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Old 05-06-2009, 04:18 PM   #1
pearlbeer's Avatar
Feb 2009
Posts: 116
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I seem to be having a problem. I fear it is the usual suspect, user error.

When sampling with my beer thief and placing the hydrometer in said thief, my gravity readings seem to be low. For example, with regular old water, and about 65 degrees, in a standard plastic tube thing, the OG reading is at or darn near 1.000, same water in the thief, and i read .008

This would explain why my OG is continuously low and the FG is as well - my ABV seems right on. Seems like I need to at 2-3 points to a reading out of the thief.

The physics professor in me (read: I have a business degree) says the the smaller diameter of the thief leads to higher surface tension and generally lower readings.

Yes, I'm doing my best to let the hydro not stick to the side, etc. Yes, I' reading from the top of the miniscus. Yes, my beer turns out pretty good. Yes, I should RDWHAHB. But, help me anyway!

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Old 05-06-2009, 04:21 PM   #2
Apr 2009
Croydon, Pennsylvania
Posts: 292
Liked 8 Times on 4 Posts

Haha, you wrote "Beef Thief"... Sounds like a few women I know..

Sorry though, can't help you out.
“You can't be a real country unless you have a beer and an airline. It helps if you have some kind of a football team, or some nuclear weapons, but at the very least you need a beer.” -Frank Zappa

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Old 05-06-2009, 04:26 PM   #3
Apr 2009
Longview, TX
Posts: 529
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We don't take kindly to cattle rustlers 'round here

If it's a problem, why don't you just use the plastic tube for your readings. Sure it's one more thing to clean, but you look so cool drinking beer from the tube

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Old 05-06-2009, 04:54 PM   #4
flaminpi3's Avatar
Feb 2009
Posts: 125
Liked 2 Times on 2 Posts

Very interesting find! I decided to try with my test jar and beef thief and the beef thief reads lower by about .002 as well. If you really want to find out which is the most accurate, you will need to get some distilled water at 60f. Personally, I'm satisfied with a close approximation. At least you can discount user error.
“For art to exist, for any sort of aesthetic activity or perception to exist, a certain physiological precondition is indispensable: intoxication.” - Friedrich Nietzsche

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Old 05-06-2009, 06:02 PM   #5
Sawdustguy's Avatar
Mar 2009
Manorville, New York
Posts: 2,708
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Maybe it's me but I could live with a 0.002 error.

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Old 09-27-2009, 05:36 PM   #6
EvilGnome6's Avatar
May 2009
Scottsdale, AZ
Posts: 664
Liked 11 Times on 11 Posts

Interesting. Not too big a deal since I'm mostly concerned about relative values when it's fermenting but good to know.

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Old 09-27-2009, 05:48 PM   #7
EuBrew's Avatar
Apr 2009
Columbus, OH, Ohio
Posts: 610
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Make sure you are spinning the snot out of the hydrometer when you drop it in. I had a similar issue when I was first using it and I started doing the super spin when dropping it, then I'll roll the thief between my hands. Also make sure you have it exactly plumb or it can stick to the sides as well.
Primary 1: empty
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