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Author Topic: refractometer  (Read 2202 times)

Offline redrocker652002

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refractometer
« on: June 03, 2022, 10:58:31 am »
My son gave me a 60.00 gift card that I want to use from Austin Brew supply.  I don't want to use it for ingredients, but would like to have something that I can use and keep.   I am thinking of getting the refractometer from them for 45.00 but don't know much about them.  It measures in BRIX, which would be new to me, but I am seeing that there are websites out there to convert to Gravity, so I am guessing it is not that big a deal.  Any input on a newbie using a piece of equipment like this?  I hate dumping a half a glass of beer down the drain when I use my hydrometer as well, so that is another reason I am looking at it.  LOL. 

Any input would be welcomed. 

RR

Offline fredthecat

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Re: refractometer
« Reply #1 on: June 03, 2022, 11:54:14 am »
My son gave me a 60.00 gift card that I want to use from Austin Brew supply.  I don't want to use it for ingredients, but would like to have something that I can use and keep.   I am thinking of getting the refractometer from them for 45.00 but don't know much about them.  It measures in BRIX, which would be new to me, but I am seeing that there are websites out there to convert to Gravity, so I am guessing it is not that big a deal.  Any input on a newbie using a piece of equipment like this?  I hate dumping a half a glass of beer down the drain when I use my hydrometer as well, so that is another reason I am looking at it.  LOL. 

Any input would be welcomed. 

RR

i've never used a refractometer before, maybe others can explain reasons to get it, but i use a nice thin hydrometer tube that only uses about 180ml of beer to get a sample. for OG sample, i just keep it all sanitized and add it back into the carboy and for FG sample i end up letting it sit and decanting it into a glass and giving it a taste to get a feel for how the beer is going. i used to have a glass test tube that was tall, but perfectly fit my hydryometre, only took about 60ml or so for a test, it was great.

not sure what else is in/not in your setup. but i've got 3 carboys and definitely want to get at least one more. it allows for more beer in the pipeline.

Offline Bob357

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Re: refractometer
« Reply #2 on: June 03, 2022, 12:52:01 pm »
https://www.brewersfriend.com/refractometer-calculator/

Be sure to read everything on the linked page and everything on the pages it links to. You'll then have all the information you need.
Beer is my bucket list,

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Offline denny

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Re: refractometer
« Reply #3 on: June 03, 2022, 12:54:53 pm »
if you use an Android there's a great conversion app called Brew King
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

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Offline Richard

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Re: refractometer
« Reply #4 on: June 03, 2022, 12:57:48 pm »
Refractometers are great during the mash and boil because you don't have to cool a sample to room temperature the way you do with a hydrometer. You just need a couple of drops to make a measurement, so you can do it quickly.
Original Gravity - that would be Newton's

Offline denny

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Re: refractometer
« Reply #5 on: June 03, 2022, 01:09:45 pm »
Refractometers are great during the mash and boil because you don't have to cool a sample to room temperature the way you do with a hydrometer. You just need a couple of drops to make a measurement, so you can do it quickly.

of course, if you use a hydrometer during the boil you can just dump the sample back in the kettle so you don't lose anything
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

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Offline tommymorris

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Re: refractometer
« Reply #6 on: June 03, 2022, 01:37:50 pm »
I sanitize my hydrometer and put it in the fermenter and snap a photo then pull it out. I don’t loose any beer doing this.

Offline BrewBama

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Re: refractometer
« Reply #7 on: June 03, 2022, 05:39:20 pm »
A refractometer is just a prizm used to check brix on all sorts of liquids. No moving parts unless you count the tilting window. I think $45 is a bit steep. All of a sudden it’s a “homebrew refractometer” and the price jumps. Like slapping “HD” on a pair of boots or”Corvette” on a jacket. $$$. Try another source for a cheaper one. I think mine was $20.

Offline Richard

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Re: refractometer
« Reply #8 on: June 03, 2022, 07:59:22 pm »
Whatever refractometer you get, be sure to check the zero regularly. I store mine in the garage, but I brew in the kitchen. In the winter, when the garage is cold and the kitchen is warm, the zero on the refractometer drifts considerably during the day as it warms up.
Original Gravity - that would be Newton's

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Re: refractometer
« Reply #9 on: June 04, 2022, 01:02:18 pm »
I love my refractometer.  And while it may not always translate exactly to the specific gravity, even when using a calculator, the result is just as valid.  Gravity itself is already an approximation of attenuation -- apparent attenuation is the balance of alcohol (lighter than water) and the malt sugar solution left in beer (heavier than water).  There is nothing magical about gravity as a measurement, and it's generally worthless without knowing what the OG was.  A refractometer reading is the same, and the benefit is that you can take a sample of your favorite commercial beer without wasting more than a drop.

Offline KellerBrauer

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Re: refractometer
« Reply #10 on: June 05, 2022, 07:01:03 am »
I also love my refractometer.  I use it for quick reads on my boiling wort.  Works great! 
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Offline Visor

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Re: refractometer
« Reply #11 on: June 07, 2022, 10:24:36 am »
  Being hyper frugal, I initially bought one of those cheapo refractometers and was very disappointed in it. I eventually bucked up and bought a VeeGee and have been very pleased with it, the cheap one is forgotten on a shelf somewhere - you don't always get what you pay for, but you always gotta pay for what you get. As for dumping the beer from the hydrometer sample jar, why are you throwing away perfectly good beer? It's beer, albeit green beer, I drink it, kind of a teaser for the upcoming batch.
I spent most of my money on beer, tools and guns, the rest I foolishly squandered on stupid stuff!

Offline denny

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Re: refractometer
« Reply #12 on: June 07, 2022, 11:36:57 am »
  Being hyper frugal, I initially bought one of those cheapo refractometers and was very disappointed in it. I eventually bucked up and bought a VeeGee and have been very pleased with it, the cheap one is forgotten on a shelf somewhere - you don't always get what you pay for, but you always gotta pay for what you get. As for dumping the beer from the hydrometer sample jar, why are you throwing away perfectly good beer? It's beer, albeit green beer, I drink it, kind of a teaser for the upcoming batch.

I put it in a PET bottle with a carb cap. Hit it with 30 psi, 20 min. in the freezer, and you have a cold, carbed sample.
« Last Edit: June 07, 2022, 12:19:52 pm by denny »
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

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Offline Bob357

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Re: refractometer
« Reply #13 on: June 07, 2022, 12:11:16 pm »
I agree with narvin about refractometer readings being just as valid as hydrometer readings once they've been run through a calculator with the proper wort correction factor entered. I use my refractometer for all readings, hot and cold side. I do, on occasion, check it against a hydrometer reading and for zero. It's almost 4 years old and I've never had to re-zero it and it always reads within one gravity point of the hydrometer.
Beer is my bucket list,

Bob357
Fallon, NV

Offline MNWayne

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Re: refractometer
« Reply #14 on: June 08, 2022, 08:20:12 am »
I don't own a refractometer.  I like a hydrometer because I get to taste the sample. 
Far better to dare mighty things....