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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Beginners Beer Brewing Forum > reading a hydrometer
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Old 05-11-2005, 07:29 PM   #1
Brew_Barron
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Default reading a hydrometer

Hi,
Just transfered my brew over to the secondary and took a hydrometer reading. It read 20 in the white scale (below the zero).
So can anyone tell me what the heck that means??
On syphoning the brew between the two fermenters I got a mouth full and it tasted quite good but VERY sweet and almost fizzy.

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Old 05-11-2005, 07:41 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brew_Barron
Hi,
Just transfered my brew over to the secondary and took a hydrometer reading. It read 20 in the white scale (below the zero).
So can anyone tell me what the heck that means??
On syphoning the brew between the two fermenters I got a mouth full and it tasted quite good but VERY sweet and almost fizzy.
Sounds like 1.020 (aka 20) was the reading. I can't be sure without seeing the hydrometer. Your original reading might have been something like 1.045 and fermentation will knock that reading back about 75% so if you started with something like 1.045 you would end up with 1.010 after it is done fermenting. Is it still bubbling? It may have some more fermenting to do before you bottle.
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Old 05-11-2005, 08:56 PM   #3
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yep, still bubbles about every thirty seconds or so.
Think it still has a couple of days left before I take it to the king keg

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Old 05-11-2005, 09:10 PM   #4
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Go here: http://www.defalcos.com/hydrometer.htm

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Old 05-11-2005, 09:16 PM   #5
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Cheers Bill and OBX. just did not know if the number being lower on the physical shaft of the hydrometer is lower or higher than 1000 so 20 lower than 0 is 1020 then?
That would tie in with it still fermenting and needing a target reading of 1008.
Mark

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Old 05-11-2005, 10:08 PM   #6
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Do you have one of those plastic tubes on a stand that you use for taking a reading?

If so, put some water in it (check the water temp first) and check out the reading. If properly calibrated it should read 1.000 at 60F. A general rule is you add .002 for every 10 degrees.

Do you recall what your Original Gravity (OG) was?

Everything is relative to the type of beer you are making. If your reading is now at 1.020 you are probably still too high and have more fermentables to go.

If you started out at 1.056 OG then your target FG should be somewhere under 1.014 (your 56 divided by 4 = 14 (or about 75% of your OG)).

A lower FG (such as 1.008) will give you a bit more alcohol and make it taste drier.

The formula is as such:

OG minus FG = times=potential alcohol
(1.056 - 1.008 = 48 x 105 = 5.040 %)

I always use the tube to measure the gravity and the temp so I know how to manipulate the numbers. Afterwards I sample it and write a small critique as to how I feel the brew is doing. Sometimes I'll write something like "a tad too sweet yet", "should be lots better in two weeks", etc.

Now there are many people who will insist a hydrometer is a waste of time. Well, to them, it is.

I use my hydrometer. You don't have to. I enjoy doing all the little steps, even the menial ones. It let's me know how close I am to re-creating a previous recipe or hitting another one on the nose. Of course, those terms are all generalizations also. I could be wrong, your mileage will definitely vary from the manufacturer's recommended sale price, and batteries not included. Not responsible for stains which cannot be removed with a double dose of the stains original ingredients.

I am just answering your question. Do what you want with the information.

Either way, enjoy your brewing and good luck.

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Old 05-11-2005, 11:07 PM   #7
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I had a hydrometer for a couple years and actually took readings without understanding what it all meant. Now I find it an almost indespensible tool. Sure I could brew without it, but by using it, I can tell a lot of useful things about my beer, from mash efficiency to when it's time to bottle. The hydrometer and thermometer are your friends. You'll get to know them better with time.

Let it brew for a while longer. Then, enjoy..

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Old 05-12-2005, 09:40 AM   #8
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I'm afraid I did not take a measurement at the start of the brew (I will know better next time)
Going to get a testing tube today so I can control the test a bit better.
Really enjoying my first venture into brewing so fingers crossed it turns out ok.

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Old 05-12-2005, 04:18 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by homebrewer_99

The formula is as such:

OG minus FG = times=potential alcohol
(1.056 - 1.008 = 48 x 105 = 5.040 %)
Is that for determining alcohol by weight? I ask only because, I always go by volume (ABV) and have used the following formula for that (dropping the decimal points):

1056 - 1008 = 48 / 7.46 = 6.43 + .2 = 6.63% ABV. If I've been taught wrong, somebody let me know!

Thanks!
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Old 05-12-2005, 05:29 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rhoobarb
Is that for determining alcohol by weight? I ask only because, I always go by volume (ABV) and have used the following formula for that (dropping the decimal points):

1056 - 1008 = 48 / 7.46 = 6.43 + .2 = 6.63% ABV. If I've been taught wrong, somebody let me know!

Thanks!
If you used the 7.46 calculation for volume then the 105 is for weight.

They were only example numbers for the guy asking the question.

I usually drop the decimal points also, but I did not want to confuse the originator of the thread.
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