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Old 07-06-2009, 02:10 PM   #1
brazedowl
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Default Gravity Testing...

Ok so let me see if I have the general procedure down....

1. STERILIZE EVERYTHING

2. Use a baster/thief/siphon to retreive a sample

3. Plunk in Hydrometer and read

--------------------------------------------

Questions...

1. How much of a sample? Or will that be evident when I get my hydrometer later today?

2. Suggestions on brand/type? My HBS is more like half an aisle in a wine shop, might not have much verity.

3. Do I need to stir before retrieving a sample? Can I just use the tap on my brew bucket?

3. Owing that everything is sterilized (sampler, hydrometer, sample container) Can I just plunk my sample (ever so gently) return the sample? I like to collect data and would hate to lose quite a bit of goodness to sample taking. I know purists will say no, but does anyone have experience with returning samples without adverse affects?

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Old 07-06-2009, 02:16 PM   #2
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It's not sterilized, unless you have an autoclave. "Sanitized" is the best most homebrewers can hope for.

You can fill the hydrometer sample tube up about 3/4 of the way, and gently drop the hydrometer in. If it's sitting on the bottom, you'll need to add a bit more. I usually have the hydrometer in the sample jar, and just add the beer to it until it floats.

I don't know of any particular brands- they all seem to be about the same. Most are "triple scale" hydrometers, with the Brix scale, potential alcohol scale, and the specific gravity scale. Just use the SG scale to take your reading.

When you first brew, you stir very well to aerate your wort before taking your sample. After fermentation starts, you don't stir your beer at all. You don't want to take a sample from the spigot- odds are that the spigot is full of yeast and/or trub. Just gently take the sample from the top, lowering the wine thief into the beer.

I wouldn't return the sample. It's not worth risking 5 gallons of beer to "save" four ounces. Just drink the sample- that's very important data, too!

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Old 07-06-2009, 04:45 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by YooperBrew View Post
I usually have the hydrometer in the sample jar, and just add the beer to it until it floats.
Another trick i do is when you first get your hydrometer, keep the tube it comes in. Put water in it - enough to float the hydrometer itself - then remove the hydrometer. Finally, draw a sharpie line where the water level is. That way you can fill your tube with the minimal amount of liquid to float the hydrometer, without actually having your hydrometer in the tube; if you wanna go that route, that is.
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Old 07-06-2009, 10:27 PM   #4
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Well plan to test it tonight and see where it's at. I have a no go on using the spigot, and have marked off the tube that my hydrometer came in. My wife says no more playing with the mead until after the birthing class tonight. Boo....

Any one who has more advice feel free to drop some I'm off to watch things no man (without an MD) should ever see on video.

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Old 07-07-2009, 01:13 AM   #5
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+1 Don't forget to use your thermometer and record your sample temperature so you can make accurate readings from start to finish.

I usually put my full test tube in a cup of ice water or warm water to get my sample to 60 degrees. That way I know my readings are accurate and I don't have to do any math after sampling some previous batches.

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Old 07-07-2009, 02:09 AM   #6
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Well I just took two samples...

From the spigot, then opened the top and took a sample there. The readings were identical. Both read 0.998 and temperature corrected it's hanging in there at 1.000

tenglert - I'll remember that for next time. It came with a little chart so I just had to add 0.002 for it being at 80 degrees.

cactusgarrett - That's exactly what I did. Worked GREAT. And with the two samples I have a nice glass of very cloudy, very yeasty apple mead.

Now... it WAS down to bubbling once every 45sec or so now it's back to once ever 5 seconds. Is that normal because I disturbed the yeast?

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