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Old 08-06-2007, 10:56 PM   #1
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Default Altitude and the hydrometer

I got my replacement hydrometer...

I was thinking - I live at abt 2,000' -- does my altitude affect the hydrometer reading ? If so, it can't be anything major, I wld imagine.

The instructions only mention adjustments for temperature...

I DO see that water boils at abt 208 now.. just think of all the propane I will save !

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Old 08-06-2007, 11:07 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kappclark
I got my replacement hydrometer...

I was thinking - I live at abt 2,000' -- does my altitude affect the hydrometer reading ? If so, it can't be anything major, I wld imagine.

The instructions only mention adjustments for temperature...

I DO see that water boils at abt 208 now.. just think of all the propane I will save !
I've never made an altitude adjustment (nor have I ever heard it was necessary) and I live at 9100'. They hydrometer is just measuring density of the liquid and that shouldn't be affected by altitude.
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Old 08-06-2007, 11:20 PM   #3
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It would kinda make sense there needs to be an adjustment. I'de just see what your starting waters SG is. Since water should be 1.000 on your hydro, take the + or - and adjust your readings against that.

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Old 08-06-2007, 11:25 PM   #4
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Even if the reading is not exact, the formula for alcohol content will give the same results after tempature correction and the lack of reading changes will tell you your beer is done. That’s all that’s really important anyway.

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Old 08-06-2007, 11:44 PM   #5
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I live at just above 4,000' MSL, and my hydrometer shows exactly 1.000 in distilled water at 60 degrees F.

I imagine that there is a VERY slight difference in liquid density at varying atmospheric pressures, but because liquid is not generally very compressible, the correction factor is probably imperceptible on the brewer's hydrometer scale.

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Old 08-06-2007, 11:50 PM   #6
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I think its the fact that liquid doesn't really compress, so altitude doesn't have an effect on density like it does on boiling temperatures.

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Old 08-07-2007, 03:29 AM   #7
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Thank You for the prompt feedback - I am a computer guy, not a chemist !

This all makes tons of sense - liquids don't compress, so atmospheric pressure should have little/no effect...

I will measure/calibrate the hydrometer at 60 degrees using water ....I hope it measures correctly...

(what happens when I don't get the perfect reading ?? (just kidding)

Now - may I use my well water (which is perfectly good), or distilled water ?

I wld think the well water, since it is that which I will be using to make this fantastic brew !

What a hobby for the type A !

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Old 08-07-2007, 03:38 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kappclark
Now - may I use my well water (which is perfectly good), or distilled water ?
If your well water does not have off flavors you should be fine using it.
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Old 08-07-2007, 05:47 AM   #9
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I think i read someplace that well water can actually be better for brewing than citys tap water.

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Old 08-07-2007, 05:52 AM   #10
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if you like your well water use it. I think you can get water tests for $20 or so. This will tell you about your chemistry so you can adjust for different types of beer if you so choose. You will be better off to use distilled water if you want to try and calibrate your hydro though. The dissolved solids, salts etc. will alter your waters SG though not appreciably.

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