In homebrewing there is so much that we advise folks not to do, yet the one thing that EVERY book, podcast, magazine and website talks about is gravity readings....
How do you think we get them?
Do you think the advice to take them is a vast conspiracy by us old timers to ruin millions of new brewer's batches, so that they flee the hobby and give it a bad rap? Or so they make crappy beer and we kick your asses in contests?
With simple sanitization practices openning the fermenter to take a reading is perfectly safe. You won't spoil your beer.
This is what I use, and it works with both buckets and carboys. And probably FV's whatever the heck those are....
I replaced the plastic one a year ago with an extra long stainless baster from a kitchen ware store and it is awesome. But the plastic one from any grocery store works fine.
Here's what I do....
1) With a spray bottle filled with starsan I spray the lid of my bucket, or the mouth of the carboy, including the bung. Then I spray my turkey baster inside and out with sanitize (or dunking it in a container of sanitizer).
2) Open fermenter.
3) Draw Sample
4) fill sample jar (usualy 2-3 turky baster draws
5)Spray bung or lid with sanitizer again
6) Close lid or bung
6) add hydrometer and take reading
It is less than 30 seconds from the time the lid is removed until it is closed again. More like 15 if you ask me.
Probably less if you have help. And unless a bird flies in your place and lets go with some poop, you should be okay.
ANd then you drink the sample....don't pour it back in....