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Old 09-03-2009, 01:08 AM   #1
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Default Refractometer

I am thinking of investing in a refractometer to use in the brewing process. I've read that you can take samples during brew day to get your OG in the right place. I've read that you can use DME to get your specific gravity to where it needs to be. For example, if your OG is going to be too low you can add some DME to the wort to bring the OG up. How do you know how much DME to add or is the method to just add a little at a time while keeping testing on the refractometer?

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Old 09-03-2009, 01:10 AM   #2
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Ideally you would know your eff. and youd be within a couple points of target SG anyhow.

You could boil longer

Or you can input the recipe into a brewing software to determine how much DME you need to reach your target, from where you are.

If you add 1 pound of DME to 5 gallons of wort, it will raise the SG by about 9 points per Pro Mash.

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Old 09-03-2009, 01:18 AM   #3
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Refractometers are very handy. I like mine for being able to take a gravity from a few drops without waiting forever for it to cool.

As for adding DME to help hit your proper OG, it is a relatively simple calculation but I don't do it myself. I recommend beersmith software, but there are free brewing calculators on websites.

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Old 09-03-2009, 03:33 AM   #4
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I think one of the best things you can do with a meter is read the pre-boil gravity. This way, if you know you are high or low (and that you've hit your volumes). If you come in high you know you boil less and if you are low you can boil more. The great thing is that you can then continue to test when you start to get to the end of your boil. Several times i've realized my boil was too aggressive, so i knew to add some water to bring my gravity down while still having 5.5 gallons in the bucket. I also can tell if i need to raise my boil to get rid of more water in the remaining minutes to boil off some water to hit my OG.

I'm sure you can add DME, but if you hit the right volume of wort, then the meter gives you a great sense of where you stand at the end and you can usually adjust to finish on your numbers.

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Old 09-03-2009, 04:57 AM   #5
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Do use software? If you use something like beersmith it is very easy to figure out how much to add.

You simply take the reading and determine how many points off you are. If you add DME to the recipe in beersmith it will tell you how many points it adds.

If you don't use software, download beersmith and try it. It's free for a month, and well worth the $25 afterwards.

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Old 09-03-2009, 12:42 PM   #6
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For me, a refract is a must have for brewing. It allows you to make adjustments on the fly and as posted before, no more waiting for it to cool down.

Lets say your brewing and your take a refract reading at the end of the mash (OG) and you want to know what your SG will be after you boil.
Lets assume you had 8 gallons of runoff and your reading was 1.038. At the end of the boil you want to have 5.5 gallons of wort. (38x8)/5.5=55.3 or 1.055 Now you say to yourself, dang, I needed it to be 1.063 I'm 8 points short. Well we know that DME=45points per lb. & LME=38points per lb. but lets use DME for this example. (63-55)/45= .18 lbs of DME

Now I personally don't worry that much about ending up short, I just roll with what ever my system kicks out that day. I only use that DME I have around for makeing up starters or mixing it with icecream to make malted milk shakes!!

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Old 09-03-2009, 01:41 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Snafu View Post
I just roll with what ever my system kicks out that day.
+1. I don't even take a pre-boil gravity anymore unless I'm using some unusual technique like partigyle, or just brewing a huge beer. My system has shown reliable efficiency to the point that I know it will be within a couple of points and I'll just accept it for what it is. I still dig the refractometer though.
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Old 09-03-2009, 02:28 PM   #8
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I don't recommend this tool, it is too inacurate. Mine lies deep in the drawer, I use it only occasionaly, for more coarse measurements.

You can spend the money better.

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Old 09-03-2009, 02:54 PM   #9
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I will be using a top'o'the line refractometer form work this weekend. It's one of those fancy digital refractometers that cost $600. I'm planning to do a check of my brewing efficiency and the thing is deadly accurate. After that, I don't really think a refractometer's necessary, the hydrometer works fine. I have been blindly going along making beer that tastes good with no idea of PH or SG. I guess, I just trust in Beersmith and follow the recipe.

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Old 09-03-2009, 03:06 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Piotr View Post
I don't recommend this tool, it is too inacurate. Mine lies deep in the drawer, I use it only occasionaly, for more coarse measurements.

You can spend the money better.
I don't agree. mine is dead nuts on with hydrometer
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