Using a Hydrometer...the wrong way?

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snyderb

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Hi,

I was wondering if taking a gravity reading with my hydrometer by simply putting it in the fermentation bucket will give an accurate reading, or is it absolutely necessary to use one of those sample tubes thingies.

I took a reading of my beer and the OG was around 1.05 and after about a week it read only 1.03, reading taken by dropping the hydrometer in the bucket (sanitized).

I accidently pitched the yeast between 85 to 95 F, and the fermentation went crazy after about 6 hours after for about 12 hours and then settled down, bubbling rarely a few days after.

Now it seems that it is done, but the final gravity was 1.03, although the brew did get down to around 60 F a few days ago.

Thanks for your help
 

Domminigan

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The problem with using your Hydrometer in your bucket is the possibility of contamination. The less you get extra stuff in there, the less chance you have of a wild yeast or bacteria getting in there and giving your beer off flavors.

What were you brewing? It would be helpful to know what you had in it to determine what the yeast might be doing.

Your pitching temperature could have weakened the yeast, and the drop to 60° might have caused it to stall out... then again, with the high starting temperature, it might be done. It depends on what was in the brew as to what the FG should be.
 
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snyderb

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i was making a milk stout from a muntons irish stout kit with dry malt extract instead of sugar and added 1lbs of lactose to make it more a milk stout
 

JesseRC

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I would rouse the yeast by shaking the fermenter and raise the temp to 68-70 and keep it there. You didn't say how long it's been since you pitched. I had a stout that was at 1.020 after 8 days, then at 3 weeks was at 1.015. I would really rouse the yeast and leave it be until 3 weeks in primary. I'm also pretty sure that lactose will increase your gravity points. Its a sugar that is not fermentable.
 

axp

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Another problem with using a bucket would be an inaccuracy of the reading bought in by the parallax effect. To get a proper reading the sample and hydrometer should be at eye level. If using a bucket this could be difficult and you may be looking down at an angle trying to read the hydrometer which makes an accurate reading much more difficult.
 

colkrausen

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These are great tips. You certainly want to avoid putting any equipment in your beer that you don't have to. Sanitized or not. Some folks don't rack to a secondary for this very reason.

You should be okay at 90 degrees. Not that you want to do that again, but it'll be fine. White Labs lists 80 degrees at the top end of their range, but I've had the misfortune of pitching at 90 without any problems.

These are some important questions to consider: Did you oxygenate your wort before you pitched? What temperature are you fermenting at? Did you create a yeast starter?

I don't know how long your brew has been sitting there, but if agitation did nothing for you, you can try to re-pitch. If you can't squeeze much more gravity out of the brew, the lactose addition could be the cause.

You'll save this brew, it'll just be a little more work.

:mug:
 

malkore

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I never take a sample out of my bucket. I always just put the hydrometer right in there.

Never had any issues doing this. If you can't get your hydrometer sanitized then there are bigger issues at play.
 

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