Using Hydrometers

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by cafelinhchi, Jan 22, 2015.

  1. cafelinhchi

    cafelinhchi New Member

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    So I just brewed my first batch ever the other day and I have a very basic question that seems to be missing from my instructions: Once the bubbles from fermentation start to fade, how exactly do I use my hydrometer? Everything I've read says to specifically NOT open the carboy and subject the beer to oxygen, but how else am I supposed to get a measurement?

    Do I simply unplug the top and drop the hydrometer in? Use my bottle filler to syphon some into a separate container? Or is there another more common method I'm not thinking of? I'd hate to ruin my first batch thinking fermentation is done early.

    For future reference, what's the harm in just dropping my hydrometer into the wort when I first transfer it into the carboy and monitoring it as the days go by?

    Thanks, ;) :) ;)

    Cà phê linh chi đỏ
     
  2. Ozarks Mountain Brew

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    the important thing to remember is sanitize everything before touching to wort. with that said. do whats the easiest for you. I use a large sampler to pull wort into my hydrometer, I take the lid off and dip it every draw in starsans first then chill the hydrometer to 60 before reading it, not the only way just my way

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  3. The Brew Mentor

    The Brew Mentor Well-Known Member

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  4. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    Cafe: Here is your new mantra: Relax, don't worry, have a homebrew. Taking a gravity sample is not going to introduce enough oxygen into your beer to hurt it, particularly if it's still fermenting. The carbon dioxide from fermentation forms a "blanket" over the beer and the bubbles will scrub the oxygen out of the solution before it can cause staling. You need to know what's happening for a number of reasons and gravity samples are the best way to know. Get a thief or a turkey baster, sanitize well, if you're using the baster squeeze the bulb to drive the air out before immersing the tip in your beer, grab your sample, measure the gravity then taste test the beer - don't put it back in the fermentor! The bit of loss is worth the knowledge you gain.
     
  5. GernBlanston

    GernBlanston New Member

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    A couple reasons.

    First if you get a bit rough and break the hydrometer, (and they break easier than you think. Ask me how I know), then you got glass fragments, lead, and who knows what else in the beer.

    Second, the hydrometer will accumulate "stuff" on the outside surface if left in the beer. Krausen residue, hop bits. CO2 bubbles, and all will effect the reading (bubbles push up, crud push down). Even on a freshly pulled sample, I always spin the hydrometer prior to reading it, to free it from the possibility that CO2 has began to accumulate on the exterior. A few bubbles will change the reading some, and a lot of bubbles will effect it more.

    Third, How do you get it out? I suppose you could tie some dental floss to it before insertion, but that will also effect the accuracy of the reading. This assumes you are using a carboy. A bucket would pose no problem. I know some bucket guys do put a sanitized hydrometer directly into the fermenter. Works for them. A bit risky though.

    My best advice is to let it ferment until you suspect it is finished, and then leave it another week. Patience will pay off. No need to rush it into the package.
     
  6. EPV Brewing

    EPV Brewing New Member

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    First question I have is, did you take a reading right after your cool down and before adding your yeast? If you did not take a reading at that time taking a reading now is worthless. You need to have that first reading before fermentation starts, then after it stop you would take another reading in order to find your ABV.

    example: your first reading (OG original gravity) 1.066 and your (FG final gravity) 1.014 you take those and plug them into the ABV calculator here on the site http://www.brewersfriend.com/abv-calculator/ and the result would give you 6.83% ABV
     

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