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Author Topic: Hannah Refractometer  (Read 2018 times)

Offline Hopspringseternal

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Hannah Refractometer
« on: December 19, 2020, 07:30:15 am »
I've used a hydrometer since I started brewing, but lately it's proven somewhat unreliable. That's led me to consider a refractometer. I realize that a refractometer is easy to use, and when compared with a hydrometer, only requires a fraction of the sample size. But while the refractometer is great for OG readings, because alcohol bends light at a different ratio than sugar does, to determine FG readings, the refractometer requires the use of a calculation to factor in the presence of alcohol in the sample. All this leads me to the question: Does a Hannah Instruments (Model HI 96841) digital refractometer produce an accurate FG reading without needing to calculate the presence of alcohol in the sample?  For $180 it seems like it should have that capability, but I can't tell from their online ad. If it doesn't make this calculation why would the Hannah digital be worth the expense when you can get a much cheaper refractometer, with ATC, for far less?
Hopspringseternal

Offline Oiscout

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Re: Hannah Refractometer
« Reply #1 on: December 19, 2020, 07:32:45 am »
I bought two hannah PH meters and we're very unhappy with them. Their displays were clunky and one of them would not switch over to the calibration function. And the second one would not calibrate at all. (well I bought one and the replacement they sent me was busted too). Just a heads up

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Offline purduekenn

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Re: Hannah Refractometer
« Reply #2 on: December 19, 2020, 08:19:17 am »
Brulosophy has a review of Hanna at:
https://brulosophy.com/2017/10/26/hanna-instruments-digital-refractometer-for-brewing-product-review/
Homebrew Finds has a review of Milwaukee Instruments digital refractor at:
https://www.homebrewfinds.com/2018/01/hands-on-review-milwaukee-ma871-digital-refractometer.html
I'm using a hand held refractometer but thinking about getting a digital one too. But they are way more expensive so I never purchased one.
« Last Edit: December 19, 2020, 08:23:25 am by purduekenn »

Offline Hopspringseternal

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Re: Hannah Refractometer
« Reply #3 on: December 19, 2020, 08:48:03 am »
Thanks for the reference, Purduekenn!  It included a specific answer to my question from Hannah Instruments:

"It should be noted that once fermentation begins, ethanol and the residual sugar interfere with each other and prevent an accurate reading of the Brix value of your residual sugar. For this reason, this refractometer cannot be used with finished beer or other fermented beverages. It is designed for use with wort only."

The review continues by recommending use of an online calculator to discover the 'wort correction factor' that provides the data to determine the FG.  Given these limitations and requirements, I'm thinking a TILT hydrometer might be a better solution for a brewer like me who tries to follow Charlie Papazian's wise counsel whenever I start to feel concerned about the accuracy of my brewing analysis:  "Don't worry, relax. Have a homebrew."

Hopspringseternal

Offline purduekenn

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Re: Hannah Refractometer
« Reply #4 on: December 19, 2020, 09:31:48 am »
Welcome Hopspringseternal! I use Brewers Friend refractometer calculator https://www.brewersfriend.com/refractometer-calculator/ to see when fermentation is done it has worked well for me. Usually its within 1-2 points of the hydrometer reading.  I use a Brewing America hydrometer to check final gravity https://brewingamerica.com there hydrometer only needs about 4oz of beer. Its a nice hydrometer to.

Offline Thirsty_Monk

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Re: Hannah Refractometer
« Reply #5 on: December 19, 2020, 12:30:13 pm »
I was considering Hanna 96841 https://www.hannainst.com/hi96841-digital-refractometer-for-beer.html

It is a Plato refractometer but once you start fermenting you have to use calculator to get your gravity.

I end up getting Anthony Parr Easy Dens density meter. https://www.morebeer.com/products/easydens-anton-paar.html

I am very happy with it. Pretty accurate, easy sample preparation and easy cleanup.
Na Zdravie

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Offline Richard

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Re: Hannah Refractometer
« Reply #6 on: December 19, 2020, 10:24:46 pm »
Yes, any refractometer will require a calculation to give actual Specific Gravity when alcohol is present. The Anton Paar EasyDens does not require any compensation because it measures actual liquid density. It is a sophisticated and somewhat complex measurement (hence the high price) but it can be quite accurate. It uses the "oscillating U-tube" technique: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oscillating_U-tube . The oscillation frequency of a known volume of liquid in a U-tube is measured, which can be used to derive the density of the liquid.
Original Gravity - that would be Newton's

Offline Hopspringseternal

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Re: Hannah Refractometer
« Reply #7 on: December 20, 2020, 04:32:08 pm »
Thanks for all the great ideas and advice! 

One question for Purduekenn: Do all the Brewing America hydrometers require only about a 4 oz. sample, or do you have a specific one to recommend?

Thanks.
Hopspringseternal