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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Beginners Beer Brewing Forum > "The Thief" and Hydrometer readings
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Old 11-04-2008, 04:49 PM   #1
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Default "The Thief" and Hydrometer readings

Hey guys,

I have been reading other posts in the beginners forum and found a lot of advice saying that you should not pour samples back into the brew. I have wondered about this for a while now actually.

I bought The Thief for taking specific gravity readings after my second batch, as the turkey baster that came in the kit from my lhbs leaked beer all of the counters and floors. I figured the point of The Thief was so that i could quickly take a reading and use its little nozzle to drain the beer right back into the fermenter. Sounds like I should maybe take the sample and drink it instead of pouring it back (I have been tasting my brew every time i siphon between stages - just siphon a little into a cup)

In the back of my mind I also have concerns that the Thief (and other equipment) sometimes still has some sanitizing fluid on it (OneStep) I usually stand it upright on clean paper towels and then try to "whip" the water out. Is this a major no, no? If so, how long can you sanitize before using equipment? I have been sanitizing and leaving the supplies to dry for about an hour before using.

So - should I stop my (perhaps bad) practice of taking a reading and draining back into the batch? TIA

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Old 11-04-2008, 05:06 PM   #2
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Well considering that no rinse sanitizers are wet contact sanitizers there should be sanitizer present on in your theif, your bottles, on your tools that touch your beer.

Drying your tools after sanitizing cuts the efficacy in half..meaning whatever was on the object was killed by the sanitizer, but once the sanitizer dries, anything that lands (think airborn) or comes into contact won't be killed.

If you let the sanitizer dry, the nasties won't die.

At the right concentration the no-rinse sanitizers will not be tasted in your beers...in fact starsan becomes yeast food and is actually GOOD for your beer (and septic system).

As to putting the samples back...DRINK THEM, but don't judge them. A few ounces won't matter if it gaurentees good beer down the line...and adding it DOES increase the risk of infecting your beer...so why risk it?

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Old 11-04-2008, 05:09 PM   #3
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First of all, don't take the chance of messing a batch of beer up because you don't want to "waste" a little of your beer. Use that sample as a taste testing, check it for clarity, flavor, etc. I always shoot for 5.5 gallons in my carboy so by the time I'm done racking and checking the SG I'll still have close to 5 gallons.

As far as the sanitizer, I put my thief in sanitizer(Iodophor) and then right into the carboy for the sample. Certainly you don't want to have a lot of sanitizer in the thief because it might give you a false reading, but a little foam won't make any difference. I think this one of those cases where your probably overthinking it a little, IMO.

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Old 11-04-2008, 05:40 PM   #4
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hah. You're not far off - I'm SURE I'm overthinking everything at this point!

I had no idea that the no rinse meant that it should stay wet! Thank you so much! Thats going to be SO much easier knowing that! So just plunge the equipment in - get my 30 seconds contact (with OneStep) and go right for the brew? Sounds good and easy to me!

I have been looking at peoples hydrometer readings in the Galleries here and looks like there is a much easier way there too - fill the sample container up to the brim for easy reading! I have been trying to read through the plastic...with limited (i'm sure) accuracy.

So are these other sanitizers better than the OneStep? It was just what came with the kit from the local shop so I stuck with it. I like the sounds of starsan. So it foams up? And its ok to have the foam on the equipment and bottles when the beer touches it?


Thanks so much for the advice guys, this is earth shattering news to me and will definitely help streamline my cleaning ways.

My new mantras:

  • I will no longer pour back into my batch.
  • I will top off to 5.5 gallons.
  • I will not dry my equipment!
  • I will taste after I take my SG readings.
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Old 11-04-2008, 05:42 PM   #5
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I pretty much answered those sanitizer questions (and provided links) in this old thread.

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f39/sani...uestion-54932/

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Old 11-04-2008, 05:44 PM   #6
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You are still overthinking a bit.

30 second wet contact doesn't mean the object being sanitized has to be submerged for 30 seconds. Although, it won't hurt but, it is a waste of sanitizer to mix a big batch only to dump it out later.

Learn the way of the spray grasshopper.

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Old 11-04-2008, 06:09 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Revvy View Post
I pretty much answered those sanitizer questions (and provided links) in this old thread.

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f39/sani...uestion-54932/

Thank you very much - you are indeed a sanitizing Yoda! I will be getting some StarSan for the next batch along with the wallpaper tray (GREAT TIP!), and a bottle sprayer for bottling.

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Originally Posted by GilaMinumBeer View Post
You are still overthinking a bit.

30 second wet contact doesn't mean the object being sanitized has to be submerged for 30 seconds. Although, it won't hurt but, it is a waste of sanitizer to mix a big batch only to dump it out later.

Learn the way of the spray grasshopper.
Ahhh A spray bottle, I could see that being VERY handy! Though I already own a sponge i have been using for brewing and might try using that as a sprayer substitute. As i proceed and get more experience, hopefully I can cut down on the thinking :P
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Old 11-04-2008, 06:11 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by json2001 View Post
Thank you very much - you are indeed a sanitizing Yoda! I will be getting some StarSan for the next batch along with the wallpaper tray (GREAT TIP!), and a bottle sprayer for bottling.



Ahhh A spray bottle, I could see that being VERY handy! Though I already own a sponge i have been using for brewing and might try using that as a sprayer substitute. As i proceed and get more experience, hopefully I can cut down on the thinking :P
Get rid of that sponge when sanitizing. Just...Eeeew! Or microwave it wet for 2 minutes but, don;t let it outta your sight.
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Old 11-04-2008, 06:17 PM   #9
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I normally just let it soak in my sanitizing liquid until I need it for something. But after thinking about it, I could see the spray bottle being more effective in lots of cases.

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Old 11-04-2008, 09:07 PM   #10
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The thief collects only a few ounces of beer. You won't miss it. I like to drink all the samples so I can monitor the progress of the brew at each stage. If you don't want the sample just throw it out.

Quote:
Originally Posted by json2001 View Post
So are these other sanitizers better than the OneStep? It was just what came with the kit from the local shop so I stuck with it. I like the sounds of starsan. So it foams up? And its ok to have the foam on the equipment and bottles when the beer touches it?
Don't fear the foam. No rinse sanitizers are really no rinse, including the foam. If you let the foam die down and pour out the liquid you will see it's only a few drops anyway!

I switched from OneStep to StarSan for a few reasons:

1) OneStep was horrible on my skin. StarSan does not dry my skin out.
2) StarSan keeps 2-3 weeks for me. OneStep is only good for 24 hours.
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