Refractometer advice please

Discussion in 'Beginners Brewing Forum' started by Chris in Spain, May 18, 2018.

  1. Chris in Spain

    Chris in Spain New Member

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    Wondered if anyone has experience of these devices and any advice to give regarding their effectiveness. I've just done a 1 gallon stout and lost a fair bit of wort with the hydrometer readings. I'm planning to do other small batch brews and have read conflicting stuff on the internet about refractometers.
    Thanks
     
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  2. Mase

    Mase Well-Known Member

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    #2 Mase, May 18, 2018
    Last edited: May 18, 2018
    You just have to remember that a refractometer needs a correction once alcohol is present and there’s a handy refractometer tool on this site for that. It will definitely save on wort loss vs a standard hydrometer, but a standard hydrometer doesn’t need correction with alcohol present.

    Hydrometer measures sugar density and as alcohol is being produced, fermentable sugar density decreases, whereas a Refractometer measures light refraction and the presence of alcohol affects the reading.
     
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  3. BoomerBrian

    BoomerBrian Active Member

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    I only use a refractometer.

    First thing make sure it is calibrated. Put some distilled water on it and adjust until it reads zero. I usually calibrate every few batches.

    Once fermentation has started you will need to use a correction calculator. I found this one to be the most accurate. http://seanterrill.com/2012/01/06/refractometer-calculator/
     
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  4. Chris in Spain

    Chris in Spain New Member

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    Thanks for your comments. I'm sure I will get used to the correct method for taking and interpreting readings. It's not long ago that I was totally puzzled by hydrometer readings! Reassuring to know that they are actually used.
     
  5. Hawkbox

    Hawkbox Well-Known Member

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    Refractometers are great. I should get around to learning how to use it with FG.
     
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