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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Equipment/Sanitation > Refractometer vs. Hydrometer Pros and Cons
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Old 10-01-2012, 06:01 PM   #11
rhamilton
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Homercidal View Post
And if you can't, or don't, trust your refractometer for FG readings, you should still buy a hydrometer to have on hand anyway. They are cheap.
So I abandoned my hydrometer and used my refractometer full-time when I got it. The first four batches were spot on after 'correction factors' for FG measurements. All was well.

But the next two batches (high gravity, mid gravity) were over +0.020 off after corrections.

So either don't care about FG accuracy or keep your hydro handy.
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Old 10-02-2012, 02:16 AM   #12
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There is a place for a hydro, but I love my refractometer! I'm still verifying my compensated FG refractometer reading with my hydro reading. So far I am gaining a comfort level with the refractometer. The calculator will get within .002 which has been consistently the case (4 batches now). SG has been within .001.

Get one on eBay for $20-30. Very happy with my purchase!

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Old 10-02-2012, 02:50 AM   #13
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I just picked up a refractometer, and let me tell you how much easier my brew day just got! It used to be a pain - for first runnings and final runnings I'd pull out a sample and let it cool. I wouldn't know my readings until after the boil was half over and, at that point it was too late to make corrections. Corrections were noted and could be made for future batches. Now I grab a couple drops with a pipette and have an instant reading. I now take readings at every step and can make adjustments as needed on this batch.

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Old 10-02-2012, 02:50 AM   #14
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If you go with the refractometer make sure it reads in Brix and not SG. I think the bad rap that refracts got in the past was because some manufactures released ones that only had a SG scale. It was useless for anything after start of fermentation.

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Old 10-02-2012, 02:54 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rhamilton
A refractometer doesn't replace a hydrometer.

Use the refractometer for everything except the last FG reading -- use the hydrometer for that.

'Conversion factors' are not reliable.
I used to think/say the same thing... until I tried Sean Terril's tool (http://seanterrill.com/2012/01/06/re...er-calculator/). Batch after batch, it matches my hydrometer every time.
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Old 10-02-2012, 03:10 AM   #16
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+1 Bru - that is the same site I used for my FG adjustments. The small discrepancy between the refractometer and hydrometer is usually +-.002.

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