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Old 01-16-2011, 11:25 PM   #1
iijakii
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Default Just bought a refractometer!

So I brew in a place where I don't have much of an opportunity to cool down my wort at all; I no chill. I love no-chill, but I've been having massive issues with accurate gravity readings. I've been using a hydro, thermometer and temperature-adjust chart, but I've been getting some pretty far off readings. Lead to 16 gallons of pretty sub-par beer.

Hope this helps! Cheers to being able to take good readings during mash and boil.

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Old 01-17-2011, 05:18 PM   #2
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hmmm. Cool toy for sure. I have two (in case one breaks). They do make checking your run-off readings a lot quicker and easier. Make sure you know the conversion from Brix to SG/plato before you start. I usually end my run off at Brix 2-3 (2 is a little low, but I am cheap).

Also what is 'sub-par' about your beer. it sounds as if there may be something else going on that is affecting the flavor as the other is just knowing how much alcohol there is.

Also, I wouldn't suggest using the refractometer on the finished beer (unless you have a spreadsheet that has O.G., 'cause it will not give an accurate result due to alcohol refracts differently than sugar and messes up the reading).

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Old 01-17-2011, 05:47 PM   #3
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Subpar as in watery. My hydrometer and temp adjust chart would say I was right on where my SG was supposed to be, then the next day when cool it'd read a lot lower.

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Old 01-17-2011, 06:29 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by rshosted View Post
Also, I wouldn't suggest using the refractometer on the finished beer (unless you have a spreadsheet that has O.G., 'cause it will not give an accurate result due to alcohol refracts differently than sugar and messes up the reading).
I haven't bought a refrac for this reason, doesn't seem to make much sense to buy something that only work half the time. However the speed at which you can get a reading and not having to waste as much Wort are very attractive.

I know there are charts to convert the readings post fermentation, Does anyone know how accurate they are?
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Old 01-17-2011, 06:32 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Yankeehillbrewer View Post
I haven't bought a refrac for this reason, doesn't seem to make much sense to buy something that only work half the time. However the speed at which you can get a reading and not having to waste as much Wort are very attractive.

I know there are charts to convert the readings post fermentation, Does anyone know how accurate they are?
I've read many posts and have seen Bobby_M's youtube demonstration where it was right on the money of where his hydrometer was saying. I really just want it for taking SG readings during mash and boil, so I'm not worried about that anyways though.
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Old 01-17-2011, 06:44 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Yankeehillbrewer View Post
I haven't bought a refrac for this reason, doesn't seem to make much sense to buy something that only work half the time. However the speed at which you can get a reading and not having to waste as much Wort are very attractive.

I know there are charts to convert the readings post fermentation, Does anyone know how accurate they are?
I've had reasonable success post fermentation with low gravity beers (about 1.040), but as the gravity increases so do the errors.

I use mine to monitor the sparge and estimate the OG. It's great for that; but I use a finishing hydrometer to get the FG. Because I don't use a hydrometer on brew day, I don't break them any more, and not having to buy new hydrometers all the time has more than paid for the refractometer.

-a.
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Old 01-17-2011, 07:06 PM   #7
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As you found out, hydros are useless for hot wort, even with correction.

The refractometer is golden for that purpose. I read Brix and mulitply by 4 to get SG. The actual SG is a little higher, but I'm usually just ballparking at that point.

Don't mothball you hydro, though. Refracts don't work once there is alcohol in there (even with correction, they don't work well).

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Old 01-17-2011, 07:16 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by rshosted View Post
Also, I wouldn't suggest using the refractometer on the finished beer (unless you have a spreadsheet that has O.G., 'cause it will not give an accurate result due to alcohol refracts differently than sugar and messes up the reading).
http://www.austinhomebrew.com/produc...ducts_id=12574

It's been pretty accurate.
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Old 01-17-2011, 09:27 PM   #9
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I love my refractometer for brewtime validation.

I wish there was one tool for brewtime and ferment time, but you have to hang on to the hydrometer.

My hydrometer measures water at .096, so I always have to add 4 points for an accurate room temp measurement. Be aware of your needed correction or you'll be confused at the readings in relation to your refractometer.

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