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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Beginners Beer Brewing Forum > Take a Gravity Reading?
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Old 12-14-2007, 12:33 AM   #1
sboro33
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Default Take a Gravity Reading?

To check your Gravity in your Primary, it is ok to break the airlock and just take a hydrometer reading? Or is there some way I don't know about?

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Old 12-14-2007, 12:37 AM   #2
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If you are using a carboy or ale pail, most people use a sanitized "wine thief" to get a small sample of the wort for checking the gravity. I've heard of others using a turkey baster or other container. You should be okay when opening your airlock, though be sure to sanitize well anything that could come in contact with the wort.

You'd also should try not to sneeze, cough or otherwise stir up dust in your fermenter while the top's off.

Depending on where your fermentation is, your beer will be a bit more immune to the nasties given the alcohol and yeast growth too.

I hope that helps.

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Old 12-14-2007, 12:42 AM   #3
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what is a wine thief?

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Old 12-14-2007, 12:50 AM   #4
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It's a long plastic tube with holes on either end that you stick in a liquid and use it to pull liquid out of a carboy. Kind of like you did with a straw with your Coke at McDonalds when you were a kid (just bigger).

There's a pic of one on this page a little far down. http://www.leeners.com/labequipment.html

I have a plastic one that cost about $8.00. Like I said you can use just about anything if you are using a pail, it is harder to get the liquid out of the carboy...

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Old 12-14-2007, 03:58 AM   #5
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Just be careful you dont opush the wee rubber grommet through the hole into your fermenting beer.

If you search on "Help, grommet in beer how do I re-attach my airlock" you will get about a bajillion hits, it apparently happens a lot, and it happens to people who really know there stuff.

Alternatively, you could just wait longer. Also keep a careful eye on your thermometer. fermentation is a metabolic process that gives off heat. When the temperature drops, fermentation is slowing down - which means the yeast are starting to cleanup after the party. Give them several days to clean up before you move the beer to another container.

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Old 12-14-2007, 04:09 AM   #6
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am i wrong for tipping my fermentor on its side and filling a glass to get my sample?

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Old 12-14-2007, 01:37 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shaggynuts24
am i wrong for tipping my fermentor on its side and filling a glass to get my sample?
That sounds like a sure-fire way to slip and have a disaster on your hands. Not to mention, if you're hoping to rack anytime soon, you don't want to be tipping your fermenter and stirring up a bunch of the trub again. At the very least, just go get yourself a turkey baster! Sanitize it each time and only use it for homebrew.

Wine thiefs are great, especially for those with carboys, though when using buckets a lot of people simply sanitize the hydrometer and put it right in the bucket once the krausen has fallen.
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Old 12-14-2007, 04:19 PM   #8
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I had an idea just hit while reading this. Has anyone put a spigot about half way up their primary (if using a bucket)?

I feel a modification coming on once I empty my primary.

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Old 12-14-2007, 06:13 PM   #9
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I have a spigot on mine that I use to get my gravity readings....Also its nice when you are cleaing it in the sink and its full, you dont have to lift that 50 pound bucket of water clear out to dump it....Just crack the spigot and let it run out. I also let the sanitizer run through the spigot also....I got mine about 3-4 inches off the bottom, and so far the trub hasnt made it up that far, but Im doing extract/steeping grains only...Hope this helps.

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Old 12-14-2007, 06:37 PM   #10
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my spigots are 1.5 inches up from the bottom. Will this effect my gravity reading? Why are your spigots up so high?

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