Author Topic: refractometer question  (Read 924 times)

Offline Steve Ruch

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refractometer question
« on: March 05, 2016, 04:20:38 PM »
I'm thinking about getting one.
Any recommendations?
Don't you have to do some calculations to account for the alcohol at the end of fermentation?
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Offline homoeccentricus

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Re: refractometer question
« Reply #1 on: March 05, 2016, 04:33:15 PM »
The calculation of fermenting wort does need software indeed. E.g. this online tool: http://www.northernbrewer.com/learn/resources/refractometer-calculator/

You need to input the original brix and the current brix to calculate the ABV.
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Offline Alewyfe

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Re: refractometer question
« Reply #2 on: March 05, 2016, 05:23:28 PM »
Spend some $$. There is no such thing as good and cheap in a refractometer. Most of the ones sold by the HBS are too cheap. The handheld ones that are good come out of the wine industry suppliers and run upwards of $80 to $100.

I had one I paid about $40 for and it drifted like crazy and rarely matched a good old glass hydrometer. I was given a Milwaukee digital model (they run around $100 I think) and it is a thing of beauty. Rock solid. calibration is a snap....though it rarely moves, and it's very fun to use. I buy sterile, individually packaged disposable pipettes, they're like $5 for 100, so tracking gravity on fermenting worts is actually a pleasure rather than being a PITA.
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Offline euge

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Re: refractometer question
« Reply #3 on: March 05, 2016, 05:46:33 PM »
The calculation of fermenting wort does need software indeed. E.g. this online tool: http://www.northernbrewer.com/learn/resources/refractometer-calculator/

You need to input the original brix and the current brix to calculate the ABV.

Been using this calculator recently. Just to think, a few years ago these weren't available...

I can't rely on my hydrometer. It is so far off on the read as to be essentially useless.
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Offline Stevie

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refractometer question
« Reply #4 on: March 05, 2016, 09:53:15 PM »
+1 to spending a bit more. Buy once cry once. But more expensive doesn't mean better quality, look for a reputable brand. Vee Gee handheld refractometers run $100 +.
« Last Edit: March 06, 2016, 01:18:46 AM by Stevie »

Offline majorvices

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Re: refractometer question
« Reply #5 on: March 06, 2016, 01:15:59 AM »
If you can afford it go with desk top digital. So much less frustrating.

Offline narvin

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Re: refractometer question
« Reply #6 on: March 06, 2016, 01:43:28 AM »
I haven't had problems with the $40 homebrew store refractometers.  There are no moving parts, so I'm not sure how it could drift, though it's worth comparing a sugar solution to a hydrometer when you buy it.  If it's off,csend it back.
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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: refractometer question
« Reply #7 on: March 06, 2016, 01:55:09 AM »
Yeah, my $50 one reads consistently close to my hydrometers. I'm assuming some of the refractometers out there are like ours Narvin, and maybe there are some hack hydrometers in the same price range that are total sh!t. No complaints with mine.
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Offline Phil_M

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Re: refractometer question
« Reply #8 on: March 06, 2016, 03:14:45 AM »
I've got a $50 refractometer, and I still can't decide if I trust it or not.

On a related note though, I've broken two alcohol thermometers and a hydrometer. I'm strongly considering saving for a thermapen and one of these:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B007Z4IN58/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pC_nS_ttl?_encoding=UTF8&colid=3CUU2S0FLN5VH&coliid=ILQ6EDAG0QRQK
Corn is a fine adjunct in beer.

And don't buy stale beer.

Offline majorvices

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Re: refractometer question
« Reply #9 on: March 06, 2016, 03:54:00 AM »
You have to let the sample cool down to the ambient temp of the calibrated refractometer or it won't ever read right. The digital one is nice because you calibrate it with distilled water and a button push and it lets you know when the temp of the sample is ready for the correct reading.

Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: refractometer question
« Reply #10 on: March 06, 2016, 04:00:51 AM »
I've definitely gotta have one of those digitals at some point. Just gotta prioritize brewing purchases.
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Offline euge

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Re: refractometer question
« Reply #11 on: March 06, 2016, 05:05:14 AM »
Mine was no more than $40 on ebay. Hasn't let me down.
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. -Richard P. Feynman

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