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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Equipment/Sanitation > Who's got a good sampling routine?
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Old 02-29-2012, 05:07 PM   #1
RobbyBeers
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Default Who's got a good sampling routine?

Who out there has a really good process for sampling?

...because I sure don't. I've tried a lot of the sampling tools out there, but they always seem a bit too fussy and too plasticky. I've also tried using a sampling spigot on my (bucket) fermenter, but I always had leaks. I often find myself whipping up cleaner and sanitizer on sampling days, and that's just a PITA.

Too many of my brew log entries have just two numbers: the OG and the FG...and sometimes not even the FG. I really need to start keeping better track.


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Old 02-29-2012, 05:10 PM   #2
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If you use starsan you can keep it in an empty carboy, bucket whatever. I usually use a thief to draw a jar full out of that and then sanitize sampling stuff with it when I want to.


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Old 02-29-2012, 05:19 PM   #3
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I take a little tasting glass, sanitize the hell out of it, and just dip it in the fermenter to pull a sample. A coffee mug works, too. You can clean it out and literally boil it in water before you take a sample, if you like.


I don't sample very often though. You say you have two numbers like that's a bad thing. There is no reason to be dicking around with your fermenting beer.
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Old 02-29-2012, 05:38 PM   #4
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Thanks for the input.

Quote:
Originally Posted by frankstoneline View Post
If you use starsan you can keep it in an empty carboy, bucket whatever. I usually use a thief to draw a jar full out of that and then sanitize sampling stuff with it when I want to.
I know some people keep their thief aside in a wallpaper tray full of starsan. Maybe I could try that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by weirdboy View Post
I take a little tasting glass, sanitize the hell out of it, and just dip it in the fermenter to pull a sample. A coffee mug works, too. You can clean it out and literally boil it in water before you take a sample, if you like.


I don't sample very often though. You say you have two numbers like that's a bad thing. There is no reason to be dicking around with your fermenting beer.
This gives me some ideas. If I'm using buckets primarily, I could probably just put a cup or a ladle down in there to sample.

I generally follow the "don't dick around" credo...but I recently had my first underattenuation problem, so I want to start keeping a little better track of the gravity.
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Old 02-29-2012, 05:39 PM   #5
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I think people way over-sample. All comes from that guy Papazian saying you need to have the gravity constant for 3 days in a row before bottling....pfffft. I sample maybe once, just to get a FG for my notes. If fermentation is no longer going on and its close to where you think it should be, you are all set.

Edit to add: my sample setup. I use a wine thief and dip it into the sanitizer. I let the thief fill up then invert it to cover all the inside surfaces. Let santizer drain out, then pull sample and drop into hydrometer tube. Done.
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Old 02-29-2012, 05:52 PM   #6
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I just do a simple sanitizing mix of starstan in a spray bottle, spray my thief down, swirl a little inside, dump it out and take a sample.

But I really only sample once, after about three weeks or a month of primary, then send it to my keg.
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Old 02-29-2012, 06:34 PM   #7
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no theif here, i just smell it after about a month, off to bottle or keg, then the last bit before it gets to the yeast goes in my mouth so i can get an idea of what the heck it's doin!
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Old 02-29-2012, 06:41 PM   #8
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I sanitize 5 feet of tubing, stick it in the carboy and suck. A hose clamp stops the flow and keeps the tube filled with beer until I empty it into my testing column. So simple and requires the smallest volume of sanitizer.
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Old 02-29-2012, 06:49 PM   #9
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Does StarSan really sanitize instantly on contact? Currently, I fill a hydrometer jar with an Iodophor solution and sit my wine thief in there for 10 minutes before sampling. It's a pretty good system, but if I could eliminate that 10 minute wait I 'd be happy.

Slightly OT question: does anybody besides me stress out about letting air into the carboy when taking the airlock off to draw a sample? I try to do anything I can to minimize oxidation, so that bugs me. I also stress out about the big pocket of air that floats over my beer while I'm filling the bottling bucket. I've thought about floating a sanitized piece of foam over the surface of the beer--whaddaya think?

Probably I should just RDWHAHB.
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Old 02-29-2012, 06:52 PM   #10
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I bought a bunch of disposable pipettes. I just take a small sample and check it on a refractometer. I just use the refractometer tool in BeerSmith to give me an approximation of the gravity. I can also tell from day to day if fermentation is still going on by whether the reading changes.


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