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Offline rob_f

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Re: Digital refractometer
« Reply #1 on: December 03, 2012, 08:12:23 AM »
Far from a piece of crap, that is way overkill for homebrewing.  A purely optical model such as those sold at most homebrew shops will do the job for half the price.  It does look like a nice toy, though.
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Offline ccfoo242

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Re: Digital refractometer
« Reply #2 on: December 03, 2012, 09:08:43 PM »
Well, overkill for homebrewing is in the eye of the beholder.  I like to think I'm spending the money I saved by not buying a sabco system.

I've had problems with using refractometers in the past. Multiple readings giving me multiple results. So I've stuck with the hydrometer.

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Offline gandelf

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Re: Digital refractometer
« Reply #3 on: December 04, 2012, 04:46:03 AM »
Well, overkill for homebrewing is in the eye of the beholder.  I like to think I'm spending the money I saved by not buying a sabco system.

I've had problems with using refractometers in the past. Multiple readings giving me multiple results. So I've stuck with the hydrometer.

Well said; I have one of those and like it. I also have a Milwaukee brand bench pH meter. Both are not required to make beer. If your personal intent is to make beer as cheap as possible; equipment such as this is not for you.

On the other hand;a significant number of individuals who have developed their craft to a high degree. Have a high degree of appreciation for their tools and as a result; have acquired high quality tools. I have my grand father's hand tools he used to make furniture. My son will get them when I can no longer use them. It's how it has been done.

My grandfather made his own wood plane; I made my own stainless steel kettle and automated MIAB rig.
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Offline BrewingRover

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Re: Digital refractometer
« Reply #4 on: December 04, 2012, 05:42:20 AM »
That looks pretty cool, but you'll still need to correct for alcohol content in your finished beer.
It's such a fine line between stupid and clever.

Offline mainebrewer

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Re: Digital refractometer
« Reply #5 on: December 04, 2012, 06:28:21 AM »
I have a digital refractometer, not the brand that the OP referenced but similar.
I've found it works very well and, after comparing a reading from it and a hydrometer for several batches, I've found that the two are always within a gravity point or two of each other.
I don't use the refractometer for the FG reading due to the alcohol.
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Offline ccfoo242

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Re: Re: Digital refractometer
« Reply #6 on: December 04, 2012, 06:50:25 AM »
I have a digital refractometer, not the brand that the OP referenced but similar.
I've found it works very well and, after comparing a reading from it and a hydrometer for several batches, I've found that the two are always within a gravity point or two of each other.
I don't use the refractometer for the FG reading due to the alcohol.

Which model do you have? There's one from Hanna Instruments also on amazon.

Also Sean Terrill's site does a great job at calculating final gravity using a refractometer.

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Offline mainebrewer

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Re: Digital refractometer
« Reply #7 on: December 05, 2012, 06:15:25 AM »
I have the Hanna.
I like to use the refractometer during the brewing process because it's quicker (smaller samples, don't have to wait while the sample cools, etc.)
I've seen Sean's spreadsheet and it works.
I just use the hydrometer for the FG reading because I always have!
Besides, then I can drink the hydrometer sample! 
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Offline ccfoo242

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Re: Re: Digital refractometer
« Reply #8 on: December 05, 2012, 06:50:52 AM »
...then I can drink the hydrometer sample!

You, sir, make a good point!

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Offline redzim

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Re: Digital refractometer
« Reply #9 on: December 29, 2012, 08:26:17 AM »
I have the Hanna.
I like to use the refractometer during the brewing process because it's quicker (smaller samples, don't have to wait while the sample cools, etc.)
I've seen Sean's spreadsheet and it works.
I just use the hydrometer for the FG reading because I always have!
Besides, then I can drink the hydrometer sample!

I have this one http://www.amazon.com/Hanna-Instruments-Digital-Refractometer-Analysis/dp/B002NX0WHI/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1356794437&sr=8-2&keywords=hanna+refractometer

Piece of cake to use during brew day to see how close I'm getting to OG. I used to use it a lot more than I do now though, I guess because my recipes and process have become pretty standardized over the last 2 years.   Probably overkill, there are better things to spend your $166 on... I still go with a trusted hydrometer during fermentation though

I use it more for maple sapping / syrup season.... it's a breeze to carry in the sugar bush and spot check the trees... and you gotta get your syrup to 66 Brix in the boil house... now that's a time of year coming on soon here in upstate NY!

-red

Offline micsager

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Re: Digital refractometer
« Reply #10 on: January 02, 2013, 11:01:34 AM »
Besides, then I can drink the hydrometer sample!

Amen, Brother.  It's the first quality check of all my beers.  The IPA I kegged yesterday tasted very good in the tube.  We'll see once cold and carb'ed. 

Tom, if you're reading this, this is NOT the beer for the competition you may be judging.  Really, it's not.   LOL.

Offline diybrewing

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Re: Digital refractometer
« Reply #11 on: January 14, 2013, 08:18:48 PM »
I have that exact model. I own a malt testing lab and that is what I use. It is fast and accurate. IT is totally overkill but that is the point.
Their are two things you need to be prepared for when you use a digital model. First they are not as rugged as a handheld. We had to send one out because someone dropped it. We always make sure we do not wipe the glass but just soak up the water from it.
Second. In broad daylight it will not read. You will need to just cover it.
Other than that I have never noticed any inaccurracies at all.
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Offline mainebrewer

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Re: Digital refractometer
« Reply #12 on: January 15, 2013, 05:45:30 AM »
When I first got mine, the reading were erratic. I could test the same sample three times and get three readings.
Two things I learned, one, when the instruction say fill the reservoir full, it means completely full, not just covering the little glass window and two, after filling the reservoir wait 30 secs and let the temp stabilize before hitting the READ button.
Using the default correction factor built into ProMash, I am always within 1 gravity point of my hydrometer.
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Offline svejk

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Re: Digital refractometer
« Reply #13 on: January 15, 2013, 02:38:53 PM »
A friend pointed out that a digital refractometer is actually very inexpensive and practical afterall:

http://www.amazon.com/SBS-SBS-3500-Digital-Hydrometer-0-000-3-0000/dp/B006M49LNA/ref=sr_1_8?ie=UTF8&qid=1358269917

Offline ccfoo242

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Re: Re: Digital refractometer
« Reply #14 on: January 15, 2013, 03:41:46 PM »
A friend pointed out that a digital refractometer is actually very inexpensive and practical afterall:

http://www.amazon.com/SBS-SBS-3500-Digital-Hydrometer-0-000-3-0000/dp/B006M49LNA/ref=sr_1_8?ie=UTF8&qid=1358269917

Lol it's on my list right after I order everything Blichmann makes.


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