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Old 03-26-2013, 11:42 AM   #1
Elysium
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Default Using a hydrometer seems to be a difficult and it give me a headache..

I have been trying to find a way to get the proper/exact readings for my batches,but it seems to be really difficult to correctly take readings at home.

My main problem is the temperature. The moment I take a little bit of the batch, it obviously starts warming up (since the temperature of the batch is slightly colder than room temperature.....I keep it in the closet).
This means that the reading will change as the temperature affects the sugar in the small amount of liquid I take out of the batch. My idea is to put the thermometer and the hydrometer together in the liquid and jot down both the reading and the temperature, but is there like an excel chart to help me with the connection between the temperature and the reading?

Anyway...here is what has just happened....we have bottled a batch (IPA made from extract)...I took the the reading before the bottling and the room temperature was 21ºC (70F) and the reading was 1.015. 1.015 is just okay for bottling, but the batch fermented for 3 weeks at 18-19ºC (65-66F). No way that it wasnt ready for bottling.
As the little amount of liquid warmed up under room temperature that 1.015 reading started to drop to 1.014-1.012.

Any ideas how to improve my techniques? My lack of knowledge is annoying the hell out of me.

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Old 03-26-2013, 12:12 PM   #2
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It's not rocket science. A few degrees and gravity points here and there shouldn't be a concern, as long as the gravity reading is steady after a few days. No point in stressing about exact readings, its all going to the same place!

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Old 03-26-2013, 12:19 PM   #3
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Well you can always adjust for temperature, there are many websites that do this for you and I am sure many here can give you the exact calculation. The best way to determine if your beer is ready is to take readings over a few days. Once your readings are stable, then you are safe to move on to bottling. I wouldn't get too concerned over a .001 - .003 change in your gravity. Of course its going to change slightly as the beer changes temperature, so unless you have a way to have your ambient temperature in your room be the exact same temperature as your beer, its going to fluctuate slightly.

Remember, we are doing this out of our homes, not a temperature controlled cleanroom in a perfect environment. I think your techniques are just fine. I think you may be focusing on something that you have little control over. If your gravity was changing day to day or over 1.020, then maybe you would need to change something, but it seems to me that you have nothing to worry about. Relax, bottle that beer, and enjoy it in the weeks to come.

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Old 03-26-2013, 12:35 PM   #4
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The sample was at 70F and it started to warm up at room temperature?

How hot is your room?

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Old 03-26-2013, 12:41 PM   #5
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It doesn't sound like a temperature issue really.

It sounds like you have some co2 bubbles in the sample. Next time, stir the sample to degas it, and then gently put the hydrometer in it when the foam goes away. Spin the hydrometer a bit, and make sure it's off the side of the test jar. Then take the reading at eye level.

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Old 03-26-2013, 12:57 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cfonnes View Post
The sample was at 70F and it started to warm up at room temperature?

How hot is your room?
Closet (thus the batch temperature) is between 64-66F and room is at 70-71F.
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Old 03-26-2013, 12:59 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yooper View Post
It doesn't sound like a temperature issue really.

It sounds like you have some co2 bubbles in the sample. Next time, stir the sample to degas it, and then gently put the hydrometer in it when the foam goes away. Spin the hydrometer a bit, and make sure it's off the side of the test jar. Then take the reading at eye level.
Ok, basically I gotta worry less about temperature and care more about the sample being degassed and containing no foam on the surface?
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Old 03-26-2013, 01:12 PM   #8
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Ok, basically I gotta worry less about temperature and care more about the sample being degassed and containing no foam on the surface?
Yes. Here's a claculator for temp correcting hydrometer readings; http://www.brewheads.com/gravcorrect.php
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Old 03-26-2013, 01:23 PM   #9
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Here is a calculator

http://www.brewersfriend.com/hydrometer-temp/

I do what you do..thermometer in sample jar with hydrometer. Always get temp at same time as hydrometer reading.


A mor elegant solution is one of these

http://morebeer.com/products/deluxe-hydrometer-correction-scale.html

But I think I am going to get one of these instead and stick with my thermometer technique. Call it the over 40 hydrometer...

http://www.keystonehomebrew.com/shop/beer/lab-testing-supplies/hydrometers-refractometers/hydrometer-lab-grade-0-990-1-020.html


I use a refractometer for mash, boil, and OG measurements but need the hydrometer for FG. The techniques above are all helpful. You may not be as obsessive about FG as me, I have an engineering background and like to measure things...

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