Hydrometer? Some say necessary others not? - Home Brew Forums
Register Now For Free!

Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Beginners Beer Brewing Forum > Hydrometer? Some say necessary others not?

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old 04-17-2012, 07:32 PM   #1
justinm410
Recipes 
 
Apr 2012
Baltimore, MD
Posts: 10
Liked 5 Times on 1 Posts



So I know a hydrometer is like 5 bucks at the brew store, but I'd have to drive an hour to pick it up making a total of 20 bucks accounting for gas.

I have all my grains and extract ready to make a Bock style beer and I was reading that a hydrometer may be particularly important when brewing a Bock? Is this so? I'll probably end up just sticking it out and doing the drive, but I was hoping someone would tell me it isn't at all necessary... -_-


P.S. I bought a good instructional book that said it's optional, but I was prompted to ask when I read that it is important for Bocks in particular.

Thanks!

 
Reply With Quote
Old 04-17-2012, 07:35 PM   #2
amandabab
Recipes 
 
Mar 2012
spokane, wa
Posts: 1,971
Liked 242 Times on 183 Posts


If all you want to do is mix boil and hope, they aren't necessary.

 
Reply With Quote
Old 04-17-2012, 07:36 PM   #3
justinm410
Recipes 
 
Apr 2012
Baltimore, MD
Posts: 10
Liked 5 Times on 1 Posts


So basically there is no other way to determine whether the desired fermentation is reached aside from pure guess based upon distilling duration if I do not have a hydrometer?

 
Reply With Quote
Old 04-17-2012, 07:37 PM   #4
Demon
 
Demon's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Mar 2008
Willowbrook, IL
Posts: 974
Liked 113 Times on 72 Posts


I only measure gravity on about 25% of my brews. I'm lazy and I've got my systems efficiency pretty well dialed in. Even when I do take readings, if the numbers aren't exactly what I want I don't do anything about it. The readings are purely a reference for me.

 
Reply With Quote
Old 04-17-2012, 07:38 PM   #5
SenorPepe
Recipes 
 
Feb 2011
Madison, WI
Posts: 705
Liked 21 Times on 15 Posts


Well, most of the time you don't really need it...until you do. Most of the time, beer just wants to be beer so bad it works out despite you. But if you get stuck, or have any other kind of mash- or fermentation-related problem, you could be SOL and not even know it.

Reason: grammar

 
Reply With Quote
Old 04-17-2012, 07:44 PM   #6
justinm410
Recipes 
 
Apr 2012
Baltimore, MD
Posts: 10
Liked 5 Times on 1 Posts


Hmm, fair enough... So if something DOES go wrong and I went out and got a hydrometer the same day I'd be just as well off. I can live with that. Besides I'm following a recipe assuming they already figured stuff like the ferment duration out.

As a beginner I'm pretty sure I'd be SOL if anything went wrong, anyway.

 
Reply With Quote
Old 04-17-2012, 07:45 PM   #7
ludomonster
Recipes 
 
Feb 2012
berlin, nj
Posts: 507
Liked 33 Times on 29 Posts


I usually just measure FG and taste it.

 
Reply With Quote
Old 04-17-2012, 07:46 PM   #8
djfriesen
Recipes 
 
Sep 2011
Posts: 1,189
Liked 26 Times on 24 Posts


For your first brew, it's not 100% necessary. For the future, if you care to have any ability to reproduce brews, you'll need a hydrometer. If you want to start from ground zero each time, hoping it comes out OK, don't get one. But you won't be able to post here asking how to know if your fermentation is done or if you're risking bottle bombs, or if your beer is ready to secondary. In fact, a majority of the questions you'd ask here, in search of advice or help, are going to require hydrometer readings to answer.

It depends on what kind of brewer you want to be be. If you want structure, get a hydrometer. If you want a more freeform experience, you can wing it.

Personally, I take an OG reading, and then let it sit for 3+ weeks. I usually don't take a reading to determine if fermentation is complete. I probably should, but I ferment at my brother's house, so I don't have the kind of hands-on control I would need to do this. I take an FG before bottling, and so far, it's been pretty close to where it should be. If it weren't, I would probably hold off and make sure I had done everything to ensure the yeast had finished.

 
Reply With Quote
Old 04-17-2012, 07:47 PM   #9
HibsMax
Recipes 
 
Mar 2012
Westford, MA
Posts: 275
Liked 1 Times on 1 Posts


Quote:
Originally Posted by justinm410 View Post
So basically there is no other way to determine whether the desired fermentation is reached aside from pure guess based upon distilling duration if I do not have a hydrometer?
You could leave it in the primary for three weeks, fermentation should be done by then I would think.

 
Reply With Quote
Old 04-17-2012, 07:48 PM   #10
TyTanium
Recipes 
 
Nov 2011
Posts: 3,952
Liked 556 Times on 391 Posts


I wholeheartedly disagree. It's necessary.

You can brew without it if you're ok guessing on the numbers. I.e., you'll be fine if you don't drive out there right now, but I'd get one quick. It's also nice knowing when fermentation is complete so I don't have to leave it in the primary for 15 months or something.

 
Reply With Quote
Reply
Thread Tools


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Hydrometer Help! kooklife Beginners Beer Brewing Forum 6 11-16-2011 02:22 PM
Do i not know how to use a hydrometer? msarro Beginners Beer Brewing Forum 9 01-31-2011 02:28 PM
Hydrometer - When/How and Why? BeerNoob Beginners Beer Brewing Forum 10 08-10-2010 12:35 PM
Hydrometer help Teufelhunden Beginners Beer Brewing Forum 1 11-07-2009 12:22 AM
Q: How to use a Hydrometer BrewRI Beginners Beer Brewing Forum 9 10-08-2009 07:10 PM


Forum Jump