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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > General Techniques > Reading a refractometer; clear line with distilled water; fuzzy line with beer
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Old 04-15-2013, 03:10 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Yooper View Post
It's the alcohol. Alcohol changes the way light refracts and since that is what a refractometer reads, they are hard to read and inaccurate once fermentation occurs.
Mine is pretty fuzzy when i'm brewing. No alcohol there.
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Old 04-15-2013, 03:21 AM   #12
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Try using a small flashlight and move it around the prism. I can usually find a sweet spot to get a decent reading.

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Old 04-15-2013, 04:32 AM   #13
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To the OP, mtnagel:

Please see my 4 photos dated today, 4/14/13, which shows that you can confidently use your refractometer for reading your samples anytime during fermentation and for final gravity readings.

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Old 04-15-2013, 12:26 PM   #14
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Thanks, nice pictures.

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Old 04-16-2013, 03:42 PM   #15
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I have the same problem when making wine. Just turn the refractometer upside down and it should clear up the fuzzies. Just give a few seconds.

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Old 04-16-2013, 04:09 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1MadScientist View Post
To the OP, mtnagel:

Please see my 4 photos dated today, 4/14/13, which shows that you can confidently use your refractometer for reading your samples anytime during fermentation and for final gravity readings.
How does that picture show that " that you can confidently use your refractometer for reading your samples anytime during fermentation and for final gravity readings"?

It shows you got a clear line, but the laws of physics say that the reading will not be correct. Even though it is possible to get a correct reading occasionally, you cannot get true repeatable results reading a refractometer when alcohol is present. The laws of physics, unlike civil laws cannot be broken on occasion.
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Old 04-16-2013, 04:14 PM   #17
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How did you take those pictures?

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Old 04-16-2013, 04:14 PM   #18
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Did you see the screenshots of the online correction calculators showing exactly what he got with his hydrometer?

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Old 04-16-2013, 04:16 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Naturallight16oz View Post
Mine is pretty fuzzy when i'm brewing. No alcohol there.
Most have an eye-piece that can be adjusted like a telescope/binoculars for adjusting to get a clear image.
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Old 04-16-2013, 04:19 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mtnagel View Post
Did you see the screenshots of the online correction calculators showing exactly what he got with his hydrometer?
Doh, missed them. So he meant to say you can get a reading that can be used to calculate the correct numbers. This is correct, but with the refractometers most of us use, it can be hard to get the reading as clear as he has, so there is a lot of guess work on the numbers for most people.

If you do manage to get a clear reading, then yes you can use the formula for adjusting.
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