I assume you mean me. I have never told people not to use one, but rather to use one only if it adds to the enjoyment of brewing. If it does not, my suggestion was to stop using a hydrometer, since it is not neceessary to use one to brew beer. I stand by that assertion completely. Unless the hydrometer readings add to the experience and fun, don't use it. A lot of brewers on this board agree.
Sorry, but I think the hydrometer is as necessary a tool as a spoon to stir your wort. Without one you will never know (only GUESS) if your beer is ready (and "no bubbles for 3 days" is not an indicator...).
Then there were bubbles
None that I could see. But then again, I wasn't going to stand around for 20 minutes to see if one popped up.
I really don't know what you mean by this. I can replicate my recipes by using the same ingredients, following the same mash schedule, adding hops at the same time, and fermenting in the same conditions. Where does a hydrometer enter the picture?
You, my friend are only assuming every variable is the same. The point here is to try to duplicate them as closely as you can have control over the situation.
For example, you brew a batch and take an OG and a FG. Now you want to replicate it. If you use the same malts, you can assume the OG will be in the same ballpark. But what if it isn't? In other words, at the end of your mash, the gravity is too low. Do you augment with DME? Because that will certainly change the beer. I just don't see how you can say that taking gravity readings helps you replicate a recipe. I'll agree that it helps you know how closely you have replicated a recipe, but you still have to figure out how to correct any discrepancies. A hydrometer certainly doesn't help you do that. Personally, I wouldn't be concerned about a little difference in gravity (if I bothered to check), wouldn't try to correct it, so I don't care what the gravity was in the first place.
If you don't care about correctly replicating your recipe then I agree with you and your comments. But with a hydrometer you can "better guess" as to what you do need to do to better reach that goal.
More importantly, there are not discrepancies. Same ingredients, same mash and you get the same OG.
I believe it. Do you? You're acting as though using a hydrometer takes the experimental aspect out of it. All it does is show you what happened. It does not help you make it happen.
Utter nonsense. I don't use a hydrometer and can easily and often do duplicate recipes.
No, but a hydrometer will PROVE OUT (or CONFIRM) your procedures and amounts of ingredients for your experiment.
LOL. This is really amusing. Why is close not good enough? As you say, it's an experiment, and most of us do it for fun. Sometimes a batch that is close to another batch you have made will be a great improvement. You act as if we should have the attitude of commercial breweries who MUST replicate brews exactly. As homebrewers we are not shackled by such constraints. Close is good enough. Far is good enough. Way out into left field is good enough.
I agree. This whole experiment we call "homebrewing" should be fun for everyone involved. I am not stifling anyone's creativity in any way. Far from it. I am simply stating that a lot of these new brewers want to duplicate something they drank in a bar. The BEST way to do that is by using PROVEN brewing procedures and measured ingredients. The hydrometer is a tool that confirms that you have attained the prescribed level of fermentables.
And now you have somehow tried to link the failure to use a hydrometer to this bizarre disaster scenario of "failed recipes". You never made that point for sure. What about the first time you try a recipe? It's exactly this stressed-out attitude that a lot of us don't need in our brewing. It's exactly that attitude that I want to point out is unnecessary to the newer brewers, unless that's how they have fun with this hobby. Newer brewers tend to have enough to stress over, and I'm trying to help them prioritize by putting hydrometer readings at the bottom of the list.
I agree with the "stressed out" part, but what we call "stress" is something we internalize and put on ourselves because we are not sure of what we are doing. By using gages to measure "what should be" takes stress out of the equation. I mentioned in an earlier thread that even I called my son-in-law to assist me with my first batch. Was I uncertain of what I was doing and didn't want to ruin it? You betcha. Was I stressed? You betcha. Am I stressed whenever I start brewing? No way. I know how to control the situation.
I'm always making up new recipes, and I find out what it tastes like when it's done. A hydrometer would not help make that more perfect beer. I never have a "failed recipe" whatever that is...like a batch you dump because you don't like it? Never happens. Figure the style you want to make. Use a calculator to get bitterness/color/gravity right, and you'll be in good shape every time.
I've experimented with new flavors, malts and such myself. I've had beers come out too bitter, or should I say more bitter than I expected, as well as sweet beer. None of this has to do with the hydrometer. It's all in the hops, or lack of them balanced against the malts. Agreed. But I never threw any of it out. In the case of one too sweet and one too bitter it was an experiment of blending the 2 to get one good flavored beer. In homebrewing, 2 wrongs can make a right.
See here's the thing. How does taking a FG tell you it's done? Because it matches some recipe in a book? Well, in the real world, your beer may not have read the book. It may ferment more or less dry. You may spend eternity waiting for it to reach a FG that will never happen, or you may bottle at your expected FG only to find you did it too early because it wants to ferment drier. I prefer to use my senses I can trust...sight, smell, taste. To each his own.
Sorry, but that statement is utterly untrue. There are always a lot of variables, and you can't quantify them all with a SG number.
True, not all of them, but you can do your best to control what you can. In your case what works best for you may not be best for somone else.
You and I just have different attitudes towards brewing and different things we want to get out of it. I have no need for a hydrometer yet can still replicate brews no problem. Go figure. My only broader point about hydrometers is that you don't need them to brew, so don't use one if you don't want to. Your primary reason for using one, that it is necessary for replicating recipes, is something I disagree with absolutely. Even if you were correct in that assertion, though, a hydrometer would still not be neccessary to brew.
And why would I want all the guesswork out of brewing? I guess I'm just a more laid back brewer than you are, but guesswork and playing around is a big reason I like doing this. If I wanted a known quantity, I'd buy a commercial six-pack.
No offense intended and to each his own, but I did want to clarify my position on hydrometers. Use them if you like and it adds to the enjoyment, but they are not necessary to brew great beer or repeat recipes.