Refractometer is the most useful brewing tool? - Home Brew Forums
Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > General Beer Discussion > Refractometer is the most useful brewing tool?

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old 01-02-2013, 05:43 PM   #1
I_Brew_Drunk
Recipes 
 
Aug 2012
Posts: 27
Liked 1 Times on 1 Posts



I recently read in a thread on here that a refractometer was the most useful tool a brewer can have. SWMBO recently got me one as a present but I've only found it useful to take OG. After fermentation starts its useless as the alcohol throws off the readings. Is there something I'm missing in the value of it?



 
Reply With Quote
Old 01-02-2013, 05:46 PM   #2
bkl63
Recipes 
 
Feb 2012
Pennsville, New Jersey
Posts: 219
Liked 8 Times on 8 Posts


I know very few people who use one for that very reason.


__________________
Always amazed at the helpfulness of those here at Home Brew Talk. Easily the best source for questions around making great beer!
Member of First State Brewers!

 
Reply With Quote
Old 01-02-2013, 05:48 PM   #3
BadNewsBrewery
Recipes 
 
Oct 2012
Severn, MD
Posts: 1,248
Liked 129 Times on 103 Posts


It's good for taking readings during the mash process, to make sure you don't drop below 1.010 and risk extract tannins. You can also take your pre-boil gravity. I don't think it's the MOST useful tool in the kit, but I'm damn glad I have mine.
__________________
Building a Bad News Brewery - eHERMS

2014 - 70gal
2015 - 72gal

 
Reply With Quote
Old 01-02-2013, 05:59 PM   #4
brycelarson
Recipes 
 
Jul 2012
Minneapolis, MN
Posts: 529
Liked 55 Times on 49 Posts


It's fantastic to dial in your all grain brewing process. If you have to pull samples and cool them to see how you're doing on your extraction - you're too late to fix things.

Not super useful for extract brewing - math works just fine there, but I wouldn't want to do all grain batches without mine.

 
Reply With Quote
Old 01-02-2013, 06:02 PM   #5
WhiteDog87
Recipes 
 
Mar 2012
Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 145
Liked 10 Times on 10 Posts


The alcohol does affect the reading of your FG, what you are measuring is Apparent Attenuation, which gives you a rough but not exact measure of how much alcohol is in your beer, when compared with your OG. It doesn't tell you exactly how much alcohol is in the beer, but its pretty darn close, and I think more precise ABV measurements would require a lab with some fancy equipment.

Its also useful to know when your fermentation has stopped. Once the gravity levels out for a few days you know fermentation is complete and your ready to bottle or keg your beer.

EDIT!!!: Im an Idiot, I thought I read Hydrometer. My refractometer is a frustrating piece of equipment and i rarely use it. Forget everything I just said

 
Reply With Quote
Old 01-02-2013, 06:07 PM   #6

Bought one a long time ago; probably haven't used it for over a year.
__________________
2012 Canadian Brewer of the Year
2013 Canadian Brewer of the Year
2015 Canadian Brewer of the Year

@evilgoatbrewing

 
Reply With Quote
Old 01-02-2013, 06:22 PM   #7
AmandaK
Recipes 
 
Feb 2010
KCMO
Posts: 1,500
Liked 142 Times on 106 Posts


Quote:
Originally Posted by I_Brew_Drunk View Post
I've only found it useful to take OG. After fermentation starts its useless as the alcohol throws off the readings.
I never thought it to be worthwhile to spend $50-70 on a tool that only works half of the time. Hydrometer, thermometer and temp. correction chart work every time.
__________________
BJCP Master Beer Judge

 
Reply With Quote
Old 01-02-2013, 06:34 PM   #8
duboman
Recipes 
 
Jul 2011
Glenview, IL
Posts: 6,368
Liked 508 Times on 470 Posts


Quote:
Originally Posted by AmandaK

I never thought it to be worthwhile to spend $50-70 on a tool that only works half of the time. Hydrometer, thermometer and temp. correction chart work every time.
+1
I don't use one and don't ever miss not having one either
__________________
Nothing Left to do but smile and drink beer.....

The Commune Brewing Company-Perfecting the "art" of beer since 2010

 
Reply With Quote
Old 01-02-2013, 06:39 PM   #9
brycelarson
Recipes 
 
Jul 2012
Minneapolis, MN
Posts: 529
Liked 55 Times on 49 Posts


Quote:
Originally Posted by duboman View Post
+1
I don't use one and don't ever miss not having one either
how do you know you don't miss it?

I dunno, it's really great to be able to instantly track gravities. It means as I collect wort I can immediately adjust collection volumes and hit my pre and post boil gravity every batch.

 
Reply With Quote
Old 01-02-2013, 06:41 PM   #10
jtejedor
Recipes 
 
Sep 2010
Las Vegas
Posts: 651
Liked 11 Times on 10 Posts


Yeah it ain't that great. Even for OG I keep going back to my hydrometer. There is always plenty of wort left behind to use for that purpose after draining the kettle.



 
Reply With Quote
Reply
Thread Tools


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
What tool/device/gadget do you wish you could find for brewing? quickdrawbrew Equipment/Sanitation 49 12-06-2012 02:10 AM
Excel brewing tool nilo Brewing Software 0 12-05-2012 09:23 PM
When using the Beersmith or Promash refractometer tool is OG after boil or pre-boil jetmac Brewing Software 7 05-02-2011 03:45 PM
Brewing Tool - Need Ideas! DaBo Brewing Software 5 02-09-2009 11:34 AM
Is the refractometer possibly the coolest brewing tool available Shonuff Equipment/Sanitation 10 01-26-2009 04:49 PM


Forum Jump