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Old 10-27-2008, 07:36 PM   #31
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Jun 2008
Pflugerville, Texas
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I like to take a first wort gravity reading, and compare to the theoretical first wort gravity. If they match, I'm good, otherwise I don't have full conversion so I know I had better look for something amiss.

I also take readings of second and third runnings. It would simply be impossible to do all of that with a hydrometer. By the time the sample was cool enough, I would have moved onto the next step, without having time to adjust if I catch something awry.

Once the runnings are in the kettle, I put away the refractometer, but both tools have their place in my brewhouse.
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Old 10-28-2008, 11:57 AM   #32
Jun 2008
Sheboygan, WI
Posts: 9

Originally Posted by billtzk View Post
Why? What do you use it for?

I test the gravity of my wort three times on brew day. I use a hydrometer and sample tube.

My first test is of the tail of my runnings after I've collected all my wort, just to make sure I'm not over extracting. My second test is to get the gravity of the wort in the boiler, my pre-boil mash gravity, after I've collected all my wort. So test 1 and 2 are back to back. Test 3 is my OG in the fermenter before I pitch.

I can't think of a good reason to buy a refractometer. My hydrometer works fine.
How do you cool a sample fast enough to make a hydrometer usefull? By the time its cooled enough that part of the boil is past.

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Old 10-28-2008, 02:42 PM   #33
CBBaron's Avatar
Feb 2007
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Originally Posted by billtzk View Post
If you are an all-grain brewer, a hydrometer is equally helpful. Either a hydrometer or a refractometer is essential. You need a way to measure gravity, while they are used differently, neither does the job better than the other.
Except with a refractometer you can take a small drop and place to measure your gravity almost immediately. With a hydrometer, you must take a much larger sample and cool it to about room temp before you can make the measurement. The refractometer is much quicker and easier. However you are correct that the hydrometer is sufficient.


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