Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > General Techniques > Trust my refractometer?
Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old 02-21-2013, 01:45 AM   #1
RustyPitchfork
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Posts: 18
Default Trust my refractometer?

So I broke my hyrometer durring my brew session today, and my refractometer is giving me a OG of 1.073 or 17.8 brix but I was expecting around 1.065OG or 16Brix when all was said and done. I was taking measurements of my wort pre-boil and all were on track, last reading from both hyrometer and refratometer were 1.061 pre-boil. I've re-calibrated my refractometer with distilled water and I keep getting this reading. Should I trust it? My gut says no. My tastebuds say no (wort doesn't taste "that" sweet, but it's a pretty high IBU beer.). Thoughts?


RustyPitchfork is offline
 
Reply With Quote
Old 02-21-2013, 03:44 AM   #2
Bobby_M
Vendor and Brewer
HBT_SPONSOR.png
Vendor Ads 
Feedback Score: 4 reviews
 
Bobby_M's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Whitehouse Station, NJ
Posts: 22,832
Liked 1346 Times on 881 Posts
Likes Given: 35

Default

It's probably more likely that the refractometer is better at telling between 1 brix than your taste buds.


Bobby_M is offline
 
Reply With Quote
Old 02-21-2013, 02:46 PM   #3
JLem
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Attleboro, MA
Posts: 3,653
Liked 176 Times on 153 Posts
Likes Given: 6

Default

Unless you dropped the refractometer, I'd say to trust it. Especially since it is calibrated both against distilled water and with a hydrometer reading from a previous wort.
__________________
My Hombrewing Blog

My Beer Cellar
JLem is offline
 
Reply With Quote
Old 02-21-2013, 03:11 PM   #4
Dr. Francois
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Okemos, MI, Michigan
Posts: 613
Liked 39 Times on 31 Posts
Likes Given: 1

Default

If it is calibrated, trust it. If you still don't trust it, pitch it. Or donate it.

In addition to DI water, I wonder if there's another calibration liquid we could all use for mid-range calibration. Something like Coca Cola could work, no? Anyone know the OG on Coke?
__________________
Dr. François

"We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be."
--Kurt Vonnegut
Dr. Francois is offline
 
Reply With Quote
Old 02-21-2013, 04:12 PM   #5
RustyPitchfork
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Posts: 18
Default

Well, I will do a test tonight. I will grab a new hydrometer on the way home from work and test it against the refractometer. I have never dropped it, but it was purchased online and who knows how it was handled before. I get funky readings from it all the time.
RustyPitchfork is offline
 
Reply With Quote
Old 02-21-2013, 04:23 PM   #6
stpug
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 3,256
Liked 558 Times on 474 Posts
Likes Given: 338

Default

Since you use such a small amount of liquid with a refractometer you do need to be careful of what's on the utensil you use and your timing if dealing with hot liquids. A rinsed and not dried spoon can lead to inaccurate measurements on the lighter_than_expected side due to the excess water remaining on the spoon. A non-rinsed, reused spoon can lead to inaccurate measurements on the heavier_than_expected side due to concentrated sugars left on the spoon. I always use a new spoon, or rinse and dry my reused spoons. Also, putting a small amount (0.5 ounce or so) of hot wort in a shot glass and letting it sit on the counter to cool can also lead to increased brix readings due to the evaporation that takes place during the cooling thus concentrating the sugars. Is it possible you ran into any of these scenarios, or others I didn't mention?
__________________
:: St. Pug ::
stpug is offline
 
Reply With Quote
Old 02-21-2013, 09:20 PM   #7
RustyPitchfork
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Posts: 18
Default

I was taking chilled wort going into the fermentor, in a small shot glass and using that as my sample, testing immediately.
RustyPitchfork is offline
 
Reply With Quote
Old 02-21-2013, 09:27 PM   #8
brycelarson
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Posts: 527
Liked 54 Times on 48 Posts
Likes Given: 17

Default

Does your refractometer have a calibration screw? Many do.

Does it have auto temp correction?
brycelarson is offline
 
Reply With Quote
Old 02-21-2013, 11:34 PM   #9
jhall4
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Pleasanton, California
Posts: 151
Liked 13 Times on 12 Posts
Likes Given: 5

Default

That sounds like about a gallon of boil off assuming you finished with about 5 gallons in the fermenter. That's not really an outlandish number for boil off, so if it seems like you got about that much boil off I'd definitely trust it.
jhall4 is online now
 
Reply With Quote
Old 02-21-2013, 11:50 PM   #10
jwalker1140
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Glendale, CA
Posts: 559
Liked 50 Times on 39 Posts
Likes Given: 9

Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Franc103 View Post
If it is calibrated, trust it. If you still don't trust it, pitch it. Or donate it.

In addition to DI water, I wonder if there's another calibration liquid we could all use for mid-range calibration. Something like Coca Cola could work, no? Anyone know the OG on Coke?
Try tap water. Calibrate to 0 brix with DI and then take a reading of your tap water. If your experience is the same as mine, it'll read 0 brix as well, or so close that it's not worth worrying about.


jwalker1140 is offline
 
Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Who Do You Trust? Hydrometer or Refractometer Satisfaction General Beer Discussion 20 12-29-2012 01:22 AM
Should I trust my Hydrometer or Refractometer Prymal Equipment/Sanitation 8 03-12-2012 10:35 AM
Who To Trust more? noodle23 Brewing Software 8 07-21-2011 03:05 PM
Should I trust my refractometer, or my hydrometer? curlyfat Equipment/Sanitation 9 07-21-2010 09:37 PM
Do you trust your refractometer? BigNastyBrew Equipment/Sanitation 14 04-08-2009 10:15 PM


Forum Jump

Newest Threads

LATEST SPONSOR DEALS