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Old 03-08-2010, 10:40 PM   #1
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Default Hydrometer Accuracy

Just out of curiosity are there any factors that could throw a hydrometer reading where what you read is not indicative of the true ABV% in a beer? The reason I ask is that my first beer, according to OG/FG should have an ABV of 8.57% alcohol. However, after drinking it almost everyone has noticed that the inebriating effect of a simple 12 oz glass is like drinking a double whiskey and Coke. The flavor is not overly alcoholic in nature, in fact it has a very sweet, malty character, but the warmth it produces in the belly reminds one of a very strong drink.

Having drank a multitude of different beers and having a good idea of what one beer's effect would be at a certain ABV I would say that the beer feels more like %10-11 ABV. Is there any chance something is "fooling" the hydrometer? Or could the ABV have changed that dramatically after bottling (the FG reading)? I would think if the ABV had changed that much in the bottle I would have gotten bottle bombs or gushers. Neither of those things have occurred.

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Old 03-08-2010, 10:47 PM   #2
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Temperature. They are calibrated to "0" at 60 degrees and higher than that you have to added extra to account for each 10 higher than 60.
Try yours at 60 in plain water and see if it says 0

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Old 03-08-2010, 10:58 PM   #3
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Temperature. They are calibrated to "0" at 60 degrees and higher than that you have to added extra to account for each 10 higher than 60.
Try yours at 60 in plain water and see if it says 0
That makes total sense. Thanks for the quick reply.
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Old 03-08-2010, 11:00 PM   #4
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Make sure your measurement vessel is of enough diameter that your hydro is not suffering from adhesion(light as it may be) to the sides of the vessel. The clear tube that holds the hydro is not meant to be used as a test vessel. I'd suggest brewing a 1.010 sugar water solution and take a measurement at 60 degrees. Then a 1.020, 1.030, etc. This will confirm you are getting accurate readings. I don't recall the proportions, do some searching you'll find the threads you need.

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Old 03-09-2010, 12:34 AM   #5
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If partial boiling with extract, then topping off with water, it's difficult to completely mix the 5 gallons of wort, which means that some parts are more or less dense than other parts. Rather than measuring the OG, just assume whatever a program says it should be. In an extract recipe, as long as the ingredients are correct, you can't actually miss the OG.

Also, 8.57% IS a strong beer. 12 oz of 8.57% beer is equivalent to 1.7 shots (2.55 oz) of 80-proof (40%) liquor (e.g. rum).

So what were your measured and predicted OG, and measured FG (corrected to 60-deg)?

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Old 03-09-2010, 11:01 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JiveTurkey View Post
Also, 8.57% IS a strong beer. 12 oz of 8.57% beer is equivalent to 1.7 shots (2.55 oz) of 80-proof (40%) liquor (e.g. rum).
Quote:
Originally Posted by PhelanKA7
after drinking it almost everyone has noticed that the inebriating effect of a simple 12 oz glass is like drinking a double whiskey and Coke.
Those two quotes make me thing that the beer is exactly where it needs to be.

"It tastes like two shots of liquor in a 12-ounce glass of liquid"
"That much alcohol would be about two shots of liquor in a 12-ounce glass of liquid"

I say good job!
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Old 03-09-2010, 12:37 PM   #7
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Come to think of it, my wort was around 60° when I took OG, and about 73° when I took my FG reading. I'm thinking that had something to do with it.

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Old 03-18-2010, 10:28 PM   #8
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Quote:
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Come to think of it, my wort was around 60° when I took OG, and about 73° when I took my FG reading. I'm thinking that had something to do with it.
Always adjust an SG reading taken at a temperature other than 60 deg-F (or whatever the hydrometer is calibrated at). Use this or something similar: http://hbd.org/cgi-bin/recipator/rec...ydrometer.html
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Old 03-18-2010, 10:44 PM   #9
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You can still take an FG for your beer... after pouring in a glass just let it get up to 60F & drop the hydrometer in. Voila!

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Old 03-18-2010, 10:47 PM   #10
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plus priming sugar adds ~0.3% ABV...

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