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Old 02-22-2009, 10:00 PM   #1
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Default Your Hydrometer can lie. Calibrate it

I thought that all 3 of my first batches had stuck fermentation, my gravities were around 1.02. It was frustrating, but I just calibrated the hydrometer, turns out it was 4 points off.

every one should calibrate their hydrometers with distilled water. If you get a reading for example of 1.002 (at the calibration temp., usually 60 deg.), subtract 2 from all future readings.

Edit:
For those of you who want to know the technical basis behind it read this BYO article:

http://www.byo.com/stories/projects-...ter-techniques

By only doing a single point calibration (i.e. if your hydrometer reads 1.004 in distilled water, you then subtract 4 from all future readings) we are assuming that the scale inside the hydrometer is correct (not elongated or compressed) if you want to get completely accurate about it read the a fore mentioned article.

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Old 02-22-2009, 10:20 PM   #2
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who the hell actually uses a hydromothingy

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Old 02-23-2009, 01:55 AM   #3
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Just to say...

Unless this is some sort of digital or electronic hydrometer, it cannot be calibrated. The typical glass hydrometers we use are made with all the calibration they will ever have.

What's being suggested here is to test how the hydrometer reads in distilled water at 60F or 68F, which ever it was made for.

There is no calibrating or changing a typical glass hydrometer. It is what it is.

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Old 02-23-2009, 02:01 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zul'jin View Post
Just to say...

Unless this is some sort of digital or electronic hydrometer, it cannot be calibrated. The typical glass hydrometers we use are made with all the calibration they will ever have.

What's being suggested here is to test how the hydrometer reads in distilled water at 60F or 68F, which ever it was made for.

There is no calibrating or changing a typical glass hydrometer. It is what it is.

Yes, you can't change anything, but you can take note of how off it is.

Test it in some distilled water and if it reads 1.002 at the right temp. then subtract 2 from any future readings.
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Old 02-23-2009, 01:32 PM   #5
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Quote:
There is no calibrating or changing a typical glass hydrometer. It is what it is.
Calibration is the comparison to a standard and either adjusting OR noting an offset. As long as something is consistent, that is all it takes.
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Old 02-23-2009, 06:42 PM   #6
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I used to do this everytime I bought a new hydrometer and I think last time I broke mine and got a new one I didn't bother. This thread reminded me to check. 4 points low. Explains why a lot of beers have been dropping to 1.010 when I was expecting 1.012 - 1.015

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Old 02-23-2009, 06:52 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rhymenoceros View Post
Yes, you can't change anything, but you can take note of how off it is.

Test it in some distilled water and if it reads 1.002 at the right temp. then subtract 2 from any future readings.
That is only true if the calibration is linear. Not sure whether or not that is the case but I think that it might be.
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Old 02-23-2009, 06:55 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by lmg95 View Post
That is only true if the calibration is linear. Not sure whether or not that is the case but I think that it might be.
No reason why it shouldn't be. The scale on the hydrometer has the same spacing between markings, it's just a matter of the paper strip not sitting at the right level in the glass.
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Old 02-23-2009, 07:01 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lmg95 View Post
That is only true if the calibration is linear. Not sure whether or not that is the case but I think that it might be.
"Your hydrometer should read 1.000 at the specified temperature when in pure water. If it reads either higher (1.001 or more) or lower (0.9999 or less), simply subtract or add the amount of the difference from your readings in wort or beer. For example, if your hydrometer reads 0.998 in pure water at 60°F (its calibration temperature) it is reading two "points" low and means that two "points" need to be added to any reading taken in wort or beer. In other words, if your wort reads 1.050, your corrected reading would be 1.052. Conversely if it read 1.002 in water, it is reading two "points" high and you would need to subtract two points from your reading, e.g. a wort or beer reading of 1.052 should be adjusted to 1.050."

Using and Calibrating a Hydrometer
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Old 02-23-2009, 07:04 PM   #10
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Until recently I had three hydrometers. Two read the same and one was significantly different. I just chucked the one that was off.

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