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Old 03-03-2008, 11:16 PM   #1
Chris_Dog
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Default Hydrometer VS Refractometer

I am confused if both tools give the same measurement what is the point of 1 vs the other?

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Old 03-03-2008, 11:20 PM   #2
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The refractometer can only be used pre-fermentation as it is only for measuring dissolved sugars in water. There are formulas for correcting post-fermentation but most guys say they are really inaccurate.

For the AG brewer a refractometer is a great way to take fast gravity readings during sparging, I don't think there's much point in one for an extract brewer.

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Old 03-03-2008, 11:21 PM   #3
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Do you all grain? The refractomer, while usefull otherwise, is most usefull for checking sparge gravity. You don't need to cool the wort for long periods prior to getting acurate readings. You only need a drop or two and that cools as quick as you drop it to the glass prism. The hydrometer is best for checking final gravity. There is much debate about the usefulness of the refractomer one there is alcohol in the liquid. I recomend using both if you have the means.

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Old 03-03-2008, 11:39 PM   #4
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Yes I do AG...

Would the refractometer be a more useful tool for people who AG and fly sparge than people who batch sparge?

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Old 03-04-2008, 12:14 AM   #5
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Yes, It is mainly a fly sparging tool. You can use it for checking gravity on any wort but it is most important when verifying that you don't over sparge. In my opinion the fly sparger gets the most benefit from this tool. I mainly batch sparge and I have one. I just like the speed and effectiveness of the tool. It is by all means not an essential tool from batching.

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Old 03-04-2008, 01:31 AM   #6
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Having used one Sunday 30 sec. vs cooling the sample wort time is significant.

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Old 03-04-2008, 01:34 AM   #7
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You can get them really cheap on ebay so I'd say go for it. Not having to wait for samples to cool even when batch sparging make them really worthwhile.

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Old 03-04-2008, 01:51 AM   #8
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A refractometer is not for fly spargers only.

I'm a batch sparger and I use a refractometer to measure my pre-boil wort gravity. If I totally missed my target pre-boil gravity I can do something about it before the boil gets underway. With a hydro sample, I'd have to wait 15 or 20 minutes for the sample to cool. I also use it to measure OG post-boil.

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Old 03-04-2008, 01:52 AM   #9
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Yep. And with proper calibration of software you can get an accurate SG too.

I underlined that part so someone doesn't jump in and tell me I'm wrong

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Old 03-04-2008, 02:03 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beerthoven
A refractometer is not for fly spargers only.

I'm a batch sparger and I use a refractometer to measure my pre-boil wort gravity. If I totally missed my target pre-boil gravity I can do something about it before the boil gets underway. With a hydro sample, I'd have to wait 15 or 20 minutes for the sample to cool. I also use it to measure OG post-boil.
Hmmm...I also used one on Sunday, and when the pre-boil refractometer reading was taken, it showed low (1.044) when Beer Smith estimated it at 1.060 preboil.
So, where is the discrepancy then ? I undersatnd about the efficiency getting better as the total gallons are boiled down to the final amount.
Is there a general rule of thumb for example; if your pre-boil is supposed to be 1.060, and your refractometer is reading 11.0 brix (1.044) then do you add 15 points to it, making it 1.059?? Or is BeerSmiths refractometer section not fully supported??
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