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Old 10-08-2009, 01:29 PM   #1
BrewRI
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Default Q: How to use a Hydrometer

So I got my first kit and the ingredients to make "German Amber Ale" and the instructions that come with it are...questionable at times. I understand the brewing process pretty well but I don't know how to use a hydrometer. The kit instructions say:

"...Cover your fermenter with saran wrap or foil, then shake it to mix the ingredients thoroughly. Make sure the fermenter is at an even temperature throughout to get an accurate reading (That part I get). Remove saran wrap or foil and pour out into a pint glass. Pour this sample into the hyrdometer. Where the fluid meets the glass rod is where the reading should be take on the SG scale"

Not sure if I'm just over-thinking it but pouring a 5.5 gallon bucket covered with aluminum foil into a pint glass seems a little strange. How do you all fill the hydrometer without infecting the beer?

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Old 10-08-2009, 01:31 PM   #2
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I use a sanitized wine thief to steal a sample and just drop my hydrometer in the thief, giving it a little spin then wait for it to settle before reading.....i personally dont drop the sample back in the bucket though....drink it or dispose of it.

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Old 10-08-2009, 01:34 PM   #3
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That seems a lot easier, I'll go pick one up in Providence later today.

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Old 10-08-2009, 01:51 PM   #4
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A turkey baster will work the same, too. You might not be able to fit your hydrometer into it, though. I use the tube my hydrometer came in to put the sample into, unless I get really adventurous (possibly lazy...) then I just wash the hydro off then dunk it into some b-brite then rinse it and put it right into the fermenter. Lots of people think that's a horrid idea, but I don't see a problem with it as long as it's all cleaned and all.

I wouldn't do it with my glass carboy, but the buckets are pretty easy to get them back out of.

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Old 10-08-2009, 01:58 PM   #5
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Here's a good video tutorial on how to use a hydrometer

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Old 10-08-2009, 06:15 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by GrizlyGarou View Post
A turkey baster will work the same, too. You might not be able to fit your hydrometer into it, though. I use the tube my hydrometer came in to put the sample into, unless I get really adventurous (possibly lazy...) then I just wash the hydro off then dunk it into some b-brite then rinse it and put it right into the fermenter. Lots of people think that's a horrid idea, but I don't see a problem with it as long as it's all cleaned and all.

I wouldn't do it with my glass carboy, but the buckets are pretty easy to get them back out of.
Speaking of putting the hydrometer directly into your fermenter, is this a terrible idea? I haven't bought myself a beer thief yet so I've just been going directly into the fermenter and haven't noticed any problems...of course I'm only on my second batch.
Let me know your opinions so I don't ruin my third batch.
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Old 10-08-2009, 06:24 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by chibrew View Post
Speaking of putting the hydrometer directly into your fermenter, is this a terrible idea? I haven't bought myself a beer thief yet so I've just been going directly into the fermenter and haven't noticed any problems...of course I'm only on my second batch.
Let me know your opinions so I don't ruin my third batch.
As long as it's sanitized, you're fine. I'm sure some other people are going to say that it's an easy wayto infect your beer, since it is, but if you sanitize it and your hands I doubt it's bad.
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Old 10-08-2009, 06:24 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by chibrew View Post
Speaking of putting the hydrometer directly into your fermenter, is this a terrible idea? I haven't bought myself a beer thief yet so I've just been going directly into the fermenter and haven't noticed any problems...of course I'm only on my second batch.
Let me know your opinions so I don't ruin my third batch.
There is no problem with this until there is a problem. Then it is a big problem. If I ever broke a hydrometer into a fermenter by accident I would probably just toss the whole batch and start over. Human intestines do not fare well with shards of glass.

I paid a grand total of $.99 for my turkey baster. Now at 300 batches I have spent a total of 1/3 of a penny per batch for my baster.
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Old 10-08-2009, 06:33 PM   #9
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I paid a grand total of $.99 for my turkey baster. Now at 300 batches I have spent a total of 1/3 of a penny per batch for my baster.
I guess I could probably foot the bill for a turkey baster rather than risking a perfectly good batch. Now I just have to scrounge up $0.99
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Old 10-08-2009, 07:10 PM   #10
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Look in the couch.

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