Refractometer Question

Discussion in 'Beginners Brewing Forum' started by Craigerrr, Sep 11, 2018.

  1. Craigerrr

    Craigerrr Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2018
    Messages:
    4,701
    Likes Received:
    6,903
    Trophy Points:
    113
    I'm thinking that I should get a refractometer.
    The prices vary pretty drastically, there are a half dozen on amazon.ca that are $16 Canadian ($12 US), they range up to $130 or more. For my purposes, brewing once a month, is a $16 unit all I need?
    TIA
    Craigerrr
     
  2. philjohnwilliams

    philjohnwilliams Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2012
    Messages:
    324
    Likes Received:
    426
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    Verdun, quebec
    I have a $17Cdn refractometer that I bought off ebay, and as near as I can tell it is exactly the same unit my LHBS sells for $75. I have never had an issue with the one I bought, and it seems to agree perfectly with my hydrometer.
     
  3. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2012
    Messages:
    9,415
    Likes Received:
    6,662
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Aurora, CO, USA
    The $16 unit will likely function just fine but you get what you pay for. Watch the calibration - every once in a while put a drop or two of distilled water on the stage and make sure it's still reading correctly. I'd shoot for the middle of the range and make sure it has temperature compensation!
     
  4. Texas Ale Works

    Texas Ale Works Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2014
    Messages:
    355
    Likes Received:
    239
    Trophy Points:
    43
  5. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2012
    Messages:
    9,415
    Likes Received:
    6,662
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Aurora, CO, USA
    Waayyyy too pricey for my needs!
     
    Texas Ale Works likes this.
  6. Craigerrr

    Craigerrr Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2018
    Messages:
    4,701
    Likes Received:
    6,903
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Thanks for the feedback guys

    Same, but I appreciate the input
     
  7. N0mad

    N0mad Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2018
    Messages:
    229
    Likes Received:
    258
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Software Engineer
    Location:
    South Texas
    I only use the refractometer for pre boil and post boil testing it helps to make adjustments if needed... I use the hydro to compare with the refractometer also to get my post fermentation FG if need be... I wouldn't spend more than $25 on the refractometer it just isn't necessary for home brewing... IMHO
     
    philjohnwilliams likes this.
  8. Craigerrr

    Craigerrr Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2018
    Messages:
    4,701
    Likes Received:
    6,903
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Makes sense, thank you
     
  9. Texas Ale Works

    Texas Ale Works Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2014
    Messages:
    355
    Likes Received:
    239
    Trophy Points:
    43
    mine to actually...will get a Tilt before i get that.
    https://tilthydrometer.com/
     
  10. Aub

    Aub Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2018
    Messages:
    123
    Likes Received:
    57
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    I have a Tilt and love it but still use a refractometer as well.
     
    Texas Ale Works likes this.
  11. thunderwagn

    thunderwagn Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2015
    Messages:
    3,750
    Likes Received:
    7,302
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Loveland, CO
    I've eyeballed the Tilt a time or two. Looks a fun piece!
     
  12. Texas Ale Works

    Texas Ale Works Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2014
    Messages:
    355
    Likes Received:
    239
    Trophy Points:
    43
    The plan is 2 Tilts, 2 SSBT brew buckets, and a refractometer for pre/post boil gravity
     
  13. Aub

    Aub Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2018
    Messages:
    123
    Likes Received:
    57
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    Yeah, they are nice, it's convenient to be able to get gravity readings whenever you like without taking samples.........saves beer too ! :)
     
  14. Aub

    Aub Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2018
    Messages:
    123
    Likes Received:
    57
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    I'm aiming at buying a second one too.
     
  15. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2012
    Messages:
    9,415
    Likes Received:
    6,662
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Aurora, CO, USA
    Tilt looks kind of cool, but then, with my refractometer and correction spreadsheet, I can get a very similar looking curve by testing once per night. I decided it was kind of like my microscope and cell counting: Kind of cool a couple times, then meh.
     
  16. White Haus Brews

    White Haus Brews Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2018
    Messages:
    251
    Likes Received:
    136
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Occupation:
    Nurse
    Location:
    Santa Cruz Mountains, CA
    I picked up a fairly cheap one and it's been working well after I learned how to use it. Couple things to keep in mind:
    1) after fermentation starts it's only accurate when combined with a calculator. BF has one in their tools section.
    2) each refractometer has a slightly different correction factor which you'll need to determine to be most accurate.
    3) plan on using your hydro and refractometer together for awhile until you are consistently matching OG and FG.

    Definitely worth having in my opinion but did take a little more finagling with than my "almost" idiot proof hydrometer :p
     
  17. Fat Duck Brewery

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2018
    Messages:
    38
    Likes Received:
    10
    Trophy Points:
    8
    I got a 20 dollar one off ebay and it works a treat, I double checked my first few brews using it and a standard hydrometer and both cracked out the same figures. I only use my refractometer prefermentation as I cant be bothered doing all the maths etc working out the alcohol reflection.
     
  18. Craigerrr

    Craigerrr Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2018
    Messages:
    4,701
    Likes Received:
    6,903
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Excellent information guys, thanks!
     

Share This Page

arrow_white