Gravity reading from glass carboy?

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hooplehead

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I've racked to my secondary glass carboy and need to take a gravity reading in a few days. Does anyone have an easier way of doing this than siphoning? I saw a product called a Wine Theif that supposedly does something like this - anyone have experience with it?

thanks!

d
 

TerapinChef

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I got tired of this whole situation. I had rigged up a turkey baster with a bit of extra tubing so I could check the progress on 5.5G batches in a 7 gallon carboy. I stopped checking until three weeks later when I racked it to secondary. I think I'm just going to buy a refractometer, then I'll only need a drop or two instead of a whole tube full of it...
 

hopsalot

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RDWHAHB use the turkey baster or just play it by ear, this the coolest empirical process on earth
 

ChshreCat

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I use a wine thief and it's nice and easy. It's basically a thick tube with a small hole on each end. You dip it in, then plug the top hole with your thumb after it fills. Then you can pull it out, put the end in your sample container, let your thumb up and it drops right in. Kinda like when you played with your straw in your pop as a kid. Same principle.
 

BeerNewbie

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The Wine Thief is great (I don't know why it's labeled 'wine'...) -- You stick it in, pull it out partially, drop in your Hydrometer, look at it, then touch the release at the bottom of the Thief to the side of the carboy, and it puts the beer back in, and your done. 20 seconds.

After doing the syphoning thing myself the first time, I went to the brewing store and bought the thief. (It was on my Christmas list, but I couldn't wait...)
 

Kauai_Kahuna

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A Wine Thief is basically a Turkey baster, I use a three piece plastic one that is easy to break apart for cleaning and sanitation. Just make sure you clean it well and soak it in some sanitizer prior to using it. IE: No stuck clumps of greasy turkey left on it.
 

TerapinChef

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The problem is that the turkey baster won't reach a 5.5 gallon batch in a larger carboy, and attaching some tubing to the end of it doesn't really work all that well. I'm going to invest in a thief soon...and thanks for the info on the refractometer, I didn't know that it wouldn't work for FG readings.
 

MikeRLynch

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My dog got sick when she was a puppy, so we had to feed her via a large gauge, no needle syringe. When she got better, I realized that racking tubing fits perfectly on the end of the syringe. I've been using it ever since. Here's a link to where you can get them (.19!)
 

davesrose

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Photopilot

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I keep my whine thief in a bucket of sanitizer with a hydrometer. Pull it out rinse it off with hot water inside and out. Drop it in the carboy. Pull it out and read right from the hydrometer the S.G.

Then put the end of the thief in a glass and the sample pours out into the glass to be sampled. Drop the thief back into the sanitizer to be ready for the next sample.
 

betch

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If the refractormeter does not work after the ferment then why does Promash have a program to measure the OG with a refracto after the ferment?
 

rico567

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I use the Fermtech wine thief exclusively. It's easy to use, and obviates the need for cylinders to float the hydrometer in, and some arrangement to siphon or suck the beer out. The original idea of the "thief" is just a tube open at both ends. It's lowered into the liquid (which can be beer, wine, whisky, etc.), then a thumb is placed over the top end, vacuum holds the liquid in the tube, it's raised out and the sample is tested / tasted, etc.
The Fermtech thief has a simple one-way valve at the bottom, and has an opening at the top large enough to accommodate the hydrometer that came with my kit. It's simplicity itself to lower the thief into a plastic bucket fermenter, get a sample, then give the hydro a twirl to dislodge any bubbles, and take a reading. No thumb action is required, because the one-way valve at the bottom keeps the liquid in the thief.
Carboys, for me, usually require a slightly different technique, which I observed on some YouTube video. If the liquid is far enough up in the neck, immersing the thief far enough down to get sufficient liquid will overflow the carboy somewhat. If the liquid is a bit low, it may be impossible to lower the thief far enough to get enough liquid. The technique is to lower it into the liquid as far as possible, and get more liquid into the thief by rapidly "jerking" the thief up & down in the wort / beer. As the thief goes down, a bit more beer goes through the one-way valve, but can't escape. When enough liquid fills the thief, take the reading.
I read a thread on another forum in which someone said that their hydro wouldn't float straight up in their thief, so that it rested against the side, making accurate readings impossible. Mine works fine, but it is true that the diameter of the thief is not as large as most cylinders I've seen for sale, which is another simple way to float the hydrometer.
In summary, I'm a big believer in the Fermtech wine thief, and I also really like their autosiphon and bottling wand. Durable, easy to use, and simple to clean. Of course, any such gadget should be thoroughly rinsed immediately after use, to prevent any wort / beer from drying on it, and then sanitized before use. I employ a 30" wallpaper tray that I bought at the hardware store to soak all the "gadgets" an fittings. It's great for things like hoses, the thief, and the autosiphon.
 

springer

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I keep my whine thief in a bucket of sanitizer with a hydrometer. Pull it out rinse it off with hot water inside and out. Drop it in the carboy. Pull it out and read right from the hydrometer the S.G.

Then put the end of the thief in a glass and the sample pours out into the glass to be sampled. Drop the thief back into the sanitizer to be ready for the next sample.
Why do you rinse it ? Seems to defeat the whole soaking in sanitizer doesn't it. I just spray the thief with Starsan wait a minute or so and use. I don't sanitize the hydro since it wont come into contact with the beer just the sample that I drink anyway
 

jspence1

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My dog got sick when she was a puppy, so we had to feed her via a large gauge, no needle syringe. When she got better, I realized that racking tubing fits perfectly on the end of the syringe. I've been using it ever since. Here's a link to where you can get them (.19!)
How many times do you have to use that? 6 ml at a time I think my test cylinder holds 250 ml...Am I missing something?
 

humann_brewing

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Bed Bath and Beyond has a Turkey baster and brush set for $4. The baster is skinny and is not that wide by the time it hits the squeezer, perfect for sticking into a carboy. This is what I am going to use.
 

Padstack31

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I bought the glass wine thief from more beer. The one that is hand blow by glass artists in Berkely. It's nice and all but just beware that this theif only holds 50ml, which means you have to fill it a couple of times in order to collect enough of a sample to float the hydrometer.

Just thought I would point that out, might have bought a bigger gauge theif had I known.
 
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