That's really the only way....we all do it...and I've never heard anyone say they felt their beer was ruined because they opened the bucket to take a reading...
Remember there's a cushion of co2 protecting your beer. Just be conscious of how/where you set down your lid while drawing your sample...or better yet have someone help you. Sanitize both sets of hands, have a friend open the bucket...drop your theif or turkeybaster in to draw a sample, then have friend slam lid down... Should be able to do it in less than 30 seconds.
Like my snazzy new avatar? Get Sons of Zymurgy swag, here,
and brew with the best.
Revvy's one of the cool reverends. He has a Harley and a t-shirt that says on the back "If you can read this, the bitch was Raptured. - Madman
I gotta tell ya, just between us girls, that Revvy is HOT. Very tall, gorgeous grey hair and a terrific smile. He's very good looking in person, with a charismatic personality... he drives like a ****ing maniac! - YooperBrew