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
     
  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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