Originally Posted by CraigKing
So let me get this straight - I should have both a hydrometer and refractometer?
And I should use the refracto for taking OG readings, then use my hydro for FG readings?
no, you don't need to do that, one or the other will suffice. It's a little 'horses for courses' as far as which you prefer and how you want to approach readings. example, I brew in smaller batches.. 2.5 to 3g. It's not advantageous for me to be drawing enough beer from the fermentor to take readings everyday with a hydro for a certain stretch of days. So I thieve some drips onto a refractometer. It saves me beer. The refrac is visually accurate with any liquid so long as it doesn't have any alcohol.. like a wort. But FG readings will be skewed due to alcohol in the liquid. There's a reacharound for this; a really nice guy went through the trouble of creating an excel file for the rest of us with macros that do the math in elegant fashion. His name is sean terrill and you can google it. I love this file, because it also keep track of how my yeast have been preforming among various bathes in a single screen shot. The hydro is more or less accurate regardless of alcohol content, og or fg. Refrac is a little more expensive, but not nearly as delicate as a hydrometer over time. Partly for that reason I prefer a refrac.