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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Beginners Beer Brewing Forum > Leaving hydrometer in primary during fermentation?
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Old 12-04-2012, 02:06 PM   #1
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Was reading some threads on here, and it occurred to me, could you leave your hydrometer in the beer the whole time it is in primary? Or even after the major fermentation is done.

I'd imagine during main phase of fermentation, the hydrometer would be covered in gunk, but lets say a week or so after fermentation, drop it in, take a reading, leave it in there. This would cut down on possibility of infection, correct? Just open it up, read it, close back up. No need to sanitize the hydrometer everytime. And if you use a carboy, won't even have to open it up, just read it through the glass.

Just a question. Wondering if it'd work or not...

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Old 12-04-2012, 02:14 PM   #2
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I just tried this and the all the foam dried on the hydrometer like it does on the sides of the fermenter and it was illegible!

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Old 12-04-2012, 02:28 PM   #3
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I suppose this would work, however the problems I see are:

1) What if you have multiple batches on the go at the same time? You'd need multiple hydrometers.
2) You'd have to delicately remove it after racking, being careful not to break it as it slides out of the carboy.
3) You'd lose the opportunity to smell/taste your sample and see if any off-flavors are developing (you DO drink your gravity samples, right?)

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Old 12-04-2012, 02:30 PM   #4
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I usually spray my hydrometer down with starsan, plop it in bucket, take reading, cover it up. Don't usually take samples to taste until bottling day...

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Old 12-04-2012, 02:40 PM   #5
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CO2 affecting your readings might be a slight concern, but yet this is an idea I've considered myself.

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Old 12-04-2012, 03:25 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peppers16 View Post
CO2 affecting your readings might be a slight concern, but yet this is an idea I've considered myself.
Even a bubble or two clinging to the hydrometer can give a false reading, that's why you should always give it a spin before getting a reading. This tends to get the bubbles off the glass.

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Old 12-04-2012, 03:27 PM   #7
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Old 12-04-2012, 03:31 PM   #8
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The risk of infecting your beer because you open the lid to take a reading is nearly nonexistent. The hydrometer would become so caked with both CO2 bubbles (under the surface) and gunk (at the surface), that you would need to remove it, wash it and replace it for an effective reading.

There really is no benefit to leaving a hydrometer in your fermenter.

(Plus – you need your hydrometer handy to measure the gravity in your other 4-5 fermenters.)

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Old 12-04-2012, 03:50 PM   #9
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On top of all the afore mentioned reasons, there's also the simple fact of trying to read where exactly the meniscus lies on the hydrometer looking down into a bucket, you almost have to put your nose on the lip to be able to see where it is falling. Add to that the hop and trub gunk....

Just learn to take a proper reading, and when to, and don't worry about it.

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Old 12-04-2012, 04:08 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chungking View Post
I usually spray my hydrometer down with starsan, plop it in bucket, take reading, cover it up. Don't usually take samples to taste until bottling day...
For my first few batches I never tasted my wort at all, mainly because I didn't own a hydrometer back then. As soon as I started taking SG readings, I realized how important it is to taste how your beer is progressing. Even if fermentation is done, the beer might have of tastes/flavors from fermentation that can still be cleaned up by the yeast over the next week or two. That's why I've been refraining from bottling until I have a consistant OG and a sample that tastes close to the style I'm going for.
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