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Old 08-24-2008, 06:36 PM   #1
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Default Crazy hydrometer readings

Okay, I've been doing this long enough that I'm pretty sure I know how to read a hydrometer, but yesterday's session confused me plenty.

Reading 2: After honey added (post flameout)
1.040 @ 160F = 1.062

Reading 3: Reading after cooled
1.050 @ 80F = 1.052

How is that possible? I expected about 1.062 for grav into fermentor. 1.052 would be somewhere in the 50s for efficiency. Ever had this happen? And yes, I had my wife there to confirm readings.


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Old 08-24-2008, 07:07 PM   #2
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Never taken a reading so hot before, I would be careful for thermal shock with the hydrometer. The discrepancy of readings may be an issue that the hydrometer was cool in a hot liquid. The poor extraction may be the grains fault. I have talked to a few brewers that are getting a lower gravity in the last few months, could be an agricultural thing. As always, take note and see if it happens again.


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Old 08-24-2008, 07:20 PM   #3
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It's my understanding that you should not use a hydrometer in that hot of water. One of the first things my LHBS told me when I first purchased everything. As for the reading, it's probably because the density of that hot of water would easily throw the reading off that much. I think
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Old 08-24-2008, 08:54 PM   #4
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I usually try to cool a little more before I take temp, but I'd missed a couple measurements due to company. I'm disappointed in my eff though, ridiculous....

5.5 2-row
4.5 wheat malt
2lb honey

154F for 60 min
Batch sparge at 180F
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Old 08-25-2008, 12:05 PM   #5
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My experience has been that the hydrometers aren't quite reliable above 110-120*F.
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Old 08-25-2008, 03:49 PM   #6
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Buy a refractometer, it's worth it because you only need a dab of wort and that dab cools quite fast so you can take many readings if needed in very little time. Once you try it and find out how easy it works then you will know why a lot of brewers use them.
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Old 08-25-2008, 06:22 PM   #7
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Where did you get an adjustment table that goes to 160F? Mine cuts off at 50C and it's a professional scale. Even adjusts the adjustments depending on the Brix.
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Old 08-25-2008, 06:31 PM   #8
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80 degree temp difference with a 10 pt hydrometer reading variance doesn't sound off...

It sounds like it's absolutely a temperature variation. hydrometers are calibrated (typically) to 60 degrees and you have to adjust temp according to where your temp is in relation to 60 degrees. Most people take hydrometer readings once they've chilled and are getting ready to pitch (at least I do) and since I'm typically in the low 70's when I'm ready to pitch, the adjustment is pretty immaterial... 160 degrees though... that's a TON.
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Old 08-25-2008, 10:51 PM   #9
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honey will sink to the bottom of the wort. you may have had a diluted sample once it was cooled.

honey should give you 1.034 points per 1 lb of honey per 1 gallon of water.

or, 1.007 points per 1 lb per 5gallons (rounding up a smidge)
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Old 08-25-2008, 11:21 PM   #10
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I agree. You probably had settling; I've learned to stir well before taking my hydro samples after seeing 3-4 Brix differences with my refractometer before and after stirring. (That is 12-16 points difference by stirring!)


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