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How to most safely get a hydrometer reading in plastic fermenter

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timsch

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So I'm brewing my first ale in the 6.5 gallon plastic fermenter. It's been almost two weeks and I want to get a hydrometer reading. I'm aware of how we're supposed to protect the brew from outside air, but I don't see a way other than removing the lid to either get a sample or to drop the hydrometer into the bucket, given the equipment that I have.

Is this short term surface exposure to the atmosphere alright as long as I don't sneeze or drop hair, etc?

I've searched the forum, but am coming up empty on answers on this one. Recommendations?
 

Corkster

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Pulling the lid is a necessary evil... You'll be fine..... as for the reading, I'd sanitize a turkey baster or something to pull a sample out and use the hydrometer in a test jar.... besides than you get to taste your sample...... it will be very hard to read the hydrometer when it's in the bucket and on top of that you'll have to get yer grubby fingers in yer brew to fish the hydrometer back out...
 

Yooper

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So I'm brewing my first ale in the 6.5 gallon plastic fermenter. It's been almost two weeks and I want to get a hydrometer reading. I'm aware of how we're supposed to protect the brew from outside air, but I don't see a way other than removing the lid to either get a sample or to drop the hydrometer into the bucket, given the equipment that I have.

Is this short term surface exposure to the atmosphere alright as long as I don't sneeze or drop hair, etc?

I've searched the forum, but am coming up empty on answers on this one. Recommendations?
The easiest way is to sanitize a wine thief or a turkey baster, remove the lid, and draw your sample and simply replace the lid. It'll be fine to do that. As long as whatever you're using to take your sample with is sanitized, taking samples is ok. Make sure you don't pour your hydrometer sample back into the fermenter, though- you can drink that to see how things are progressing if you want.

It's important to be sanitary, but just opening a fermenter to air isn't going to harm it, or allow harmful yeast and bacteria to invade, unless you're fermenting in a barnyard.
 
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also, you dont have to worry about the beer being exposed to air, as after 2 weeks of fermentation, you have a nice healthy layer of CO2 on top of the beer to act as a buffer.
 

llazy_llama

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you want to pop the lid, and get a sample with a sanitized thief.
Bingo. CO2 is heavier than air, so opening your bucket every once in a while isn't a big deal. That CO2 cushion will keep your beer relatively safe. Dunk in a sanitized wine thief, and either pour that into a hydrometer vial or just add your hydrometer to the thief.
 

Pogo

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I take the airlock out of the rubber gromment, or the drilled stopper (which ever applies), and run a length of sanitized 1/4" OD plastic tubing down into the wort.

Then I siphon 3/4 of a cup into my gravity test jar, ease the tubing out of the fermentor, replace the airlock, measure the SG, AND drink the gravity sample.

Viola!

Pogo
 

TheBandit

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I've been reading on a few threads about not putting the sample for a gravity reading back in the fermentor. If you used a sanitized theif and hydrometer what would be the risk?
Anthony
 

SumnerH

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I've been reading on a few threads about not putting the sample for a gravity reading back in the fermentor. If you used a sanitized theif and hydrometer what would be the risk?
Anthony
Low but non-zero, there's always the chance a bug floats in.

Plus, many brewers like to drink the sample to get a feel for how the beer is progressing.
 

reim0027

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I use a red rubber urinary catheter and a 60cc syringe. I just remove the airlock, stick the catheter down through the grommet and pull back what I need. Very easy.
 

reim0027

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I don't even want to know why you just happened to have a urinary catheter laying around.
LOL - not what you think. I am a veterinarian. So, I got a fresh STERILE, UNUSED catheter.
 

ChshreCat

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That sample is your beer's gift to you for caring so much about it. It would be rude to give it back and not drink it. :D
 

reim0027

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Nothing like a little Special K to get you going in the morning :rockin:
 
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