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-   -   How much is too much: Hydrometer readings taking my beer away! (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f39/how-much-too-much-hydrometer-readings-taking-my-beer-away-179546/)

Brewbelly 05-25-2010 06:02 PM

How much is too much: Hydrometer readings taking my beer away!
I use the hydrometer. Yes.
I also want as much finished product/beer as possible. Yes

I have noticed many people take several Hydrometer readings 2-3 days in a row looking for the "finished fermenting" thing.

So.. this leads me to my topic: If I take a reading before primary and then 3 times after primary to check for completion, All that beer just goes to waste! (even if I drink the sampling, of course)

That's about a half gallon of beer wasted! By my notes, a half gallon is a growler of beer, which is also $10 at least at a brewery.

Is there a better way?

I have thought about using the little hydrometer's packing tube to do the readings, because it is much much smaller than the big science beaker thing I'm currently using.

MgMt_Home_Brew 05-25-2010 06:11 PM

I typically don't take more than 1 or 2 readings. However on a normal brew I don't even think about taking a reading until something like 2 weeks has passed. Typically the reading is down to where I want it by that point so there is no need to take another.

I don't use a secondary though and I leave my batches in the primary for 3-4 weeks before going straight to a keg and bottle.

tamoore 05-25-2010 06:12 PM

Pitch the correct amount of yeast.
Leave it alone for three weeks, minding the temp.
When you're ready to bottle/keg it, check it once. If you did everything right, it'll be done. ;)

carnevoodoo 05-25-2010 06:12 PM

I take one hydrometer reading to ensure my beer is done, but I wait a couple of weeks and I know what I'm looking for when I do. My beer is always done fermenting before I check and I use it to keep notes on the finished product. You can use the thinner tube as long as the hydrometer doesn't stick to the sides. The more you take these readings and the more you know about the process, the more you'll know what to expect. In the meantime, it is worth knowing that your beer is on track.

At the very least wait the two weeks, take a reading, and then take a second reading three days later. That should do it for you.

KevinW 05-25-2010 06:17 PM

If you are careful about sanitizing all of your equipment you could just put the sample back into the fermentor. I do NOT recommend this but it is an option!

Another option is to get a gravity sample tube, should be smaller than than the beaker you are using, I think they are about 3 or 4 oz's.

I usually just wait at least 3 weeks for primary then bottle. Of course I take a gravity reading at bottling time. This is what I do and has worked for me so far.

Good luck!

tonkota 05-25-2010 06:21 PM

I have a hydrometer, I don't even bother using it. I guess I don't really care to find out exactly how much alcohol is in a brew. I don't drink more than a couple anyway. Flavor is more important to me.

You could get a refractometer since they require much less brew.

BendBrewer 05-25-2010 06:25 PM

I brew beer just to drink. I'll take an O.G. right before I pitch to see how efficient my brew day was and than just trust my yeast will do its thing.

After 2 weeks in Primary, rack to keg and carb. If something seems out of the ordinary during fermentation I might check the gravity again, but normally I just let it do what it is going to do and keg it.

Others who are more into replicating recipes or are anal about the styles would call me lazy and I would agree with them but I just want something to drink and it works for me.

Brewbelly 05-25-2010 06:33 PM

I usually just take two readings. Pre-fermentation.. then post-fermentation after all the bubbling has slowed to about 1/min.

FermentedNovice 05-25-2010 06:33 PM


Originally Posted by KevinW (Post 2078773)
If you are careful about sanitizing all of your equipment you could just put the sample back into the fermentor. I do NOT recommend this but it is an option!

This is what I do. I use a Fermtech wine thief, which is easy to get the sample back into the beer. I make DARNED sure everything is sanitized well, though, being meticulous about the wine thief and the hydrometer. I figure it's made me more paranoid than I was when I was using my turkey baster, so I'm probably safer than I was before. It's a decent product, but if you were doing smaller batches, I wouldn't recommend it, as it can be harder to fill with less than 5 gallons of beer.

As a fellow brewer who hates wasting a drop, good luck, and please note -- my two cents is typically worth far less than two cents.

SoonerDoc 05-25-2010 06:35 PM

I put the samples back. If I sanitize properly and I put the thief in the beer in the first place, how much worse can it be putting the sample back? The only other surface introduced to the sample is the hydrometer.
And I only take, at most, 2 samples after the OG reading. First, give plenty of time to finish fermenting, don't rush it. Then take a reading, wait 2 more days (or more) and take another reading. If they are the same, then the days in the middle should be the same as well.

Maybe I've been lucky but that's what I do.

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