Most accurate measurement of sugar content?

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Neelixx

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Hey everyone!

I'm writing a program for my fermentations. I'm looking to store the most accurate measurement as a "standard", and will convert from that based on preferences. Which measurement should I use to store from? Specific Gravity? Brix? Plato?

Personally, it doesn't really matter, as there are conversions for each. I just didn't know if 12.3 brix is more accurate than 1.049. Due to the decimal places, specific gravity has more depth. Thoughts?
 

Noob_Brewer

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Hey everyone!

I'm writing a program for my fermentations. I'm looking to store the most accurate measurement as a "standard", and will convert from that based on preferences. Which measurement should I use to store from? Specific Gravity? Brix? Plato?

Personally, it doesn't really matter, as there are conversions for each. I just didn't know if 12.3 brix is more accurate than 1.049. Due to the decimal places, specific gravity has more depth. Thoughts?
I personally would just go with specific gravity as measured by a good hydrometer. You can also purchase finish hydrometers as well. With a good hydrometer, it doesn't matter if there is alcohol present or not, it still measures SG. If using a refractometer and reporting in Brix, you would then need to ensure it is alcohol corrected after pitching the yeast. IMHO if you are simply wanting to log all of these brew day and fermentations, making sure you are: 1) using the instrument as it was designed/calibrated i.e. what temp was your hydrometer calibrated to?, 2) reading the measurement the instrument gives you properly, and 3) being consistent in how you take the reading are going to be most important if you want your data to be meaningful for you.

EDIT: the reason why I stressed #1-3 above are that while a hydrometer may have an accuracy of +/-0.001 (thats great!) but remember, humans are taking the reading so human error IMO often introduces the potential for more error. Practice practice practice.

Cheers!
 

Birrofilo

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The homebrewing world talks specific gravity. The wine world talks Plato or Brix (which is the same thing for our purposes) or other measures.
Refractometers are quite common in the wine industry and they normally talk Brix/Plato. Some people in the homebrewing world use them often and are tired of converting back and forth when they use an hydrometer besides the refractometer, so they get a hydrometer talking Brix.

If the program is only for your personal use, just use the measure which is more familiar to you.
If you want to share it, specific gravity is the best choice because it is more commonly used in homebrewing. In a program, though, it should be easy-peasy to convert from one to the other, either with an accurate formula, or with a look-up table.

You can take this as a look-up table, just make a vector:

These should be decently precise formulas:
Plato = [(OG - 1000) / OG] * 261.
OG = [261/(261 - Plato)] * 1000.

In a program I would use both. IF the density is within the range given by table, I would use the look-up table (which, truth be told, is also faster, you save some billionth seconds for sure!).
ELSE I would use the formulas.
 

Dland

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Hopefully you have a manual/alt way to check gravity if the magic smoke goes out of your automation. I'd calibrate in that(alternative way), since it is likey automation will become compromised at some point, might as well get familiar the back up. ;}
 

day_trippr

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I'm going to bet the actual accuracy of whatever measurement technique will be used will have built-in errors in excess of whatever "scale" one uses...

Cheers!
 
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Neelixx

Neelixx

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I'm going to bet the actual accuracy of whatever measurement technique will be used will have built-in errors in excess of whatever "scale" one uses...

Cheers!
Agreed. I'm just going to go with tossing a coin, and using that as my "standard", and just converting as needed.
 

hotbeer

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Personally, I don't think anything we do measures sugar content "accurately" .

It's just an assumption based on the ingredients and amounts that normally makes up a beer. It's a pretty accurate assumption, but an assumption none the less as SG doesn't directly measure sugar content no matter how you read it.
 
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