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Old 11-14-2012, 08:58 PM   #1
Sep 2012
Williamsport, Pa
Posts: 136
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So, Took my first gravity reading from the fermenter last night.
I used a turkey baster. What a royal pain?!
First question, is how do you all sterilize the baster? I did't have a bucket of starsan to put it in. I just sprayed it down inside and out from my spray bottle of starsan. But, then I needed to put it down, so I soaked a paper towel in starsan and laid it on that while I opened the lid to the fermenter. Was that ok? Had to do 5 or more dips with the baster to get enough beer to float the hydrometer. It dripped all over the place. The good news is the beer tasted pretty dang good. My wife thought I was nuts when I poured it for both of us to test, but she enjoyed it too!
Is a thief any better? I'm thinking it would have been just as easy to stick my autosiphon in and pump it, and siphon beer into the hydrometer test thingie.
Any better suggestions?
Signed, 'A bad little sucker!'

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Old 11-14-2012, 09:00 PM   #2
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Feb 2011
Sheffield, Ohio
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A sanitized thief would be the best way. Take your reading & release it back in so as not to waste any beer.
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Old 11-14-2012, 09:01 PM   #3
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May 2012
Phoenixville, Pennsylvania
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A thief could probably have done it in one attempt, but then you wouldn't have had enough sample for both you and your wife!

What you did sounds fine - spraying with Starsan is sufficient to sanitize, you don't need a full soak.

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Old 11-14-2012, 09:07 PM   #4
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Revvy's Avatar
Dec 2007
"Detroitish" Michigan
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I prefer using a turkey baster to a theif. It just takes practice. I don't care that it might take two or three pulls, it doesn't dribble like my theif used to.

As to how to sanitize it. There's two easy ways. Having a spray bottle of starsan in distilled water is perfect for sanitizing object and bucket lids/carboy bungs when sanitizing. You can also fill your hydromter test jar with sanitizer and stick the baster in it, and suck up some of the sanitzer. In fact what I sometimes do is just open up the quart spray bottle, pour some of the sanitizer into the test jar, sanitize the baster, then quickly pour the sanitizer back into the spray bottle before drawing a sample.
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Old 11-14-2012, 09:12 PM   #5
Sep 2012
Williamsport, Pa
Posts: 136
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Doh! I didn't even think about being able to pour it back in the spray bottle!

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Old 11-14-2012, 09:18 PM   #6
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Sep 2012
Raymond, Washington
Posts: 1,807
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I mix up star san and sanitize the beer thief.

I don't ever put it back in the bucket though.
Phase two of the test is to drink it and see what it tastes like.
Let's see if I keep this updated!

On tap
Black Butte clone

In secondary
Pumpkin ale

In primary
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Up next.. Firestone Union Jack clone

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Old 11-14-2012, 09:18 PM   #7
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Dec 2011
Oak Harbor (Whidbey Island), WA
Posts: 607
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I used to use a thief for carboys... then I started using buckets for primary fermenters. Now I just pull the top of the bucket off and drop the sanitized hydrometer right in the beer to take my readings.


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Old 11-14-2012, 09:48 PM   #8
Oct 2012
Posts: 72
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I just sterilize my pyrex measuring cup, the kind with the handle like this

and dip it right in.

I never pour back into the fermenter though. First, I don't feel like sterilizing the hydrometer and testing tube. and second, tasting also tells you something about how the brew is coming along.

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Old 11-14-2012, 09:54 PM   #9
Sep 2012
, Ohio
Posts: 667
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i use my thief but i drink my sample after.
Now that i am doing 1 gallon batches I will start using my refractometer for checks and get my samples with a pipette

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Old 11-14-2012, 09:54 PM   #10
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Jun 2012
Charlottesville, Va
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I just drop the hydro in the bucket, give it a spin, and take the reading............

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Kegged: Stout

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I love Yooper........

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