hydrometer question..

Homebrew Talk - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Forum

Help Support Homebrew Talk:

waskelton4

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 22, 2006
Messages
232
Reaction score
1
Location
Jackson, MS
quick question..

how much liquid is needed to get an accurate hyrometer measurement?

i used a 22 oz beer glass last time and feel sad that i wasted that much beer..
plus it took me a while to get it out of the carboy.

can i just use the storage tube that the hydrometer came in??

thanks
ws
 

El Pistolero

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 29, 2005
Messages
3,584
Reaction score
16
Location
Houston
waskelton4 said:
can i just use the storage tube that the hydrometer came in??
Yes, and if you do that it shouldn't take more than two oz to float it.
 
OP
waskelton4

waskelton4

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 22, 2006
Messages
232
Reaction score
1
Location
Jackson, MS
El Pistolero said:
Yes, and if you do that it shouldn't take more than two oz to float it.
thanks

i felt like an abortion doctor pouring all that freshly cooled wort down the drain..

never again :)

ws
 

Glibbidy

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 11, 2005
Messages
2,371
Reaction score
15
Location
Sunny Southern Vermont
While the storage tube works relatively well. It's also nice to have a grauated cylinder around. It's easy to sterilize, and equally as easy to dip in your wort, take your reading and pitch it back into the wort.

I have never had any sanitation issues with this method.

I tried to upload the image but it failed
 

Brewby, my beer

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 17, 2006
Messages
46
Reaction score
0
Location
Connecticut
I use the tube it came in, but I don't like it. The hydrometer always ends up leaning against the side of the tube. I need to get a good testing tube (glass)
 

Cheesefood

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 4, 2005
Messages
6,740
Reaction score
53
Location
Poo-Poo Land
See Walker's Sig.

"Hydrometer's Will Only Make You Worry"

I haven't used a Hydro for the past several batches, and I've never looked back. It's just one more source of possible contamination.
 

Walker

I use secondaries. :p
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Sep 8, 2005
Messages
10,982
Reaction score
113
Location
Cary
I've purposely been avoiding this thread, because I'm sure people are tired of hearing my opinion of hydrometers.

They do obviously have value. To an AG brewer, I can see them as being much more important. And if you want to KNOW (not estimate) your abv, then they are almost necessary.

But, just cruise the forums and look for posts from extract brewers who are worried about their batches because the SG was off or the FG is too low/high. I bet that 99 times out of 100, there is no problem. The yeast just attenuated a little out of range or they added too much/little top-off water, or they took a misrepresentative sample for SG, or they are using the thing improperly, or.... whatever. I don't think the device is worth all the fuss. :)

When I started brewing, I checked gravity. I checked it a lot. I checked at the start, I checked before racking, I checked for "3 static readings" before bottling, I checked on Tuesdays, etc. What did this get me? A few broken hydrometers, a lot of numbers, contamination risks, and ABV info that I never really cared about, but found novel.

The novelty eventually wore off.

I switched to only using it on BIG beers (SG > 1.070). I broke my last hydrometer when I brewed my espresso stout in October and swore I'd never buy another one. But, then I bought a wine kit that required rackings and additives at certain gravities, so I had to buy another one. :(

I might (read: probably) have batches where my ferment stops shy of an estimated 'proper' finishing point... but.... ummm... who cares? Like cheesefood said; Never Look Back. I've got one for my wine, but I won't use it for my beer.

-walker
 

Cheesefood

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 4, 2005
Messages
6,740
Reaction score
53
Location
Poo-Poo Land
Yeah, not to beat a dead horse, but I'm drinking and therefore opinionated.

Fermentation is pretty "Tried and true" in terms of how long it will take. If you do a standard batch (i.e. about 6-7 pounds DME and 1-2 pounds grain for us Extract brewers) and you have a storage place that's about 70'F, it's fair to say that the 1-2-3 method will give you a decent fermentation if you observe a typical fermentation (like a bubbling aiirlock within 24 hours).

I'm still convinced that I ruined two batches because I got too excited about measuring gravity when I was a n008. Once I learned that it was unimportant for a homebrewer, I gave it up. It felt naughty at first, but now it's as natural as not wearing tighty-whiteys.
 

Lost

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 2, 2005
Messages
594
Reaction score
7
Location
Tampa
You're probably right Walker, for an extract brewer they aren't very helpful. But for all grain brewers they are essential for computing your efficiency, knowing when to stop or slow your sparge, and checking your final gravity to see if you mash temp got you the FG you were shooting for. I have a digital PH meter, thermometer, and a hydrometer and swear by them. But I'm sure others' mileage from these tools varies.
 

Walker

I use secondaries. :p
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Sep 8, 2005
Messages
10,982
Reaction score
113
Location
Cary
Yeah... AG would find it handy.

However, I'm sure that with enough experience and batches done, you would start to rely less and less on the hydro even for AG brewing. Everything would just 'feel' right.

(FYI: Janx is an AG brewer and has the same opinion of hydrometers that I do.)


-walker
 

ajf

Senior Member
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Oct 29, 2005
Messages
4,648
Reaction score
119
Location
Long Island
I agree with walker, but I do use a refractometer to get the OG if something goes wrong during the mash/sparge, so I can adjust with extract if necessary. I might also use one if I changed some equipment or procedures that affect efficiency just to gauge if the changes were OK. For many years, I used one before bottling to guard against bottle bombs, but I now realize that this was completely unnecessary.
The only things I miss by not using them is drinking the sample, and the thrill of trying to catch it as it rolls off the counter top.

-a.
 

Mikey

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 11, 2005
Messages
666
Reaction score
5
Location
I'm gone!
Walker-san said:
But, then I bought a wine kit that required rackings and additives at certain gravities, so I had to buy another one. :(
You'll soon find out that wine kits are just as predictable as beer kits, so you won't need to measure with an evil hydrometer on those either.:)
 

Walker

I use secondaries. :p
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Sep 8, 2005
Messages
10,982
Reaction score
113
Location
Cary
Mikey said:
You'll soon find out that wine kits are just as predictable as beer kits, so you won't need to measure with an evil hydrometer on those either.:)
I fully expect this. Were it not for the facts that (a) the kit cost about $130 and (b) it is guaranteed (kit will be replaced at no charge) if you follow the instructions to the letter, I probably would not have bought the hydrometer.

Of course, after I bought it I realized that there would be no way for the manufacturer to know whether or not I used a hydrometer in the event that my wine came out badly, so.... :)

-walker
 

uglygoat

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 3, 2005
Messages
2,765
Reaction score
10
Location
Clebland, OH
i like to draw samples for readings cause it's an excuse to drink beer... :)

seriously though, i found the tube it came in was not very reliable, as it warped if i put wort in there that was too hot, and the hydro always hit the side. i spent two bucks and got a thicker plastic tube, with a base.

i just take a sample after the mash is finished to ballpark my effeciency, take a reading after the boil, if i remember... and then take when when i rack to secondary and bottle.... if i remember too... i don't open up the fermentors and sample them till i rack.

it is what it is most of the time... :D

this winter and spring, i've found my ales benefiting more from two-three weeks in the primary and a few weeks in the secondary, i've noticed my gravity not changing but for a few points in the secondary... i'm not certian about summer as it will be the first summer in the house, so i may have to adjust primary times.
 

Walker

I use secondaries. :p
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Sep 8, 2005
Messages
10,982
Reaction score
113
Location
Cary
t1master said:
i like to draw samples for readings cause it's an excuse to drink beer... :)
You don't need to take a reading in order to justify drawing a sample and drinking it. I just call it "Quality Assurance Testing".

-walker
 

Some Hasbeen

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 17, 2006
Messages
62
Reaction score
0
Location
Milwaukee, WI
My daughter used my hydrometer as a drumstick when I hadn't quite cleaned up after my first brew. I was sure I'd never be able to finish brewing my beer without one. Went to my LHBS to buy a new one and was told he didn't think they were necessary unless I enjoyed having something to stress about when brewing. In fact, most of his recipes don't even have a spot on them for ISG or FSG. He said he just got tired of worrying about it. I agreed and haven't looked back. So far, I'm on batch number 9 and have yet to be disappointed with any of my brews. My daughter has found alternative materials to use as drumsticks, as well. So we're all happy.
 
Top