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Old 10-20-2012, 11:45 PM   #1
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Default refractometer question

I have noticed something that is odd to me when measuring the og with my refractometer. Like I am sure most are, it has brix on the left side and gravity points on the right. An example of what is messing with me is this. Todays beer ended with a brix of 23, which on the right side of the refractometer reads about 1.088. When I compare 23 brix to online tables or enter that amount in the refractbeer excel sheet it says I am closer to 1.096.This is with og measurement so no fermentation has occurred. Which one is right?

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Old 10-21-2012, 12:37 AM   #2
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Btw this is a refratometer from ahs that has atc if that helps. http://www.austinhomebrew.com/produc...oducts_id=1014

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Old 10-21-2012, 12:50 AM   #3
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It looks like you may have a dud scale there. The units I have put 23 brix at around 1.096 also.

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Old 10-21-2012, 12:54 AM   #4
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Odd, it the printed scale. Nothing to be calibrated, or that can move. It would be odd but completely possible that it was printed incorrectly.

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Old 10-21-2012, 04:11 PM   #5
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They are made in China afterall.

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Old 10-21-2012, 04:27 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kranak
Odd, it the printed scale. Nothing to be calibrated, or that can move. It would be odd but completely possible that it was printed incorrectly.
I am checking mine out as we speak. I grabbed the dual scale from homebrewfinds.com. using it yesterday I had a similar discrepancy. Luckily I had my old brix-only unit to fall back on.
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Old 10-21-2012, 04:44 PM   #7
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I calibrated both refractometers with 68F water and did some measurements. My old one is dead nuts accurate. The dual scale brix side was pretty darn close...but the SG scale was completely off. Yes I could have checked that just by looking at the scale without even taking a sample but I wanted to check everything. So, brix side, very close. SG side - ignore. No wonder this thing was $24.95. I got this off of ebay and will get no refund, but you might want to talk to AHS as they are a reputable store on the off chance that you just got a bad one.

I have to say one positive is that the scale inside when you are viewing is huge...it's much larger than my original unit, so it reads easier. I'll probably use it just because of that. How's that for putting whipped cream on horsesh*t?

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Old 10-21-2012, 04:55 PM   #8
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The brix scale is a measure of the amount of sucrose in a solution. Wort contains very little sucrose, but relatively large amounts of maltose and maltotriose. The conversion from brix to S.G. is different for a wine must (almost 100% sucrose) and beer wort (mainly maltose and maltotriose). Because of this, it is not possible to have a S.G. scale on the refractometer that is accurate for both beers and wines. Most refractometers with a dual scale have an S.G. scale calibrated for wine, but there may be some where the S.G. scale is calibrated for beer. Even if you have one that is calibrated for beer, the calibration will change slightly, depending on what went into the wort.

-a.

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Old 10-21-2012, 04:56 PM   #9
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Ill send a note to Austin, but at least I know to read the brix side. I broke my hydrometer so I had nothing to check against.

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Old 10-21-2012, 05:25 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ajf View Post
The brix scale is a measure of the amount of sucrose in a solution. Wort contains very little sucrose, but relatively large amounts of maltose and maltotriose. The conversion from brix to S.G. is different for a wine must (almost 100% sucrose) and beer wort (mainly maltose and maltotriose). Because of this, it is not possible to have a S.G. scale on the refractometer that is accurate for both beers and wines. Most refractometers with a dual scale have an S.G. scale calibrated for wine, but there may be some where the S.G. scale is calibrated for beer. Even if you have one that is calibrated for beer, the calibration will change slightly, depending on what went into the wort.

-a.
I did not know that. Interesting. So brix is actually a wine-making scale. Professional brewers use Plato if I understand it correctly, and we homebrewers use SG. I have wondered why there were so many scales, this provides at least one answer.
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