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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > General Beer Discussion > Who Do You Trust? Hydrometer or Refractometer
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Old 12-28-2012, 02:16 AM   #1
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Default Who Do You Trust? Hydrometer or Refractometer

So I have two perfectly calibrated instruments that read dead on in distilled water at the correct temperature, but when they get up into the 1.06 and above range there is a small variation... very small but different never the less.


At the end of the brew day I wait with baited breath, for the final gravity of a couple hours work. From there I am thrilled that all the preparation paid off, ecstatic for a good days effort or disappointed that something went awire.


So who do you trust.. A Hydrometer or Refractometer?

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Old 12-28-2012, 02:18 AM   #2
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how far off are they, could be that the refractometer is adjusted for temp and the hydrometer is reading the correct gravity at the current temp and the refrac is adjusting

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Old 12-28-2012, 02:19 AM   #3
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Refractometer for OG and Refractometer for FG. I think it was Yopper that told me that, a Refractometer can read different when used for FG because of the alcohol.

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Old 12-28-2012, 05:28 AM   #4
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I like my digital refractometer.

OP, what kind of refractometer is that? I've never seen that one before.

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Old 12-28-2012, 06:07 AM   #5
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Refractometers and beersmith are just too easy to even worry about using a hydrometer.

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Old 12-28-2012, 07:17 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CityOChampBrew View Post
how far off are they, could be that the refractometer is adjusted for temp and the hydrometer is reading the correct gravity at the current temp and the refrac is adjusting
The difference is about 0.002-0.004.. not huge. I have based all my calculations off the refractometer since using those numbers puts my efficiencies between 80-83%.


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I like my digital refractometer.

OP, what kind of refractometer is that? I've never seen that one before.
It is a Toko refractometer, all stainless and weighs in at 350 grams. If you see one of these pop up used, from a quality standpoint these are very nice.
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Old 12-28-2012, 07:21 AM   #7
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If you are sure they are both calibrated perfectly, then I would take the average between the two measurements (for OG). The last digit is a 'guess' digit anyway. Obviously for the FG I would solely use the hydrometer. You should borrow a friend's hydrometer or refractometer and see how they square up.

side note: I used to have that hydrometer in your picture and it was way off compared to my other ones. That could have just been a problem with that one hydrometer..but who knows?

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Old 12-28-2012, 07:24 AM   #8
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Quote:
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It is a Toko refractometer, all stainless and weighs in at 350 grams. If you see one of these pop up used, from a quality standpoint these are very nice.
It looks real nice.
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Old 12-28-2012, 07:25 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Satisfaction View Post
The difference is about 0.002-0.004.. not huge. I have based all my calculations off the refractometer since using those numbers puts my efficiencies between 80-83%.




It is a Toko refractometer, all stainless and weighs in at 350 grams. If you see one of these pop up used, from a quality standpoint these are very nice.
Sounds like it could be a difference in temperature to me. What temps are you taking the readings at??
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Old 12-28-2012, 07:35 AM   #10
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IMO/IME, a quality refractometer will beat any hydrometer.

The difference you're seeing could be the difference in the paper on the hydrometer where the graduations are printed. I've long since set the hydrometer aside and just use the quality refractometers for my readings.

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