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View Poll Results: Worth it?
I use one and they're worth it 15 45.45%
I've used one and they're a waste 0 0%
I don't have one but they sound cool 13 39.39%
I don't have one and don't think they're worth it 3 9.09%
What's a refractometer? 2 6.06%
Voters: 33. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 12-03-2007, 02:05 PM   #1
Soulive
 
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What do we think? Are they useful or not worth the money?
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Old 12-03-2007, 02:11 PM   #2
jdoiv
 
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I bought one off ebay and have started using it. I like it. It's not always accurate once you start fermentation even with the various spreadsheets and calculators. So I'll sometimes use a hydrometer for my final reading. It is easy to use during the mash and sparge though.
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Old 12-03-2007, 02:13 PM   #3
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You are missing an option: I don't have one and I don't think they are worth the money.

That would be me. Well, if I had unlimited $$ for brewing then I would get one. If I needed to check my runnings and never got consistent extract, I would get one. IMO, if you are looking to make better beer, the money could be better spent (for most people).

 
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Old 12-03-2007, 02:14 PM   #4
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It's on the "I'd love to buy one" list for next year, so I can be a little bit more precise about my brewing pre-boil. I don't think it's critical, though; I'd probably invest in a pH meter first.
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Old 12-03-2007, 02:15 PM   #5
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Refractometer is on the low end of my list, but its on there. I just want to get some opinions...

Jay, can you add the poll option "I don't have one and don't think they're worth it"...thanks
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Old 12-03-2007, 02:17 PM   #6
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I think I got one for about $25 off eBay, and that is one handy piece of kit. It is really handy for checking the gravity of your run-off as you sparge (something I never did with a hydrometer because it was too much of a PITA). It also allows you to easily estimate your pre-boil gravity and make adjustments as necessary (e.g., very handy if you miss your target extraction for a high-gravity beer and you need to top up with malt extract or revise your hopping schedule).

 
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Old 12-03-2007, 02:21 PM   #7
Soulive
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FlyGuy
I think I got one for about $25 off eBay, and that is one handy piece of kit. It is really handy for checking the gravity of your run-off as you sparge (something I never did with a hydrometer because it was too much of a PITA). It also allows you to easily estimate your pre-boil gravity and make adjustments as necessary (e.g., very handy if you miss your target extraction for a high-gravity beer and you need to top up with malt extract or revise your hopping schedule).
That's where I'm interested in using it. Not so much for FG reading, more for mashing/sparging. I'm always concerned my BU/GU ration will be screwed it my efficiency sucks. I'm not consistent enough on my efficiency yet, so it'd be really great to know where I stand before hopping...
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Old 12-03-2007, 02:31 PM   #8
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I voted the first option, but I would like to clarify that I only think that they're SORT OF worth it. I originally bought it because so many individuals and websites (like morebeer) make it sound like they're easily usable for both OG and FG measurements with the right calculators, but I soon found out that they're really not very useful for FG measurements regardless of what calculator you use.

I still think it's useful for mashing/sparging, taking OG measurements, and monitoring the progress of fermentation (seeing whether it's stable, NOT trying to figure out a FG) so I don't regret buying it - but if I had it to do over again I think I would have rather put the money elsewhere. I think it will become more worthwhile to me once I get more AG batches under my belt and start using runoff gravities to try to dial in my process.

 
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