Gravity Measurement: Brix vs Specific Gravity

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easttex

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I'm sure this has been discussed somewhere but my Googlefu is broken at the moment.

The entire 11 years I've been brewing, I've used specific gravity measurements as part of my process. However, I see some brewers and some equipment using Brix.

Is there an advantage to one over the other? Particularly when you can mathematically calculate one from the other?
 

VikeMan

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A big advantage to using SG for brewing is that it's what most brewers (particularly home brewers) do, so there's a common language. I can't say that I know anyone working in Brix for beer brewing.

OTOH, there are more than a few commercial brewers using the Plato scale, which is almost the same thing as Brix. I don't have hard numbers on this, but I get the impression that Plato aficionados are a dying breed (except maybe in Europe?).
 

Hwk-I-St8

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The only people I see using brix are people doing honey. I've never seen a pro that didn't use Plato, but that's a sample size of about 6.

Clearly most home brewers use specific gravity.

Not sure about advantages of any of them.
 
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easttex

easttex

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I guess maybe I've seen an uptick in Brix usage recently. There's been some discussion of Brix refractometers as well as the electronic refractometers I've seen read in Brix. At least one of the YouTubers I follow gives readings in Brix as well.

So, I guess you guys have answered my query - no, it's not as pervasive as I first assumed.

Now, why would the sub-$200 electronic meters read in this unit instead of specific gravity?
 

VikeMan

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I guess maybe I've seen an uptick in Brix usage recently. There's been some discussion of Brix refractometers as well as the electronic refractometers I've seen read in Brix. At least one of the YouTubers I follow gives readings in Brix as well.
Yes, refractometers read in Brix. (They don't really measure Brix when used with wort/beer, but that's another discussion.) But to be meaningful, those "Brix" numbers are converted to SG. You'll notice that all of the refractometer calculators, which are needed to interpret wort/beer refractometer readings, give answers in SG.
 

NSMikeD

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I’m guessing refractometers (ie Brix) may be more popular could be due the increase in small batch brewing. Refractometers use drops of wort/beer and that’s important when you are making one gallon (or 2.5 in my case) and taking several readings. Most brewing software have the conversion calculators built in and for most brewers its close enough.

Also, as a poster in the broken hydrometer thread no more spilled wort nor thrown out batches with broken glass

Plus your friends are impressed when you pose scientist like holding the refractometer up to the window while taking a reading. Seriously, A lot you tube brewers seem to use a refractometer and monkey I mean brewer see brewer do.

I don’t even have a hydrometer any more (never replaced the last dropped one).
So for me it’s brix and calculators.
 

BrewnWKopperKat

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caution: may be going slightly off topic ...

Refractometers use drops of wort/beer and that’s important when you are making one gallon (or 2.5 in my case) and taking several readings
The limiting factor with most "one gallon" batches is often the one gallon carboy - which can only hold around 120 oz of wort and trub.

One can brew to a packing size (6 pack, 12, pack, 24 pack) and adjust the batch size slightly to account for hydrometer measurements. Size the fermenter appropriately. Use the 1 gal carboy for either "Hop Sampler" six packs or to hold StarSan.
 
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