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Old 01-19-2009, 06:46 PM   #1
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Default Hydrometers, distilled water, and calibration

Quick question, as I have not seen this info posted anywhere before:

For a correctly calibrated hydrometer to register 1.000, you must use distilled water ( I get 1.004 in my tap water). But since I BREW with tap water, shouldn't I be subtracting .004 from the readings in my beer?

I assume that all those minerals still make it through the mash, sparge and boil into the fermenter, right?



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Old 01-19-2009, 07:05 PM   #2
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That is some pretty dense tap water. If you measure distilled water and your tap water at identical temperatures do you really observe a .004 difference?



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Old 01-19-2009, 07:12 PM   #3
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Are they both at 60F?

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Old 01-19-2009, 07:18 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by remilard View Post
That is some pretty dense tap water. If you measure distilled water and your tap water at identical temperatures do you really observe a .004 difference?
temp is important. my ground/tap water floats at 1.000. It would seem to me that distilled would be lighter, not sure though
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Old 01-19-2009, 07:23 PM   #5
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yes, the tap water was at 60° - reading measured from the bottom of the meniscus.

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Old 01-19-2009, 07:59 PM   #6
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Welll, if it's off by .004 then that's your correction factor.

I don't know what else to tell you.

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Old 01-19-2009, 08:06 PM   #7
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Maybe I'm not being clear: the hydrometer is CORRECT if you use distilled water (which is how every hydrometer calibration tutorial tells you to do it). So it reads correctly at 1.000 using distilled water, but there are minerals and such in my tap water which cause a .004 higher reading.

My question is should I adjust for this when brewing with the same tap water, making the assumption that all these minerals make it through the final boil into the fermenter, thus causing a .004 higher reading in the finished product?

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Old 01-19-2009, 08:47 PM   #8
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Most tap water has an SG of 1.000. Your water has 15% as much difference from pure water as does sea water. It is hard to imagine that would be drinkable.

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Old 01-19-2009, 09:03 PM   #9
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I'll double check them again tonight against some distilled water. They read 1.000 when I last checked them with distilled water several months ago, but just checked the tap water last night....

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Old 01-19-2009, 10:48 PM   #10
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Well, disregard this post....

Just recalibrated in distilled water and both are reading at 1.003, while they read 1.004 in tap water. I didn't think that hydrometers could shift out of whack, but perhaps I screwed up when I checked them in distilled water months ago

They also read 1.085 in 1.083 wort.....So rather than doing some tricky math every time I'm just going to take the average and subtract .003 from all measurements.

Sorry for wasting everybody's time.



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