Originally Posted by D-Wes
So he puts it directly in the fermenting bucket and stabilizes it with string and rubber band?
Well, to clarify... I dunno what you're fermenting in -- he uses a big clear growler. No matter what, though, yeah... just sanitize the hydrometer, float it in for a reading, take it out, and re-close whatever your fermenter is (sounds like yours is a bucket).
Because he's scared he's gonna let it drop and not be able to reach the top with his fingers... he puts a string on the end... rubber bands it on with this teeny band used for people's braces... just in case. True this adds a MINISCULE bit of weight to his hydro (something I pointed out to him), but really not enough to affect when you know it's done fermenting.
Also...... some guys will tell you to sanitize a thief, take some out for a reading, and put it back in. I don't see a problem with this if you're REALLY anal about staying sanitary -- but many would argue that's a decent risk. Shrug. Your call man... but the one thing nobody can tell you is exactly how long it will take to finish its fermentation.
Hope that helps?