Author Topic: Low Volume Hydrometer - Any Ideas?  (Read 1621 times)

Offline egrmventura

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Low Volume Hydrometer - Any Ideas?
« on: June 29, 2015, 03:33:29 PM »
Hey all,
I've been using my Refractometer for my OG and FG Brix Readings and found weird waves in my readings. After chatting with a fellow brewer, he pointed out that the Refractometer is ineffective after fermentation because of the inconsistent light defraction by alcohol. He has suggested going back to the Hydrometer for FG readings.

So my question is if there is any known Hydrometer reader that takes less volume than the traditional one we all bought with our Homebrew kits? I've always felt a minor tear when that vile of beer didn't make it to the CO2, and especially when 6 or 12 test were all drunk prematurely.

Offline Stevie

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Re: Low Volume Hydrometer - Any Ideas?
« Reply #1 on: June 29, 2015, 03:39:53 PM »
My question is why are you pulling so many samples? I take one after the boil and one, maybe two later. Only time I pull many samples is for taste when making additions like oak or fruit.

You could always brew a little bit more to accommodate the samples.

Offline a10t2

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Re: Low Volume Hydrometer - Any Ideas?
« Reply #2 on: June 29, 2015, 03:46:27 PM »
I've seen (accidentally bought) some small hydrometers, which would require a smaller sample, but as a result aren't really precise enough for brewing. The ones home brewers typically use are already small by brewery standards.

My suggestion would be to use the refractometer to monitor fermentation - http://seanterrill.com/refractometer/ - and use a hydrometer for a final gravity reading if you need the additional precision.
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Offline reverseapachemaster

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Re: Low Volume Hydrometer - Any Ideas?
« Reply #3 on: June 29, 2015, 03:53:48 PM »
6-12 tests?

With Sean's excellent refractometer calculator I have very good results getting my refractometer to line up with a hydrometer. I've only tested a few times but I've never been more than 0.002 off which is as exact as I need to be.
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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Low Volume Hydrometer - Any Ideas?
« Reply #4 on: June 29, 2015, 03:56:00 PM »


With Sean's excellent refractometer calculator I have very good results getting my refractometer to line up with a hydrometer. I've only tested a few times but I've never been more than 0.002 off which is as exact as I need to be.

Same here.
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Offline pete b

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Re: Low Volume Hydrometer - Any Ideas?
« Reply #5 on: June 29, 2015, 04:40:19 PM »
I never take more than a couple or 3 samples. Some people use a hydrometer right in the fermenter but I would only do that in a glass vessel so I could see from the side.
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Offline Stevie

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Re: Low Volume Hydrometer - Any Ideas?
« Reply #6 on: June 29, 2015, 04:47:10 PM »

Some people use a hydrometer right in the fermenter but I would only do that in a glass vessel so I could see from the side.
That sounds like a good idea at first, but once it's coated in crud, the accuracy will be way off. I suppose it can be used to see when fermentation is complete.

Offline pete b

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Re: Low Volume Hydrometer - Any Ideas?
« Reply #7 on: June 29, 2015, 05:55:53 PM »

Some people use a hydrometer right in the fermenter but I would only do that in a glass vessel so I could see from the side.
That sounds like a good idea at first, but once it's coated in crud, the accuracy will be way off. I suppose it can be used to see when fermentation is complete.
That's when I would do it, no need to take a reading during krausen.
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Offline Philbrew

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Re: Low Volume Hydrometer - Any Ideas?
« Reply #8 on: June 29, 2015, 06:09:08 PM »
6-12 tests?

With Sean's excellent refractometer calculator I have very good results getting my refractometer to line up with a hydrometer. I've only tested a few times but I've never been more than 0.002 off which is as exact as I need to be.
Slightly off topic.  Is the wort correction factor in Sean's calculator the wort's OG ?
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Offline asanaryan

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Re: Low Volume Hydrometer - Any Ideas?
« Reply #9 on: June 29, 2015, 06:13:56 PM »
I use a wine thief when pulling samples during fermentation. My hydrometer fits right in and I can get an accurate reading while only taking a 4 oz sample. Btw, I only take a reading right after active fermentation is over and one at packaging.

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Re: Low Volume Hydrometer - Any Ideas?
« Reply #10 on: June 29, 2015, 08:18:02 PM »
I only take readings when I pitch and when I rack. 

Offline pete b

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Re: Low Volume Hydrometer - Any Ideas?
« Reply #11 on: June 30, 2015, 12:10:17 PM »
I only take readings when I pitch and when I rack.
This is what in practice I almost always do but a newer brewer would want to take a couple at the end to make sure fig has been reached.
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Offline pete b

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Re: Low Volume Hydrometer - Any Ideas?
« Reply #12 on: June 30, 2015, 12:12:07 PM »
Btw my phone always wants to correct fg to "fig". Can we just call it fig?
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Offline blackislandbrewer

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Re: Low Volume Hydrometer - Any Ideas?
« Reply #13 on: June 30, 2015, 02:38:00 PM »
If, for whatever reason, you need to take that many samples, you could use a clear plastic wine thief to take the sample, then once you've made your reading, release the sample back into the fermenter (gently, so as to not introduce oxygen). http://www.northernbrewer.com/shop/winemaking/wine-equipment/fermtech-wine-thief
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Offline a10t2

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Re: Low Volume Hydrometer - Any Ideas?
« Reply #14 on: June 30, 2015, 04:43:21 PM »
Slightly off topic.  Is the wort correction factor in Sean's calculator the wort's OG ?

No, it's the refractometer reading divided by hydrometer reading for your typical wort.
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