Get your HBT Growlers, Shirts and Membership before the Rush!


Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > General Techniques > Ditching the hydrometer?
Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools
Old 07-22-2012, 05:17 PM   #1
MacGruber
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 592
Liked 7 Times on 7 Posts
Likes Given: 9

Default Ditching the hydrometer?

I've noticed on my last three beers I haven't taken hydrometer readings. I simply forgot to take the OG after the first one. I panicked then realized it was still going to be beer and as long as it tasted good I didn't care about the readings. If I were competing I'd obviously care way more. I simply estimate abv based on my I brewmaster app. I'll be more diligent next time, but my beers have been fantastic and I haven't been as concerned because I'm not obsessing over a few points on the hydrometer.

__________________
MacGruber is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 07-22-2012, 05:31 PM   #2
Yooper
Ale's What Cures You!
HBT_ADMIN.png
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
 
Yooper's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Upper Michigan
Posts: 62,903
Liked 4950 Times on 3586 Posts
Likes Given: 1002

Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by MacGruber View Post
I've noticed on my last three beers I haven't taken hydrometer readings. I simply forgot to take the OG after the first one. I panicked then realized it was still going to be beer and as long as it tasted good I didn't care about the readings. If I were competing I'd obviously care way more. I simply estimate abv based on my I brewmaster app. I'll be more diligent next time, but my beers have been fantastic and I haven't been as concerned because I'm not obsessing over a few points on the hydrometer.
I'd be concerned about not using a hydrometer to check FG if you're bottling just to ensure fermentation is finished and not stuck or slow to avoid bottle bombs. But for taking an OG, or for kegging beer, I would agree that an experienced brewer wouldn't need to use a hydrometer.
__________________
Broken Leg Brewery
Giving beer a leg to stand on since 2006

Find me on facebook: Lorena Evans
But I'm pretty boring so don't expect much!
https://www.facebook.com/lorena.t.evans
Yooper is online now
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 07-22-2012, 05:36 PM   #3
iijakii
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Texas
Posts: 1,517
Liked 56 Times on 47 Posts
Likes Given: 153

Default

I think it's nice to know. What if you have a brew come out too sweet, but it has a decent amount of caramel or honey malt in it? Sure it's possible to deduce, but it'd be nice to know you mashed a touch too high and your fg is .007 too high vs having too much crystal or something.

__________________
iijakii is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 07-22-2012, 07:59 PM   #4
MacGruber
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 592
Liked 7 Times on 7 Posts
Likes Given: 9

Default

I keep meticulous notes and make sure I hit my mash temps. Also, I let it ferment out for three to four weeks until I see it's fairly clear ( i can see an inch or two in from the side while looking at the yeast cake) and the yeast cake is compact. I also keg so I'm not worried about bottle bombs.

__________________
MacGruber is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 07-22-2012, 10:09 PM   #5
BrewDocND
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Farmington, CT
Posts: 165
Liked 3 Times on 3 Posts
Likes Given: 3

Default

I mean, if you want to be a terrible brewer and make terrible beer, then yea, don't take hydrometer readings.

Just kidding. I lost my hyrdrometer for a couple batches and it all worked out fine. Whatever works for you.

__________________

Kegged- Scottish Heavy (first kegged batch and I didn't f#&% it up!)
Bottled- Belgian Dubbel (Brewing Classic Styles).
Bottled- French Saison (BCS) Bottled March 17.
Belgian Pale with JP dregs Bottled Feb 3.
Dumped- 1.5 gallons Dubbel on orval/JP dregs colonized by fruit flies :(

BrewDocND is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 07-22-2012, 10:24 PM   #6
RobertRGeorge
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Nelson, Bc
Posts: 530
Liked 48 Times on 38 Posts
Likes Given: 10

Default

The good thing about comparing OG and FG is that you can calculate ABV, and that is interesting to know: (OG-FG)/7.46 or (OP-FP)/1.87 if you work with Plato. Add .5% to the result to account for bottling sugar. If you are using specific gravity express OG and FG as points of gravity: 1.050 is 50 points of gravity. (If you work with Plato there's no base dropping (the 1.000 part) required.)

So for example 50 OG minus 10 FG gives 40/7.46 equals 5.36% ABV. Add .5% and your finished beer will be about 5.86% ABV. Yum!
You can also check that fermentation is done by seeing if the attenuation is what you would expect. The specs for various strains of yeast are on the websites of the manufacturers but for example if the yeast has an attenuation range of say 75% to 80% you can calculate in the above example 40/50 and see that the attenuation is 80% and it's time to bottle!

__________________
RobertRGeorge is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 07-23-2012, 12:21 AM   #7
DonMagee
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Granger, IN
Posts: 385
Liked 35 Times on 31 Posts
Likes Given: 3

Default

I always take pre-boil OG, pre-boil vol, post boil OG and post boil vol in my notes as well as final OG and the volume that got bottled/kegged. I think this helps me tweak my recipes and fix any problems. I recently switched to a refractometer and that has helped a lot.

__________________
DonMagee is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 07-23-2012, 12:38 AM   #8
Greenbasterd
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Van, BC
Posts: 256
Liked 17 Times on 12 Posts
Likes Given: 4

Default

after i get my wort cooled and ready to pitch i take an OG reading. just for curiosity tho. because if im a little low do you think im going to boil up some DME or dextrose to bring up my OG? hell no.. the yeast is going in no matter what.. i've never had a stuck ferment.. but i would say your FG is more important then you OG IMO.. but like i said i've never had a stuck ferment so other then letting me know the ABV of the drink its pretty much useless to me.

of course theres people who think there macking some magical beer they want to replicate and in that case you need one.. but im a tottaly laid back lazy brewer.. i just want beer

__________________
Greenbasterd is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 07-23-2012, 12:46 AM   #9
DonMagee
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Granger, IN
Posts: 385
Liked 35 Times on 31 Posts
Likes Given: 3

Default

I don't fix my gravity either, but I can use it to adjust my grain bill in the future (if I'm always low) or to look for new ways to improve my process. If my OG is consistently .10 too low, maybe I'm doing something wrong. My last batch was to be 1.088, but ended up 1.086. That's not a big deal to me, I make a note of it for future reference. But if it was 1.060, I would know I totally screwed something up.

It's the same with mash temps, if I don't record what temp I mashed at, how would I know what to adjust it to in the future if I wanted to dry it out?

I know it's not for everyone, but I'd hate to make a awesome beer and never be able to make it again.

__________________
DonMagee is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 07-23-2012, 01:57 AM   #10
MacGruber
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 592
Liked 7 Times on 7 Posts
Likes Given: 9

Default

I've used my hydrometer for years and know how to calculate abv. I know my set up yields 70% efficiency. So when I create a recipe using iBrewmaster and it gives me my abv based on my recipe and efficiency, I feel okay if I forget to take an OG reading. The beer still tastes awesome even if I don't know exactly what the abv is on some batches!

__________________
MacGruber is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Reply



Quick Reply
Message:
Options
Thread Tools




Newest Threads

LATEST SPONSOR DEALS