Well i just got my refractometer!

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bracconiere

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First thing i wanted to do is use this calc to see how close it works!


i'm not sure how good i am at reading this thing yet, it looks like it's a bit high then 6, so i punched in 6.5 for brix and my final gravity with a hydrometer was 1.002...the calc spit out 8.16%ABV...but being that i knew my OG, i know it's actually closer to 8.3%...i'd say a damn close guess though!


sure it will be a handy trick in the future! :mug:
 

Nate R

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First thing i wanted to do is use this calc to see how close it works!


i'm not sure how good i am at reading this thing yet, it looks like it's a bit high then 6, so i punched in 6.5 for brix and my final gravity with a hydrometer was 1.002...the calc spit out 8.16%ABV...but being that i knew my OG, i know it's actually closer to 8.3%...i'd say a damn close guess though!


sure it will be a handy trick in the future! :mug:
Start with distilled water to calibrate it!
You only need to use the calculation after the start of fermentation. But you have to have the starting brix for any calculator to work.
I love my refractometer! Any time i check it against my old hydrometer it is always very close- like as close as my naked eye can "guess" on the hydrometer level.
 

Jhedrick83

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I got a refractometer recently as well and love it. The only think that tripped me up at first was that the FG readings need to be adjusted due to the alcohol content throwing things off. I love being about to just take 2-3 drops for readings rather than large samples to float a hydrometer.
 
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bracconiere

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well, i'd hate to say i prefer my hydro.....but the fact that i can get a really good guess at the ABV comparing the two if i forget to check the OG, like when i make a cider and just dump the juice in and add some sugar to bump it up, and don't stir it in thoroughly....now i can take a hydro reading and a refrac one when it's done and get a damn close idea what the og and abv is.....


(on a side note, i haven't read the directions yet, but it's kinda blurry....do i need to focus it? lol ;))
 
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oh i should add, that the comparison of refrac to hydro, would work way better for sake that i got two pretty much useless vintometers to try and firgure the ABV.....because being you add steamed rice in increments there's no way to actually get a OG for it....
 

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(on a side note, i haven't read the directions yet, but it's kinda blurry....do i need to focus it? lol ;))
Yes, the eyepiece is adjustable, it screws in or out to focus to your eyes, wearing glasses or not. It's best done with water as the line will be as sharp as can be.

And don't dunk the front end into wort or beer. Just be a bit more elegant and put a drop onto the prism with a pipette or what I usually do, with the tip of a butterknife, then close the lid.
 

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250 pippettes for like $10 on amazon...
And i bet there is a better deal out there too.
I'm still using the same plastic bulb pipette that came with my refractometer... It rinses out well enough using a cup or glass of water. Suck up, invert or shake, spray out in air or sink. Repeat once or twice.
 
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i've got plenty of glass eye droppers......do i have to worry about filling the whole length of the blue thingy...or is just a drop at the bottom enough?
 
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just doughed in, need to know...even though using my hydro would be a pre-vorlauf...curious to try and get this thing in focus....
 

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i've got plenty of glass eye droppers......do i have to worry about filling the whole length of the blue thingy...or is just a drop at the bottom enough?
Plastic ones don't break, but yeah whatever works to pick up a drop (or 2). Hence the tip of a butterknife.
One drop (or 2) in the middle of the prism. When closing the lid it should disperse evenly underneath.

Don't put drops of hot liquid on the prism, not that they will crack it, they'll evaporate, skewing your measurement by reading an inflated gravity.

Let that hot wort cool off a bit first, in a small metal cup. Of take a sample with a bulb pipette, and swirl it, bulb side down, in a cup or beaker with some (ice) cold water.
 
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and i tried just a drop on the refrac, and i got a reading of 5 brix for my mash...but i dropped a hydro in a graduated cylinder, and got 1.058 or so at 130f....
 
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i trust my hydro, because i haven't floated into space yet....and they haven't figured out how to travel faster then light yet....but i'm going to try to help work on it...lol :mug:
 

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and i tried just a drop on the refrac, and i got a reading of 5 brix for my mash
Maybe too hot and it evaporated? The sample needs to spread out fully between the prism and the cover for the instrument to work.
Any bits of grain will skew the reading too. It has to just the liquid.
Let that 1/2 - 1 oz sample sit for a few minutes in a small cup, or shot glass, or so and then pick up a drop of the clear (or hazy) part of the liquid.
 
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took another reading, thinking maybe my bazooka might have had some water in it, up to 19 brix now! i want to post a clip of a song...but i'll leave that unsaid.... lol
 
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Let that 1/2 - 1 oz sample sit for a few minutes in a small cup
i did it was still only 5 bricks......but after pulling my couple graduated cylinders for my hydro, it's now 19 brix....which would be comparable to 1.058 at 130f, at 1.077 temp correction.....

(and honestly it strangley looked clearer too!)
 

VikeMan

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You only need to use the calculation after the start of fermentation. But you have to have the starting brix for any calculator to work.
The calculators also adjust the refractometer's "OG" brix reading using a wort correction factor. Otherwise, the initial brix value will be overstated a bit, due to wort not being just a sucrose solution.
 
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now i'm wondering....if this thing reads in brix. and i always get plato with a triple scale hydrometer. whats actually easier to convert to SG? lol
 

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I just read the SG side and take that gravity as if it's true.
I know it's a little inaccurate, but I'm not looking for 1-2 points precision. Ballpark is close enough for me. Now if it's more than 5 (or 10) points off from what I expect, I'll be looking, oh yes. :yes: :yes: :yes:
 
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bracconiere

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I just read the SG side and take that gravity as if it's true.
I know it's a little inaccurate, but I'm not looking for 1-2 points precision. Ballpark is close enough for me. Now if it's more than 5 (or 10) points off from what I expect, I'll be looking, oh yes. :yes: :yes: :yes:
i still don't understand points, is the % side?
 

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When i first got into brewing, one of the first things i decided was a good refractometer, ended up getting the hanna digital and havent regretted it a single damn bit.
 
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bracconiere

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I'm not sure what you're asking here...


i think this one is all brix...it just says Brix %, and both left and right are identical....but on a plus note i dropped my hydro in my boil kettle, with temp correction got 1.052, and 13 brix with the refrac so 1.051....close enough.

hmmm....now to see what testing whiskey with it would tell me.....??

hey! :mug: it works with whiskey too! now when i make alco-pop, i can double check my ABV for a keg!
 

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i think this one is all brix...it just says Brix %, and both left and right are identical...
That may explain it... 😊

Rule of thumb:
Just multiply your %Brix reading by 4 to get SG points.
e.g. 13% Brix ==> 1.052 SG (vs. 1.051 SG using the Brix converter)
Close enough for most jobs that aren't critical.
 
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now i want to try this thing out with a big batch of kombucha, "for work"...;) want it between 0.5% and 1%, to stay hydrated, desert heats a bitch!
 

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Some refractometers have an SG scale, some do not.
Mine has a scale labeled "SG Wort". I spent some time one day trying to figure out what conversion formula they used to create that scale, but could not. From what I can tell, there is a simple conversion between the two when measuring simple sugars. There are also some correction factors that play into taking measurements of wort (which has complex sugars). At lower gravity points, the SG Wort scale seemed to match with correction formulas, but at higher gravities it does not.

When I stopped paying attention to the "SG Wort" scale in my hydrometer, and just using BeerSmith to do the conversion I started having more accurate readings. (note, that BeerSmith does calculate a correction factor based on comparing refractometer readings to hydrometer readings)
 

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My refractometer has both scales - I just have to remember to record both numbers. The SG wort (1.xxx) scale is pretty much spot on to the hydrometer
I've used mine a bunch, and on the calculator with Brewers Friend, even leaving the correction factor at 1.0, it's close enough for government work. |Plus or minus a point or so, I rarely bother with a hydrometer reading anymore, maybe once every 5 or 6 brews, just to verify. I do check calibration every other, if not every brew, using the brew water just before heating for strike.
 
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moorejl57

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Mine reads in Brix only as well and I love the convenience of being able to take a quick reading during the boil to know when I have hit my target. I also use it to measure other things (ethanol/water, salt/water, coffee) by back calculating to refractive index. Then I can use a table to read other substances or if I get motivated I can make a spreadsheet to do the conversions from Brix to whatever.

For calibration, you use a couple of drops of distilled water. This can be easily obtained from the lid of a pan you boiled water in. I am still using the original pipette that came with it, just rinse it out well after use.
 

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When i first got into brewing, one of the first things i decided was a good refractometer, ended up getting the hanna digital and havent regretted it a single damn bit.
Which Hanna did you get? Looking at the HI 96841 -- but notice it has the disclaimer "Cannot be used with finished beer or other fermented beverages". Are you able to use it both pre and post ferment?
 

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Looking at the HI 96841 -- but notice it has the disclaimer "Cannot be used with finished beer or other fermented beverages". Are you able to use it both pre and post ferment?
Refractometers, digital or otherwise, can be used both pre and post fermentation, if the readings are adjusted by a refractometer calculator. It's an imperfect estimate, but it's close enough for many purposes.
 
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bracconiere

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well i like it....

the vintometers supposedly would work with water,ethanol...but no sugar present...damn things clogged on me fast...now i can figure ABV with water/sugar/ethanol....


and being i like my fun brewing toys to be about a $20 spot.....great investment....still having a hell of time getting the thing to focus though :(
 
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Any chance, perhaps... my dear friend... it is not the device that is having issues focusing?? In other words... have you tried it sober yet?
(And yes, i am speaking from personal experience here!!)

well, my dear friend, i'm not willing to try that....but i will try squinting one eye next time i pull it out! :mug:


edit: thanks for the tip, i just tried it again with a squirt of beer...but i kept both eyes open, and being i've got a buzz could ignore the other one not being used, but left it open! sharp as hell!

do they make a binocular refractometer? ;)
 
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Which Hanna did you get? Looking at the HI 96841 -- but notice it has the disclaimer "Cannot be used with finished beer or other fermented beverages". Are you able to use it both pre and post ferment?
I actually got the 96811, I plug the numbers into the brewers friend refractometer calculator and my numbers are always dead on with what im trying to brew, Just finished up an imperial stout and the numbers were smack dab on the money. Gonna be an 11.6% stout with some back sweetening from some good maple syrup.
 
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bracconiere

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well my first brew with the refrac, i owe someone an appolagy. don't remember a name though.


being that could sample my run off during fly sparging, i realized sparging past 1.009 run-off was pretty pointless, called it at 11.5 gallons in the pot.

got a 1 hour boil off instead of 3, and 94% effec anyway!

now i just need one that reads in SG so i don't have to run back and forth from the computer to figure out what the hell a brick is! lol :mug:
 

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now i just need one that reads in SG
Nah, just multiply your Brix reading with 4 to get to an approximate SG value.
e.g. 10 Brix ==> 1.040 // 15 Brix ==> 1.060

At 1.050 start adding 1 point for each additional 10 points:
1.060 + 1
1.070 + 2
1.080 + 3
etc.
Close enough for me, and I don't do government work anymore...

Here's a reference table of Brix to SG conversion:
 
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