Best way to take gravity samples?

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jaaron91

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I tried to search this but I had a hard time coming up with something. So heres my deal:

My dad and I brewed an orange summer ale a week ago, and we've been visually checking it periodically to see how fermentation is going, but I know I need to take some gravity readings. The only problem is I'm not sure the best way logistically to take the sample. The fermenter is sitting on top of a board on a cinder block in our fridge and there isnt a whole lot of space between the mouth of the carboy and the ceiling of the fridge. I could take it out of the fridge temporarily, but ideally it shouldnt be disturbed, right? I also dont have a tool for drawing a sample, but I think I'll order a wine thief off Amazon for that.

Any suggestions are appreciated!
Cheers
 

sweed

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Order the thief. Take out the bucket, take the to off, and drop the sanitized hydrometer in the beer. That's the best way to do it right now. That's what I did for my first when I didn't have a thief for my OG.
 

michaeltrego

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I ferment with carboys in an upright freezer. When I want to take a reading, I place an upside down milk crate on the floor in front of the freezer, and then very slowly slide the carboy onto the crate so the neck is accessible. Then I take the inner racking tube out of my auto-siphon and use the outer tube as a thief. Seems to work well for me.
 

Dawgs47

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Take it out and use a clean and sanitized turkey baster. Try not to splash, but it will be fine. Most of what is in there should be CO2 after fermentation anyways. Sanitation is you biggest concern.
 

Peppers16

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Taking the carboy out for a reading won't disturb things that much: 5 gallons of liquid will take many hours to warm up.
 

dogbar

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My advice: Walk away, wait until the beer's been in primary for two to three weeks (your choice depending on patience), then cold crash and bottle.
 

chessking

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My advice: Walk away, wait until the beer's been in primary for two to three weeks (your choice depending on patience), then cold crash and bottle.
+1 on leaving it alone. An extra week wont hurt it.
 

RuffRider

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My dad and I brewed an orange summer ale a week ago, and we've been visually checking it periodically to see how fermentation is going, but I know I need to take some gravity readings.
IMO: You do not need to take gravity readings...yet. If you have been watching and observed fermentation, then it's happened and those yeasties are working to clean up after themselves. Don't disturb the brew. After about 3 weeks, then it's time. Take gravity samples over a couple days to verify your done and bottle. :D

Or, do like I do and wait three weeks, draw a sample for ABV calculations, and bottle/keg. :rockin:
 

twistr25

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Definitely wait. Order the thief, wait some more, then take a reading. No use in rushing it. The only thing you'll learn by checking it early is the point where you may have introduced an infection.
 
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jaaron91

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Well I just tried to take a sample to no avail. I used the racking cane from our siphon, and it was no problem getting it into the carboy without moving it because there was a slight bend it from transferring sprage water on brew day. As I tried to draw the beer out of the carboy with the end of the cane capped with my finger the liquid would still pour out. Obviously there wasn't enough suction for it to work. Lesson learned. I sprayed it down heavily with Star San, and there's more or less no air circulation in our basement, so I think I should be fine in terms of infection.

I'm gonna order a wine thief today and attempt another sample on Friday; we're planning on bottling this Sunday.
 
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