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Old 04-09-2005, 05:16 PM   #21
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Default Us or Imperial?

I have found that (as a Brit) I'm constantly having to calculate between different measuring standards - US gallons to Imperial, metric to US etc etc.
Most recipes I have found on the net do not specify US or Imperial. This is significant because 5 US gallons is 4 Imperial! Also, I have to buy DME in kg measures. Mixing these standards is a situation just waiting for you to forget to convert or use the wrong calculation etc... if this sounds suspiciously like I'm speaking from experience...
As an aside, hydrometer readings are standardised at 59 degrees F. At 65 F you add 0.0006 and at70 F 0.0012. at 75 F 0.0018. The corrections are pretty small though. Hardly seems significant.

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Old 04-12-2005, 05:51 PM   #22
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What's the point of a hydrometer? Other than taking multiple readings at the end to tell if the fermentation has completed it seems more complicated than it is helpful. I don't really feel like crunching numbers on my beer. I do this for fun and for beer, but I'll be damned if I'm going to work at it.

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Old 04-12-2005, 06:07 PM   #23
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Well the main use besides what you mentioned is that it lets you estimate the %ABV of your beer. But I'm with you, I don't really need to know, I'm still gonna drink it no matter what that number is...

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Old 04-12-2005, 06:54 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by myndphaser
What's the point of a hydrometer? Other than taking multiple readings at the end to tell if the fermentation has completed it seems more complicated than it is helpful. I don't really feel like crunching numbers on my beer. I do this for fun and for beer, but I'll be damned if I'm going to work at it.
I couldn't agree more. It is unnecessary to brewing good beer. Use it only if it adds something to the brewing process for you. If you want to think about gravity readings, go for it. They can certainly be useful if you're really getting serious and particular about a specific batch. Or for analyzing your mash efficiency.

But hydrometers are really overemphasized as a necessary tool, especially when extract brewing, and serve to stress out new brewers who put too much relevance in the readings. With extract brews, you're basically mixing beer Kool-Aid...the gravity will be what it will be, and the FG will be what it will be. There aren't the variables inherent to all grain brewing that can affect gravity, so you really don't need to worry about it.

I've brewed many gallons of beer and I don't own a hydrometer.
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Old 04-13-2005, 03:51 PM   #25
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When formulating recipes, the OG is a key component. When you are trying to dial something in over the course of several batches, it's pretty much a necessity to know what your OG is, otherwise, you're just relying on blind luck to give you what you want. A hydrometer is also essential for repeating recipes. The hydrometer can also be used as a trouble shooting device. A lower than expected OG can indicate a drop in efficiency (for all grain brewing), a poor grind, poor quality grain, etc. Just think of it as one more tool to tell you about your beer.

If you really don't care about repeating recipes or note taking, a hydrometer is certainly optional. As mentioned here, many people don't use them. But if you make a good beer, trying to repeat it can be difficult or nearly impossible if you don't even know where you started. Ingredient amounts are never enough to duplicate a recipe given grains from multiple sources with varying shelf ages. In cases like these, the hydrometer can tell you quite a bit. Personally, I wouldn't brew without one.

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Old 04-13-2005, 04:24 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Special brew
I have found that (as a Brit) I'm constantly having to calculate between different measuring standards - US gallons to Imperial, metric to US etc etc. Most recipes I have found on the net do not specify US or Imperial. This is significant because 5 US gallons is 4 Imperial! Also, I have to buy DME in kg measures. Mixing these standards is a situation just waiting for you to forget to convert or use the wrong calculation etc... if this sounds suspiciously like I'm speaking from experience...As an aside, hydrometer readings are standardised at 59 degrees F. At 65 F you add 0.0006 and at70 F 0.0012. at 75 F 0.0018. The corrections are pretty small though. Hardly seems significant.
With your nationality you should have no problem deciphering whether or not measurements are in US pounds or metrics. As for myself, I would consider the source of the recipe (US or not). Last I checked, all US recipes would be in pounds since we (collectively speaking) Americans are too ignorant to learn the much easier measurement system (metrics - a system based on 10's versus 12 (inches) and 16 (oz)). I lived in Germany for 9 years (like you, I know how to use both systems) and really don't mind doing the mental exercises. (It's a lot like all the idiots out there...I don't mind them (most of the time) because they all make me look smarter ).

I believe hydrometers are "calibrated" at 60 F, not 59.

I agree with your comment on the hydrometer numbers, your numbers would be pretty insignificant by a power of 10 since they are wrong. Check your numbers again...you have too many (significant) zeroes in there.

Cheers!
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Old 04-13-2005, 11:25 PM   #27
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My point was that hydrometer readings tend to make the whole process more anal than necessary. I'm going to drink almost anything I can make regardless of the OG readings, and prefer to have something that is different from what I made last. If you keep striving to repeat something you are preventing yourself from striving for something better. If a sheet of paper tells you that your OG should be 1.0XX and your wort doesn't match that, who cares. Write down what you got and move on. As I understand it, brewing is a craft, not a science. Get the brewing out of the lab and back to the garage, basement, closet, kitchen or wherever else it might take place for you.

On the other hand, if you like to be meticulous and want to repeat everything exactly as you did before instead of trying to make tweak or improvements, then by all means do so. I'm just saying that for me I'd rather play around with the process and ingredients and if it tastes good this time I'll try to make it better next time.

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Old 04-21-2005, 01:57 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by homebrewer_99
With your nationality you should have no problem deciphering whether or not measurements are in US pounds or metrics. As for myself, I would consider the source of the recipe (US or not). Last I checked, all US recipes would be in pounds since we (collectively speaking) Americans are too ignorant to learn the much easier measurement system (metrics - a system based on 10's versus 12 (inches) and 16 (oz)). I lived in Germany for 9 years (like you, I know how to use both systems) and really don't mind doing the mental exercises. (It's a lot like all the idiots out there...I don't mind them (most of the time) because they all make me look smarter ).

I believe hydrometers are "calibrated" at 60 F, not 59.

I agree with your comment on the hydrometer numbers, your numbers would be pretty insignificant by a power of 10 since they are wrong. Check your numbers again...you have too many (significant) zeroes in there.

Cheers!
Thanks for the reply homebrewer_99, I've still not managed to check my source on the hydrometer corrections for temperature... but you're right there would appear to be too many '0'.
However, if I might just clarify my previous post...the Hydrometer is 'calibrated', as you know, using water as the datum "0.00", the graduations being an indication of fluid density. Fluid density is temperature dependant. Therefore, the corrections for temperature standardise the readings globally. So, if one states an SG reading without stating a temperature, the reader/listener must assume the figure is corrected for temperature. What I said is that the corrections are 'standardised' at 59 degrees F, not that the hydrometer is 'calibrated'.

I believe most everyone, who regularly use degrees F, will automatically round up 59 degrees to 60, as the difference is tiny. However, I also believe 59 degrees F was selected because of the Celcius scale, as 59 degrees F is 15 degrees C. Who did the standardising?... I'm not sure... But I bet the French were involved somewhere along the line, as they have standardised everything else in Europe... their way!

As you are a true 'familiar' of European ways then you can understand the difficulties your countrymen could encounter with the lack of standardisation. And the fact that, unless stated, Americans will assume American fluid measurements, where as, having been 'bitten', I now check! Unless a recipe states which standard of measure is being used, one cannot simply 'know' simply because of one's nationality...
The real problem is volume not mass. As American gallons are only 80% of an Imperial gallon then knowing which is being used IS significant and not just dependant upon one's clairvoyance!
The purpose of my post was to draw attention to a potential problem that may not have yet been encountered, or written about... not to start a debate on semantics. Unlike you, I don't think that "... all the idiots out there..." are idiots. I am just generous of spirit enough to assume they are unfamiliar and inexperienced...
My apologies to all for this rather... pointed post.
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Old 04-21-2005, 02:08 PM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by myndphaser
My point was that hydrometer readings tend to make the whole process more anal than necessary. I'm going to drink almost anything I can make regardless of the OG readings, and prefer to have something that is different from what I made last. If you keep striving to repeat something you are preventing yourself from striving for something better. If a sheet of paper tells you that your OG should be 1.0XX and your wort doesn't match that, who cares. Write down what you got and move on. As I understand it, brewing is a craft, not a science. Get the brewing out of the lab and back to the garage, basement, closet, kitchen or wherever else it might take place for you.

On the other hand, if you like to be meticulous and want to repeat everything exactly as you did before instead of trying to make tweak or improvements, then by all means do so. I'm just saying that for me I'd rather play around with the process and ingredients and if it tastes good this time I'll try to make it better next time.
Spot on Mate! Do it... don't do it...who cares! These forums can just add food (or drink) for thought. It is up to the reader how much weight they give to a particular post or comment... but it is good to share thoughts and anecdotes!
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Old 05-13-2005, 11:38 PM   #30
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Several questions:
1. If I should not care about the starting gravity, then why does almost every recipe mention it?
2. Several people said here that taking OG reading makes sense only for all-grain brewing or when trying to exactly reproduce another batch. But still what is the point of taking this reading when the boiling is over? I can't correct anything at this point, can I? If it's less then it should be, does it mean that I have to throw this batch and redo it again (using other/better ingredients)?
3. I read the reasons of OG being less then it should be. But what about the effects it has on the resulting beer? Here I am - let's say the OG reading is .010 less the in the recipe. What should I expect to see/taste from the rest of the brewing process? Longer fermentation? Color change? Taste change?..
Thank you!

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