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Old 02-11-2007, 09:28 PM   #1
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Default My Hydrometer is Posessed!

Hey, i just finished brewing my AHS Nut Brown Ale and put it in my 6.5 gallon carboy. I added the water to bring it to 5 1/4 gallons. Then i put my thief into the carboy to get a hydrometer measurement. With the sample i put my hydrometer in and got a reading of 1.042. That seems impossible! I was supposed to hit a 1.052 according to the instructions. 1.042 is exactly what i got when i brewed my English Ale, but i added half a gallon too much water. Also, i added the 1% boost kit, so the reading should be at least 1.06 shouldn't it?

Knowing that reading was BS, i took a new sample and put my hydrometer in. I got a 1.1! Why is my hydrometer posessed?

Should i wait 24 hours to take the SG? It seemed like in my test jar, the liquid at the bottom was as dark as coffee. The top was watery. Is this throwing off my measurements?

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Old 02-11-2007, 09:43 PM   #2
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This is why I don't trust hydrometer readings and don't bother with using one any more. I don't trust the accuracy of them and I see no obvious way to calibrate the one I have, nor to double check the accuracy.

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Old 02-11-2007, 09:43 PM   #3
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Grab you therm in a glass of water and try to get it to 60F. Once you get that put your hydrometer in it. It should read 1.000. If not you can adjust your readings to it up or down.

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Old 02-11-2007, 09:57 PM   #4
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You said you added water, is it possible that you did not get it stirred up good with the existing wort? I wont get on the Hydrometer debate but I like mine(But I love my refractometer)Alcohol with throw your refractometer off so its great when all grain brewing and getting a sample of wort thats not fermented yet. I always make sure I get my sample down to 60F. Also when I take a sample on something thats been brewing I let it sit a while and shake it incase there is any absorbed co2 in the sample. I just let it sit out, I never put my sample back in my brew, I just toss it or drink it.

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Old 02-11-2007, 10:06 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by homebrewer_99
Grab you therm in a glass of water and try to get it to 60F. Once you get that put your hydrometer in it. It should read 1.000. If not you can adjust your readings to it up or down.
Thanks!
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Old 02-11-2007, 10:39 PM   #6
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The top was watery. Is this throwing off my measurements?
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yes^^^ this is throwing off your measurement. your top up water needs to be thoroughly mixed before you take the reading

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Old 02-11-2007, 11:19 PM   #7
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Yes, a hydrometer reads the sugar level in a brew. The more sugar, the higher the reading, the less sugar the lower the reading. The diference between the two will show you how much was fermented into alcohol, hence the alcohol %.

Pure water will give you 1.000 so yes, if your wort is not mixed properley, and seeing it usualy is mostly down the bottom, you will get a lower reading. This is why hydrometers are so picky. I generally use it at the end of fermentation to double check that its not too high to bottle ( 1.020 or less to bottle ) because, I have gotten over the whole (this beer is 4.9% and this one is only 4.2%) I judge a beer on its taste. If I wanted to get wasted, I would drink bourban

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Old 02-11-2007, 11:33 PM   #8
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quote"kadmium" because, I have gotten over the whole (this beer is 4.9% and this one is only 4.2%) I judge a beer on its taste.

good point - i should get over it too
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Old 02-11-2007, 11:52 PM   #9
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Did you remember to adjust for temperature? Other than that, follow what homebrewer 99 suggested to see if your hydrometer is reading correctly. If it is, and you adjusted for temp, then the "unmixed" carboy is your problem.

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Old 02-12-2007, 12:55 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rod
The top was watery. Is this throwing off my measurements?
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yes^^^ this is throwing off your measurement. your top up water needs to be thoroughly mixed before you take the reading
Thank You Thank You Thank You! Problem solved!

On my last batch of English Ale, i got a 1.042 SG (expected 1.053). Today i got a 1.042 SG with significantly more sugar in the mix (1% alcohol boost). I knew it was BS. The problem was that the fermenter was layered with water on top, wort in the middle and yeast on the bottom. I stirred up the mix and took another hydrometer reading. I got a 1.065. I figure that's dead on. 1.053 + 1% alcohol boost = 1.065.

I can't wait to drink this!
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