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place hydrometer in fermenter vs. taking a sample

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earlytimes

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As long as the hydrometer is sanitized, is there a problem with just putting the hydrometer in the fermenter to get your gravity reading?
 

Arneba28

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made that mistake only once lol...figured I would get a reading on second day while it was in the bucket....sank like a rock..had to wait another two days to get my hydrometer back lol
 

hellbender

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orfy said:
I'd of thought it would gunk up and get full of debris which will affect the reading.

I use a short length of fishing line. I glue one end to to the top of the hydrometer with a small spot of super glue. The carboy cap holds the line in place while I take the reading and provides a means for easily retrieving the hrdrometer. No sample - no waste.
 

david_42

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The krausen can make reading the hydrometer a bit tricky, otherwise no problem.

Samples never get wasted around here. I call it QA. Plus, as I use buckets with spigots, drawing gravity samples helps clear the trub away.
 

doubleb

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Taking samples is part of the fun of brewing. Don't you like to taste the progression of your brew? I love my thief. :)

btw, welcome to HBT
 

hellbender

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doubleb said:
Taking samples is part of the fun of brewing. Don't you like to taste the progression of your brew? I love my thief. :)

btw, welcome to HBT

I personally don't. I much prefer the tast of the mature, carbonated final product but I understand how others may want to experience/evaluate the interim stages.
 

chthonik

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hellbender said:
I personally don't. I much prefer the tast of the mature, carbonated final product but I understand how others may want to experience/evaluate the interim stages.
I LOVE the taste of the mature final product. But I do like to know how it tastes at each stage. I like to think it's helping make me a better brewer- if not a drunker brewer!
 

BierMuncher

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You might get a false reading.

Depending upon how far along your fermenation is, excessive CO2 in the beer can cause two problems at once:

Initially, because of the high concentration of gas in the liquid, the hydrometer will sink lower than normal.

Then...CO2 bubbles will begin to collect on the hydrometer and cause it to float at an artificially high level.

A proper hydro reading (in my mind) involves letting the hydrometer flask sit for 2-3 minutes to allow CO2 to escape so you have a "flat" wort. Then dropping in the hydromter and "bumping" it a few times to knock off any CO2 bubbles that attach themselves.

Plus, I like to drink the samples... :D
 
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I use a eye dropper and refractometer. No lost beer and less chance of contamination.

It's usually when I've had a few brews of another batch that I decide to take out the thief and grab a sample for tasting. :drunk:

A brewmaster I know takes sample and then vigoursley tries to stir the co2 out before taking a reading.
 

FlyGuy

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Denny's Evil Concoctions said:
I use a eye dropper and refractometer. No lost beer and less chance of contamination.
Hey Denny -- good to see you back again!

Question for you -- have you had good luck using the refractometer to measure gravity of fermenting wort? I have used the calculators that factor in the conversion of sugars to alcohol in your brix reading, but I haven't found it to be adequately precise. What's your secret?
 
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FlyGuy said:
Hey Denny -- good to see you back again!

Question for you -- have you had good luck using the refractometer to measure gravity of fermenting wort? I have used the calculators that factor in the conversion of sugars to alcohol in your brix reading, but I haven't found it to be adequately precise. What's your secret?
It's ben a while but I beleive yo have to calibrate the software by using that formula (tool) where you take a reading with a hydrometer at OG then a reading with hydrometer AND refractometer at FG. Or something like that. I'll have to take a look.

PM me so I don't forget to look and see.
 

homebrewer_99

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hellbender said:
I personally don't. I much prefer the tast of the mature, carbonated final product but I understand how others may want to experience/evaluate the interim stages.
Sampling your brews at different stages helps you in determining if anything is going wrong. Not testing it along the way is foolish IMO. ;)

Many of us have 4-5-6-7 brews going at any one time. Unless we had 4-5-6-7 hydrometers that method would not be beneficial. It's just as easy to take a reading with a thief.
 

BierMuncher

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homebrewer_99 said:
...Many of us have 4-5-6-7 brews going at any one time. Unless we had 4-5-6-7 hydrometers that method would not be beneficial. It's just as easy to take a reading with a thief.
Absolutely.

I'd be a few hydro's short:

35_gallons.jpg

And imagine trying to read a hydro out of this:

RIS_994.jpg

Ain't no doubt what this reading was...and the sample tasted great too ;)

RIS_993.jpg
 
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earlytimes

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Thanks for the responses. I thought I'd be ok doing that, but I looked and looked and found no mention of anyone ever doing that. It seems everyone always takes a sample. I thought maybe I was breaking some unwritten homebrewing code of law or something.

My problem is I don't have a tall, skinny vessel to place the sample in (the container the hydrometer came in won't work), so I'd have to fill up a tall glass, and I don't want to sample that much!

It sounds like buying a theif will be a good purchase, but I'll continue to just place it in the bucket fermenter until then. And I'll be sure to take a small sample for myself as well.
 

knipknup

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I did this for a while by scotch taping a piece of nylon kite string to my hydrometer and then I made sure to calibrate in water to know how to adjust the reading due to the added weight of the tape/string. It was fine and I didn't lose it in the carboy.

I have since graduated to not taking readings. Just ferment for 21 days in the primary and all is good. Of course, if you are fermenting cold, it could take longer.
 

WortMonger

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Denny's Evil Concoctions said:
I use a eye dropper and refractometer. No lost beer and less chance of contamination.
+1 I use a refractometer also and it gets me a good reference but isn't accurate. I use it to get me close during my fermentation to the carbonation time for the yeast and then have to degas a sample for hydrometer testing to get the real gravity. The refractometer is usually off by a couple degrees due to the alcohol and small CO2 bubbles on the sample glass (after the Beersmith recalculations), but gives me a great estimation of the last third of my fermentables. They are a little pricey but come in to their own on the sparge and boil ;)
 

polamalu43

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Does anyone else sterilize a mug and draw your sample that way?

Is there anything wrong with doing it that way?
 

WortMonger

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Why are you sterilizing a mug? You aren't dumping it back in are you after you test? I ask because that would be way bad, but if you are just testing it then no need to sanitize/sterilize. You should only have to sanitize the thief or other extraction means.
 

bradsul

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wortmonger said:
Why are you sterilizing a mug? You aren't dumping it back in are you after you test? I ask because that would be way bad, but if you are just testing it then no need to sterilize. You should only have to sterilize the thief or other extraction means.
I think he meant that he dips the mug in and pulls the sample out that way. I started with a measuring cup doing that before the turkey baster dawned on me (though I of course bought a new one for it :D).

All hail the wine thief now though! :rockin:
 

WortMonger

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Oh, well in that case, there is no problem. :D Also, I went back and edited my post, but sterilization doesn't really happen in a home brewery without an autoclave or something like that. Sanitize is what we do, sterilize is way more thorough a process than we need for brewing. Just pointing this out for others reading, I am sure you do what I do and use the wrong words sometimes but I just want to be clear about the difference.
 

PeteOz77

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I have tried both testing in the fermenter (I use plastic jugs) and with a testing tube. I used to always use the tube, but since I was filling it off the spigot, I always got heaps of trub and has to take a few samples to get one that wasn't 1/2 trub. I switched to just taking the lid off and dropping in the hydrometer and giving it a good spin.

Now I am thinking I will get a turkey baster or a wine thief to simplify everything.
 
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