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Old 03-12-2017, 11:09 AM   #21
_jon_
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I have some smart water (vapour distilled) and went to calibrate the refractometer with it.. but when I put the smart water on, it already read 1.00

I think the issue is that I didn't know that the alcohol content would skew the results of the refratometer. It looks like it's better to use a refractometer for OG reading while brewing, and maybe a hydrometer for the FG readings when fermenting. Either that or try to decipher the hydrometer calculator lol
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Old 03-12-2017, 06:00 PM   #22
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It looks like it's better to use a refractometer for OG reading while brewing, and maybe a hydrometer for the FG readings when fermenting. Either that or try to decipher the hydrometer calculator lol
Why not just use a hydrometer? They are so simple to use. Lower them into the liquid and take a reading. Job done. And if you want to be clever adjust for temperature. Apart from occasionally checking they are still in calibration by dunking in water occasionally, there's not much to go wrong, apart from when you drop them.
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Old 03-12-2017, 06:00 PM   #23
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It looks like it's better to use a refractometer for OG reading while brewing, and maybe a hydrometer for the FG readings when fermenting. Either that or try to decipher the hydrometer calculator lol
Why not just use a hydrometer? They are so simple to use. Lower them into the liquid and take a reading off the scale. Job done. And if you want to be clever adjust for temperature. Apart from occasionally checking they are still in calibration by dunking in water occasionally, there's not much to go wrong, apart from when you drop them.
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Old 03-12-2017, 07:23 PM   #24
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Thanks for the information, I'm going to need to read it properly to digest it. All the recipes I've seen talk about IG, so Brix is just something else to confuse things. And that calculator seems to only work in Brix.
Brix is more or less sg divided by 4. There is a drop down menu which will let you use the sg reading from your refractometer.

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Maybe your refractometer is out.
I got one from eBay and the readings are way out compared to my hydrometer
From what I've read, refractometers don't work perfectly in wort as they are designed for simpler sugar/water mixtures like fruit juice. With wort they are measuring Wort Refraction Index (WRI), in order to get a true reading of brix (or whatever) you need to calibrate the refractometer against a hydrometer and work out the wort correction factor. See this link.

The main benefit I see to refractometers is you can quicky check SGs at the various points of the brew day without taking big samples and needing to cool them down. A hydrometer is going to be a lot more accurate for your FG reading (i'm temped by a finishing hydrometer) but using a refractormeter could let you see when it's done as the reading will remain static and it only takes a drop or 2 of wort to check (important in smaller batches).

Just found this overview article. https://www.brewersfriend.com/2013/0...-home-brewing/
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Old 03-12-2017, 08:51 PM   #25
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Oh the irony.. the "Cheap chinese knock off" in that link, is the exact one I have haha.

I'll have a read through all the articles.. but in the meantime I'll measure the wheat beer in a few days using a hydrometer. My only bug bear with a hydrometer is the sample needed. Getting 50-100ml of beer from the FV without compromising sanitation is a pain.
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Old 03-12-2017, 10:40 PM   #26
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Oh the irony.. the "Cheap chinese knock off" in that link, is the exact one I have haha.

I'll have a read through all the articles.. but in the meantime I'll measure the wheat beer in a few days using a hydrometer. My only bug bear with a hydrometer is the sample needed. Getting 50-100ml of beer from the FV without compromising sanitation is a pain.
Yeah, I want one for the same reason as I'm going to be making mead where you need to monitor gravity for adding nutrient additions and can't waste a sample every time. Folks say to just add it back in but brewers say never do that. The main reason I've been holding off is that that "cheap chinese" model is the only one available anywhere and it gets varying reviews. Most homebrewers seem to get on ok with it once calibrated.

I actually just splashed out on the high-end version he links to because I found one 2nd hand.
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Old 03-12-2017, 11:04 PM   #27
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Oh the irony.. the "Cheap chinese knock off" in that link, is the exact one I have haha.

I'll have a read through all the articles.. but in the meantime I'll measure the wheat beer in a few days using a hydrometer. My only bug bear with a hydrometer is the sample needed. Getting 50-100ml of beer from the FV without compromising sanitation is a pain.
I wouldn't stress over the sample, I use a cheap turkey baster that is sanitised like anything else, it slurps up about 30ml at a time so three dips is usually enough to fill the trial jar to around 90-100ml for a test.

I test after a week and if it looks pretty much fermented the following weekend I test again, or if not fermented I test the following week.

Simple to use, easy to sanitise and works.
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Old 04-12-2017, 08:21 AM   #28
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My only bug bear with a hydrometer is the sample needed. Getting 50-100ml of beer from the FV without compromising sanitation is a pain.
I use a 100ml syringe. I just spray the end with StarSan and draw up about 70ml, which is enough for my trial jar. Nice and easy and never had a problem with poor sanitation.
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Old 04-12-2017, 09:57 AM   #29
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Hi!
I picked up one of these from Boyes: http://www.lovebrewing.co.uk/wine-thief-pipette/
It works well but it has to be dipped deep into the FV, and, of course, it's another glass item that could easily break.
I bought a cheap Chinese knockoff refractometer and it seems to give a similar reading when compared to the hydrometer.
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Old 04-12-2017, 10:05 AM   #30
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My only bug bear with a hydrometer is the sample needed. Getting 50-100ml of beer from the FV without compromising sanitation is a pain.
If the top of the beer is clear I sanitise the hydrometer and drop it in the FV. If I want a taste, I sanitise the trial jar and dunk that in.

If you're thorough with sanitation there will be no issues
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