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Old 05-25-2010, 08:05 PM   #21
Apr 2010
Posts: 101
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Just buy a wine thief for $10 and your problems are solved! That competes with my Autosiphon for favorite piece of equipment so far that makes life easier.

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Old 05-25-2010, 08:05 PM   #22
Jan 2009
Norfolk, VA
Posts: 80
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Originally Posted by FermentedNovice View Post
This is what I do. I use a Fermtech wine thief, which is easy to get the sample back into the beer. I make DARNED sure everything is sanitized well, though, being meticulous about the wine thief and the hydrometer. I figure it's made me more paranoid than I was when I was using my turkey baster, so I'm probably safer than I was before. It's a decent product, but if you were doing smaller batches, I wouldn't recommend it, as it can be harder to fill with less than 5 gallons of beer.
I'm also putting the samples back. I would definitely classify myself as a little OCD/overboard when it comes to sanitization, but it gives me that peace of mind since I don't want to waste any of my product.

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Old 05-25-2010, 08:11 PM   #23
Hang Glider
Beer Drinker
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Mar 2007
North Augusta, SC
Posts: 3,220
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$3.99, Northern Brewer

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Old 05-25-2010, 08:25 PM   #24
nebben's Avatar
Nov 2008
Now legal in Utah
Posts: 1,145
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Duuuude, you're doing it wrong

When I take hydrometer samples, there is probably in the neighborhood of 2-3oz of beer per test. I drink that. So far, there is a few drops of beer wasted, at best, during each operation since not all drips and drops make it into the glass that I drink.

4 hydrometer tests is a lot for me too. I'll take a gravity reading pre-boil (AG), post-boil, and at kegging/bottling. I've only done multiple tests at the end of fermentation, for beer at least, if I suspect the beer isn't as done as it should be at the end of 3+ weeks of fermentation.

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Old 05-25-2010, 09:29 PM   #25
Jan 2010
Shenandoah Valley, VA
Posts: 402
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half a gallon!
its been said, but I'll reiterate, thats too much.

2 to 3 oz per reading, at 3 to 4 readings is no more than 12 oz.

bottle - some odds and ends
Primary - Belgian Pale
Secondary - smoked ale, christmas ale
on deck - brrrrr-ley wine

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Old 05-25-2010, 09:33 PM   #26
Feb 2009
Alexandria, VA, USA
Posts: 2,057
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Originally Posted by masonsjax View Post
From what I've read, a refractometer is only accurate for pre-fermentation readings and that once alcohol is involved, it's much less reliable.
Yep. The refractometer is still a good gauge of whether gravity is falling or stable, though.

Use the refractometer for your OG, and for your periodic readings during fermentation. Once you get a stable reading 3 days in a row, then you take your 1 and only hydrometer reading to get the FG.

Also, on the "3 days in a row": don't bother checking on day 2. Measure on day 1 and 3. If they're the same, you're good to go--it's not like the gravity spiked up or down and then returned to the original level!
On deck: Little Bo Pils, Bretta Off Dead (Brett pale)
Secondary: Oude Bruin, Red Sky at Morning (Sour brown ale)
On tap: Saison Duphunk (sour), Amarillo Slim (IPA), Earl White (ginger/bergamot wit)
Bottled: Number 8 (Belgian Strong Dark Ale), Eternale (Barleywine), Ancho Villa (Ancho/pasilla/chocolate/cinnamon RIS), Oak smoked porter (1/2 maple bourbon oaked, 1/2 apple brandy oaked)

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Old 05-25-2010, 09:47 PM   #27
Sacdan's Avatar
Jul 2009
Sacramento, CA
Posts: 888
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I found this posted in another thread by Kilted Brewer:

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Old 05-26-2010, 05:51 PM   #28
Sep 2009
Hoboken, NJ
Posts: 147
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Someone mentioned the Fermtech Thief. +1 to that. I've been using that now with my last batch and it's GENIUS.

You sanitize it and the hydrometer, then dip the Thief into your fermenter. It fills up naturally (enough for a reading), then you remove it (or hold it there). You drop the hydrometer into it, spinning it as usual to dislodge any air bubbles. When you get the reading, you simply press the bottom tip against the fermenter and it slowly/gently runs the sample back down the side and into the rest of the brew. You can sample a taste if you'd like, or not sample any. It's like they combined their springless bottle filler with their auto-siphon and...voila!! So smart and easy.

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Old 05-26-2010, 10:51 PM   #29
david_42's Avatar
Oct 2005
Oak Grove, Oregon, USA
Posts: 25,599
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I don't know what you are using to sample. My hydrometer tube takes less than 4 oz. Even if I did 4 samples, that is still only a pint. Typically, I take the first sample after adding the yeast. That sample sits next to the fermenter and gives me continuous updates. When it has been stable for 3-4 days, I draw a new sample. If the new sample is higher, I let it sit.
Remember one unassailable statistic, as explained by the late, great George Carlin: "Just think of how stupid the average person is, and then realize half of them are even stupider!"

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Old 05-26-2010, 11:17 PM   #30
More Humann than human
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Oct 2008
the sun
Posts: 15,535
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I test pre fermentation and then before it goes into the keg which is usually at least 3 weeks later. I don't need to babysit the thing while it ferments.

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