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Old 03-27-2012, 07:16 AM   #1
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Default Hydrometer readings

When your hydrometer readings stay consistent for a few days, that's a sign that fermentation is complete, right? So how do you take the reading -- is it OK to just pop open your primary and pull a sample? That's not bad for the beer?

newb questions abound!

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Old 03-27-2012, 07:39 AM   #2
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Pretty much just as simple as you stated. Make sure whatever you use to pull the sample is sanitized and the rule of thumb is not to pour your sample back into the wort for risk of infection.

And no. It is not bad for the beer except with each SG reading taken a few ounces of beer is lost and will never be carbonated and drunk at it's fullest potential. What do they call that in war? ... Hmmm acceptable losses. Sad.

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Old 03-27-2012, 07:40 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jvp1 View Post
When your hydrometer readings stay consistent for a few days, that's a sign that fermentation is complete, right? So how do you take the reading -- is it OK to just pop open your primary and pull a sample? That's not bad for the beer?

newb questions abound!
yes, just dont leave it exposed for that long. generally the amount of co2 from the beer wont allow outside particles etc get in.
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Old 03-27-2012, 01:41 PM   #4
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Quote:
What do they call that in war? ... Hmmm acceptable losses.
Collateral Damage!

JVP, go get a turkey baster from Target/WalMart. They cost about $3-4. Before you take your sample from the beer/wort, just spray it inside and out with starsan or your favorite sanatizer, let the excess sanatizer drain/dry, then take your sample for the hydrometer reading. In order to avoid the "collateral damage," after I check my gravity, I then put my sample in a shotglass in the freezer for about 10 minutes and enjoy a cold wort sample shot. Sometimes the sample's almost as good as the finished beer!
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Old 03-27-2012, 02:50 PM   #5
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Yep! Just sanitize your glass/baster. Don't open your lid on your fermentor until you've ready to do the sample. Then immediately put the lid back on (the less exposure to air the better). Then take your reading and disgard your sample. To be honest, I like to drink the sample. Obviously you need to take the taste with a grain of salt but you can usually get an idea of what it will be like. Better than throwing it out in my book!

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Old 03-28-2012, 06:32 AM   #6
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Thanks for the advice! I'll grab a baster soon.

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Old 03-28-2012, 07:30 AM   #7
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I use a sanitized hydrometer in a sanitized thief, pull my sample , check it and return it.

Pulling the airlock of the carboy for that amount of time wont hurt anything.
Or just float a spare hydrometer in the carboy after the krausen stage and glance at it every time you walk by until it looks in the ballpark then take a real reading.

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Old 03-28-2012, 12:59 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkIafrate
Yep! Just sanitize your glass/baster. Don't open your lid on your fermentor until you've ready to do the sample. Then immediately put the lid back on (the less exposure to air the better). Then take your reading and disgard your sample. To be honest, I like to drink the sample. Obviously you need to take the taste with a grain of salt but you can usually get an idea of what it will be like. Better than throwing it out in my book!

Mark
+1 I use the sample to taste as well, returning the sample to the fermenter just is one more chance of inviting infection into your beer
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Old 03-29-2012, 10:42 PM   #9
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All went fine. Used a sanitized baster, filled the test jar, took my reading then took a swig. Not bad so far!

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Old 03-29-2012, 11:29 PM   #10
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If you use a carboy, that is the best method. I use buckets and just take the gravity reading right in the bucket. Sanitize the hydrometer and there is not more risk of infection than using a baster, and no collateral damage. Course you don't get to taste!

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