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Old 04-09-2013, 12:31 AM   #1
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Default How do YOU take a hydrometer reading?

I use a plastic fermenter or a 6 gal bucket to ferment in with spigots. So to take my hydrometer readings I generally just use the spigot to fill up my hydrometer then discard the beer that I've taken out, as this seems the easiest way. My problem is...I'm wasting precious beer by doing this. Because of this I take as few readings as I can but I'm just wondering, is there a better way that I've missed? Cheers

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Old 04-09-2013, 12:35 AM   #2
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I always use a beer thief/turkey baster. Place it in the test tube and take my reading that way. Then I sample the beer. I do this habitually after 10 days of fermentation then again at 21 days. Usually it is done by then.

I would think using the spigot you would get some extra yeast cake in the sample. I'm not sure if that would alter your reading or not.

Discarding the beer is wasting beer. You might as well sample it so you get to know the process better and see how the beer develops over time.

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Old 04-09-2013, 12:36 AM   #3
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I have started to sanitize my hydrometer and put it in the fermentor directly. No issues yet but you gotta make sure you keep everything sanitized.

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Old 04-09-2013, 01:20 AM   #4
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I also put the sanitized hydrometer in the primary. If I pulled a sample big enough to set my hydrometer in, after I was done taking my reading, I'd drink that sample. Waste not, want not.

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Old 04-09-2013, 12:00 PM   #5
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I also use a thief. I transfer about 70ml over to a trial jar and take a reading from there. Surely putting a hydro straight into the beer gives for a hard reading?

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Old 04-09-2013, 12:11 PM   #6
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Another "thief" user here.

thief.jpg

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Old 04-09-2013, 12:17 PM   #7
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On brew day, as I start pumping the cooled wort into my fermenter, I aim the hose into my hydrometer tube first, then quickly move the hose into the carboy and fill it up. It's a little messy, but I haven't yet found a better way.

To check during fermenting, I used a santitized stainless steel turkey baster to steal a sample from the carboy.

After fermentation, when racking to the keg, I again collect the first bit from the siphon in my hydrometer tube, then quickly move the tube into the (bottom of the) keg.

Now that I've typed it out, I can see how my process is probably a little messier than it needs to be. I'm open to suggestions.

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Old 04-09-2013, 12:20 PM   #8
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I also use a thief to collect and sample the wort. Hydrometers fit nicely in the thief's tube and the sample size is relatively small. Of course I taste it after I get my reading.

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Old 04-09-2013, 12:20 PM   #9
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Agree with most of the above posters - using a sanitized beer thief to take my sample, then consume the beer once I've got my readings.

Again like most posters, I hate "wasting" this young beer that would otherwise make it to the bottle. I'm considering investing the $50-60 for a refractometer. It only needs a couple drops of wort to pull an accurate reading. To be fair, the SG scale looks like it's printed in very tiny font. Has anyone else tried this?

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Old 04-09-2013, 12:34 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Impulse115 View Post
I'm considering investing the $50-60 for a refractometer. It only needs a couple drops of wort to pull an accurate reading.
I've bought a refractrometer, but haven't used it yet, to be honest.

Note that refractrometers are only accurate for determining the O.G., before fermentation has produced any alcohol. After there is alcohol present, you must apply a formula and do some sort of conversion, as the straight reading is no longer accurate.
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