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Old 09-28-2009, 05:53 PM   #1
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Default Leaving hydrometer in secondary

I'm told that a few consecutive gravity measurements will indicate that my beer is ready to be bottled. Does anyone have any thoughts about just dropping my hydrometer in my secondary carboy and leaving it there so that I dont have to draw samples? I believe there is enough head space at the neck.

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Old 09-28-2009, 06:08 PM   #2
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You're putting this into a carboy? If it were me, I wouldn't, mostly because in tipping things over to get it out, I'd worry about breaking it. Hydrometers are ridiculously fragile. On the other hand, I wouldn't have any major problems with putting it into a plastic fermentation bucket where I could just reach down and pluck it out when ready. Of course, be sure you sanitize it before doing this.

If you do this, though, do it after the krausen falls. Otherwise, it'll get gunked up with stuff which will change its weight and make all of its readings inaccurate.

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Old 09-28-2009, 06:44 PM   #3
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I do the very same thing when I use a secondary mostly because it is a 5 gallon carboy and I have been making smaller brews, around 3 - 3.5 gal. With all that headspace I don't want to open the airlock at any time. So, I drop the hydrometer in and wait it out. So far so good. I just remove it at cleaning time when I fill the secondary up with water.

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Old 09-28-2009, 07:04 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GLWIII View Post
I do the very same thing when I use a secondary mostly because it is a 5 gallon carboy and I have been making smaller brews, around 3 - 3.5 gal. With all that headspace I don't want to open the airlock at any time. So, I drop the hydrometer in and wait it out. So far so good. I just remove it at cleaning time when I fill the secondary up with water.
If you are using a carboy, how the hell do you get it out without breaking it? like the previous post stated, these things are very fragile.
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Old 09-28-2009, 07:05 PM   #5
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Your beer should be finished fermenting before you transfer to a secondary, so there wouldn't be a point in putting it in secondary.

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Old 09-28-2009, 07:09 PM   #6
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I don't even check my gravity unless I'm racking to secondary or bottling. What's the point?

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Old 09-28-2009, 07:19 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by PseudoChef View Post
Your beer should be finished fermenting before you transfer to a secondary, so there wouldn't be a point in putting it in secondary.
This is true, but a matter of personal preference. "Primary fermentation" by definition may be over before you ever get close to FG. I frequently rack to a secondary after Krausen has fallen.

I've done the hydrometer in a secondary thing before and the most difficult things were keeping it from migrating to the side of the carboy, and being able to clearly read the hydrometer readin.
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Old 09-28-2009, 07:22 PM   #8
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"Primary fermentation" by definition may be over before you ever get close to FG.
How is this possible? If it is dropping points, then it is fermenting.
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Old 09-28-2009, 07:32 PM   #9
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How is this possible? If it is dropping points, then it is fermenting.
Yes, absolutely. I didn't imply that it is not fermenting. I was simply pointing out that there is a difference in "primary fermentation" and "primary fermenters."

http://www.howtobrew.com/section1/chapter8-2-2.html

I don't want my beer to be 100% complete when I rack. I still want to have 20-30% left when I transfer (if I do--depending on the style, how much room I have, and how long I'm actually planning on leaving in any fermenting vessel). In this case, the yeast still have a little work to do and I have less to worry about autolysis (debatable topic--that's why I originally said "personal preference"). I can still allow the yeast to creat it's own natural CO2 barrier in the headspace of the secondary.
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Old 09-28-2009, 07:35 PM   #10
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Don't leave it in there. It will get all gunked up and not work properly. If you are worried about taking too many samples, look into a refractometer or brew balls.

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