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Old 02-09-2009, 07:54 PM   #1
Donthoseme
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Default refractometer vs hydrometer

So i have broken 5 hydrometers in the last 3 years and i've also heard numerous stories about the paper inside slipping and thus making them worth old shoes. How much is a refractometer and how easy to use is it. Are they more accurate and how big must the sample be? Thanks for the help.

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Old 02-09-2009, 08:02 PM   #2
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Let me google that for you

The first result is an excellent thread that should answer your question.
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Old 02-09-2009, 08:02 PM   #3
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My first hydrometer broke before I even got to use it. I got a 0-32 Brix ATC Refractometer on Ebay for around $35 shipped, I could never go back. Especially since you can easily take readings during the boil, and you only waste two drops of beer rather than a whole sample glass every time you use it. Just make sure you're using a calculator like this one when you're using it post-fermentation, since alcohol throws the readings off.

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Old 02-09-2009, 08:04 PM   #4
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If you look around on eBay, where I just bought mine, you can find them for cheap. Mine was $35 shipped, just used it for the first time on Saturday. The pro's are that you can take samples of boiling wort, during the boil, and figure out your SG at that point, making it easier to hit your target gravity...this is because it's not temp-sensitive. Also, you only need a couple drops on the lens to read it.

Cons are that it gets screwy when you're taking final gravity readings, because alcohol interferes with its accuracy. Most brewing software programs have a correction tool for this, though.

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Old 02-09-2009, 08:10 PM   #5
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I use a refractometer during sparging and boiling, and then actually take OG and FG readings with the hydrometer. I have done quite a few AG batches without one but now that I have one I cannot imagine going without.

If you get a refractometer, you don't want to be doing temperature adjustments so get one with ATC. The temperature of the refractometer, not of the sample is what matters. The thermal mass of the sample is so small that it will equalize to the temperature of the refractometer instantly.

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Old 02-09-2009, 08:25 PM   #6
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thank you! I'm going to go ahead and get one.

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Old 02-10-2009, 08:47 AM   #7
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I had bad experience with refractometer. They say it needs only one point calibration, 0 on destilled water, but for mine it was not sufficient (i have cheap chinese ATC refractometer), I was getting forged results for some 20 batches...

Readings are inconsistent, you need to carefully prepare a sample and gain some experience before you get good results.

Even if you buy one, dont get rid of hydrometer and double-check the measurements frequently.

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Old 02-10-2009, 02:14 PM   #8
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I love my refractometer. It has made brewing days easier. I guess I've had it for about a year.


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Old 02-10-2009, 02:21 PM   #9
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I equate my hydrometer to a cell phone: Got by fine without it, but once I used it, I can't brew without it. I have found my readings to be consistently accurate both during boil and during fermentation, using the correction tools.

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Old 02-11-2009, 12:19 AM   #10
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+1 love my refractometer. I have only used my hydrometer 1 or 2 times in the past 2 years.

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