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Specific Gravity - Who Checks it?

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Do you check the specifig gravity with a hydrometer?

  • Never!

  • Once in awhile

  • Usually

  • Always!

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Slipgate

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Who does this? I have not done it since my second batch of bear a few years ago.
 

Dr_Deathweed

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I will usually check my OG to calculate efficency if I am making minor changes to my technique, and I will usually check FG, especially if it is a bigger beer or I plan on bottling.

Other than that, there are many times when I don't care and am just happy with the fact that I made beer!:mug:
 

GilaMinumBeer

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Who does this? I have not done it since my second batch of bear a few years ago.
I personally don't know how you would check a batch of bear with a hydrometer. And I can't imagine it would be safe no matter how you do it.

As for my beers, meh. I check the SG with a refractometer during brewday but after it's left the kettle I figure it's gonna be whatever it's gonna be.
 

big supper

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OG - Always
SG - when transfering to secondary - usually
FG - when bottling - always
 

flyangler18

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I always check. I want to know my efficiency and I want to know if I hit my OG. I also like to know the final attenuation and what the ABV will be.
THIS. Before it leaves the kettle, I use a refractometer and use the hydrometer to check the progress of fermentation. Granted, a good deal can be 'intuited' from experience....but I want to be sure.
 

Yooper

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I always check the OG to make sure my IBU/Sg ratio is in the ballpark (my efficiency is pretty steady, at 72%ish, though). I always check the FG before kegging, to make sure fermentation is finished. I've had a couple that fooled me- I thought they were done, but stopped at 1.022. I was bottling then, so I'm glad I caught those! I pitched some fresh yeast, and bottled when it was 1.016.
 

cubbies

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I guess I am pretty much always, but I do not do it as religously as I used to. I basically just glance at it to make sure my efficiency is where I expected it to be. Meaning that I want to make sure that I one day dont make a 1.050 beer into a 1.065 or something. But I definintely always check it before bottling/kegging.
 

nealf

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Pre-boil: Always (in case I need to alter hop additions)
Post-boil: Usually
2 weeks into fermentation: yes, just to make sure its down to where I would like it
 

mmb

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The more data the better. I check first runnings, both batches, pre-boil OG and FG.

All this asking about hydrometers and who uses them is like asking if you use a thermometer. The right temps are important, but don't you thing knowing what your fermenting is important as well?
 

zoebisch01

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Always is the closest option for me. I check preboil gravity and my first sample just before racking (post boil, no...I just take the fractional amount of volumes to get the number). There are times when I let it slide though, but that is really only with established recipes. I just like to see the numbers because if I alter anything in the process I know what I did right or wrong.
 

uglygoat

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depends on what i'm making. but usually. if it's just a simple session beer, read less than 8 lbs of grain, it is what it is, drunk in four weeks.

if it's a bigger investment, like a 9/9/9 barley wine, you bet i want to know where i'm at and where i'm headin.
 

Rhoobarb

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Always, always and, yes, always. Sure, I count bubbles in the airlock, too. But a hydro sample at OG, secondary and pre-kegging/bottling is a must-do in my book.
 

Reverend JC

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I like to make the same batch several times. The only way to do this, i my book, is with accurate calculations and attention to detail. anyone can make good beer, but its tuff to make outstanding beer.


So yes, I check mine all the time.
 

WortMonger

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Always! I use the refractometer until post-boil/pre-pitch then I get a good OG measurement with the hydrometer. I check gravity during fermentation with the refractometer again as a reference only (since I just need to know when it is almost done). I don't take a final gravity until I have poured my first pint, and then I just let it sit out overnight and degas, or I use the vacuum sealer to degas and take a hydrometer FG.
 

Yooper

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You know what just occurred to me? Extract brewers don't really have to check the SG, except to check and see if fermentation is finished. Well, I guess AG brewers don't really have to check, either, but it's important for recipe formulation and checking your SG/IBU ratio, and to check your efficiency.

If you're using an extract kit, and don't worry about bottle bombs from a stuck fermentation, there wouldn't be any need to check the SG.

I bet the OP is an extract brewer, and then the answers to the questions would change.
 

Tonedef131

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How could you not take an OG and FG reading? That would drive me insane not knowing what is going on with my beer. Without these you will have no idea what your efficiency, BU:SG ratio, IBUs or ABV are and you could never be sure it was done. It will also help you in reproducing it if you wanted to, I firmly believe this is one of the most important and simplest ways to improve your brewing.
 
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I put an ass ton of effort into my beer. I want to know EVERYTHING i can know about it. If you're a 30 year veteran brewer and just making coopers can kits so you got a beer in the fridge....maybe, but I'm really going for something special here.
 

Brew-boy

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One of the best part of brewing is when I check. I love when Beer Tools tells me I should hit a certain gravity and I nail it.
 

cuinrearview

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You know what just occurred to me? Extract brewers don't really have to check the SG, except to check and see if fermentation is finished. Well, I guess AG brewers don't really have to check, either, but it's important for recipe formulation and checking your SG/IBU ratio, and to check your efficiency.

If you're using an extract kit, and don't worry about bottle bombs from a stuck fermentation, there wouldn't be any need to check the SG.

I bet the OP is an extract brewer, and then the answers to the questions would change.

This is me. Every time I've used the online calculators or Beersmith it matched my readings, so the only time I use a hydrometer now is while transferring out of primary to make sure it's done fermenting. I've yet to have a strange occurance during primary(knock on wood), so I've yet to feel the need.

Once I brew without extracts I'll definately use a hydrometer throughout the process, so I understand the outcome of the poll.
 

Laughing_Gnome_Invisible

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You know what just occurred to me? Extract brewers don't really have to check the SG, except to check and see if fermentation is finished. Well, I guess AG brewers don't really have to check, either, but it's important for recipe formulation and checking your SG/IBU ratio, and to check your efficiency.

If you're using an extract kit, and don't worry about bottle bombs from a stuck fermentation, there wouldn't be any need to check the SG.

I bet the OP is an extract brewer, and then the answers to the questions would change.
Probably dead on! I do extract and NEVER check the gravity any more. That will probably change for a while when I go AG.....But then I will stop again when I know what I'm doing. ;)
 

lapaglia

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As an engineer I have to have the numbers. As an artist they help me control the art of brewing.

And as a master of BS I just gotta to have them. :rockin:
 

Bigsnake

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As an engineer I have to have the numbers. As an artist they help me control the art of brewing.

And as a master of BS I just gotta to have them. :rockin:
I agree. I check all the time and check it multiple days before bottling just to be sure it's finished fermenting. .
 

Jonnio

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You know what just occurred to me? Extract brewers don't really have to check the SG, except to check and see if fermentation is finished. Well, I guess AG brewers don't really have to check, either, but it's important for recipe formulation and checking your SG/IBU ratio, and to check your efficiency.

If you're using an extract kit, and don't worry about bottle bombs from a stuck fermentation, there wouldn't be any need to check the SG.

I bet the OP is an extract brewer, and then the answers to the questions would change.
I am with you on that Yoop, that's why I was a most of the time vote. When I am doing a PM (or soon to be all grain) I always check my SG. When I am doing extract I usually don't mess with it.

I did learn the hard way though that if your using an unmarked carboy and just guestimating 5.25 gallons then check the SG. I made a $60 mistake on a Belgian Trappist Ale by underfilling. I now have a very high abv very sweet beer because my yeast couldn't attenuate it fully.

[Edit] Oh, I kinda misread the question. I still take an FG reading on extract beers to make sure its done before kegging it.
 

Bob

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Always. Didn't we just hash this out in another thread? I said it there, and I'll say it here, too:

A brewer not using a hydrometer is like a carpenter refusing to use a t-square because he thinks there's some ancient "art" in eyeballing right angles. Then he's surprised - and comes and bugs us - when his house falls over. :rolleyes:

Real brewers buy and learn how to properly use the instrument that's, well, instrumental to their craft.
The only way to monitor the progress of the ferment is through the observation of data obtained by instruments. Not watching the krauesen or bubbles through an airlock. Not just waiting. Not any whifty-farkle "arte and mistery of brewinge" bullcrap.

I usually don't have patience for "real brewers do X" opinions, because it's usually bunk (all-grain vs. extract, f'rinstance). In this case, simple facts prevail, so I'm comfortable coming down hard on the side of science.

Reverend JC said it well above:

anyone can make good beer, but its tuff to make outstanding beer.
Someone else mentioned opening a tin of hopped extract and capping bottles. Yeah, one can make mediocre beer without science. A monkey could mix up a Cooper's kit and get bombed on the results. Excellence, on the other hand, comes from meticulous procedure, data-monitoring and record-keeping.

If you're satisfied with baseline mediocrity, that's your right. No one is going to hold a gun to your head and force you to use the most basic brewery instruments. You'll have occasional forays into excellence, but you'll never be able to repeat them because you lack essential data from which to assess consistency. That's pure, dumb luck, not skill. And it's your right to do that if you want. If you want to pursue excellence, however, you must acquire the instruments and the skills to use them.

Regards,

Bob
 

Jonnio

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If you're satisfied with baseline mediocrity, that's your right. No one is going to hold a gun to your head and force you to use the most basic brewery instruments. You'll have occasional forays into excellence, but you'll never be able to repeat them because you lack essential data from which to assess consistency. That's pure, dumb luck, not skill.
Bob, when it comes to extract I have to completely disagree with you here. 9.5 times out of 10 if you take your time and follow a set procedure of boil amounts, cooling, top off to the correct volume etc... and then give it 2-3 weeks in the primary and maybe some secondary time, your going to have exactly what the recipe called out. For extract brewers a hydrometer is still important, but its for that .5 times when you need to troubleshoot. If you don't have a good baseline of data you won't know what went wrong with that one batch, but that doesn't make the other 95+% of your beer mediocre.

There is no way to improve beer by taking a hydrometer reading after dumping in a bunch of sugar powder to say that you hit 100% efficiency and no hop alterations are required.

There is however skill and patience in measuring out the proper amounts of ingredients and water and following the brewing process to a T every single time. That is what makes good extract beer, not taking 50 hydrometer samples.
 

enderwig

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I always intend to check, but forget sometimes. I almost always get the OG, but forget the FG till its too late!
 
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