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Old 12-02-2009, 01:30 AM   #1
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Default Checking my specific Gravity without contaminating Beer

I'm a brand new Home Brewer, and my first batch ever is 7 days into fermentation. Everything has gone smoothly so far, but I checked my specific gravity by taking a sample with a siphon, which I cleaned with bleach and hot water. I probably won't get the chance to bottle for another 3 days or so, but I'm super paranoid about having contaminated my beer at this late stage. Do I have much to worry about or is it relatively unlikely that it could be significantly contaminated at this point? I'd hate for anything to go wrong on my first attempt. Thanks to anyone for their advice.

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Old 12-02-2009, 01:32 AM   #2
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If there were such a risk with takiing a hydrometer reading then why do you think every book, video, and forum advocates using one?

You know, there is so much telling brewers, what not to do, do you actually think folks would be saying to use your hydrometer so much? Is it a vast conspiracy to ruin millions of new brewer's batches, so that they flee the hobby and give it a bad rap?

Using basic sanitization, taking a hydrometer reading is no risk at all.

This is what I use, and it works with both buckets and carboys



And



Here's what I do....

1) With a spray bottle filled with starsan I spray the lid of my bucket, or the mouth of the carboy, including the bung. Then I spray my turkey baster inside and out with sanitize (or dunking it in a container of sanitizer).

2) Open fermenter.

3) Draw Sample

4) fill sample jar (usualy 2-3 turky baster draws

5)Spray bung or lid with sanitizer again

6) Close lid or bung

6) take reading

It is less than 30 seconds from the time the lid is removed until it is closed again.

Probably less if you have help.

And unless a bird swoops down and poops in your fermenter, you wont have any trouble.

So grow some stones little soldier and use it!!!!!!

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Old 12-02-2009, 01:32 AM   #3
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Should be fine so long as you didn't suck start our siphon and spit in your beer.

In the future, pick up a wine thief from your LHBS, or use a turkey baster. Just sanitize it first.

And pick up a sanitizer and stop using the bleach. Starsan is a great one to use and you can get it at pretty much any brew shop, locally or online.

edit: Dang yer quick, Rev

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Old 12-02-2009, 01:44 AM   #4
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Thanks for getting back to me so quickly. That's great advice, I will be sure to do that from now on. I'll add "turkey baster" to the shopping list. I think I had the cork off of the carboy for about 15 minutes all together, and I didn't suck start the siphon, so I'm not too worried. I guess I was just looking for some reassurance. Thanks again.

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Old 12-02-2009, 01:53 AM   #5
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I just picked up a really cool stainless one.



If you know of any resteraunt supply stores try to find the longest one you can find. The bigger the draw the less time your fermenter is open.

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Old 12-02-2009, 02:21 AM   #6
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I use a wine thief like this one:

You put it together, dip it in, put your thumb over the hole and then pull it out and empty it into your sample container. Really easy for me since I never mastered the art of using a turkey baster without squirting stuff all over the place.

When I'm done, it comes apart and goes right in the dishwasher.

Either tool works... unless you're a klutz like me.

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Old 12-02-2009, 03:01 AM   #7
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I use one of these



You can put a hydrometer right in it.

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Old 12-02-2009, 03:36 AM   #8
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I use a glass wine theif and it's okay but it's not really long enough and really fragile. I'm definately going to get a stainless baster or a good pipette in the near future though.

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Old 12-02-2009, 12:13 PM   #9
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Wine thief. You can get glass ones too if you're nervous.

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