Refractometer

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Polcho

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I saw an advert for a refractometer. I have one for Brix, but I was wondering if they were accurate enough for beer wort. Does anybody use them?
 

RGeats

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Yes lots on here have them. I have one, useful in brew day, quicker than having to cool a larger sample for hydrometer.

However still need the hydrometer for tracking fermentation.

If you have one already great, if not spend your money elsewhere first
 

RichardM

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I tried it on a brew in February. I don’t think the scale is the same. Perhaps someone that uses one could tell me from the photo.
Just use the brix scale on the left and then use an online calculator to convert to specific gravity. Don't forget that if you use it after fermentation has started there are more calculations to do.
 

hughjamton

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You can use it to see if fermentation has stopped if you're not sure and saves filling a jar and wasting the beer every time.
You just need to get consecutive readings, don't really matter what they are.
Once the reading the same over a couple of days the fermentation has stopped then you can use a standard hydrometer to get an accurate fg if you don't want to do the calculations.
 
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Braufather

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It’s handy if you measure a lot. I like to take readings of post mash, post sparge and post boil. At the end I take a regular hydrometer reading as well to confirm OG too, but just use the refracter up until then
 

DocAnna

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You should check the calibration on them with a DME and water mix to a known SG - doing so with a starter wort is a good opportunity to do so. I don’t use mine enough, but do use it to check the gravity on kits since I’m less worried about process and accuracy then. One of the big pluses of a refractometer is that the few drops used to test cool really quickly which makes readings from hot wort so much easier.
4B7D5008-5804-4652-950C-D64802A9B1FF.jpeg
 

RGeats

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You should check the calibration on them with a DME and water mix to a known SG - doing so with a starter wort is a good opportunity to do so. I don’t use mine enough, but do use it to check the gravity on kits since I’m less worried about process and accuracy then. One of the big pluses of a refractometer is that the few drops used to test cool really quickly which makes readings from hot wort so much easier.
View attachment 45349
I check mine against my hydrometer, as long as that is accurate then its all good.
 

RGeats

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What are they in? I'm assuming water, but what temp? Normally the hydrometer is calibrated at 25degC. So if you put it in water at 25degC it should read 1.000. That should help you decide which one to believe. I'd suggest you then check it at a known SG using DME.
 

Brew_DD2

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You should check the calibration on them with a DME and water mix to a known SG - doing so with a starter wort is a good opportunity to do so. I don’t use mine enough, but do use it to check the gravity on kits since I’m less worried about process and accuracy then. One of the big pluses of a refractometer is that the few drops used to test cool really quickly which makes readings from hot wort so much easier.
View attachment 45349
That's a fancy looking refractometer!
 

DocAnna

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That's a fancy looking refractometer!
I like shiny things - this was off ebay, and is has a solid stainless steel body that is rather tactile and has a good weight. It doesn't though have the more modern tinted cover so the wort appears just off clear, it's still easy enough to read but that's a compromise I'm happy to make ☺.
 

Brew_DD2

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I like shiny things - this was off ebay, and is has a solid stainless steel body that is rather tactile and has a good weight. It doesn't though have the more modern tinted cover so the wort appears just off clear, it's still easy enough to read but that's a compromise I'm happy to make ☺.
I'm a sucker for shiny, weighty things too. Looks very cool.
 

hughjamton

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You need distilled water to check your refractometer, you can get enough from the steam of your kettle.
 

Polcho

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These were from the same shop. Which begs the question, where can I buy a proper one that wil be accurate?
 

Gilliejoe

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I use a refractometer to work out the brix to gravity and the abv I go on homebrew refractometer calculator online.
 
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