DoombarDave


My significant other half bought me a small portable refractometer for Xmas and I used it for the first time this morning.

I also had a Directors Brew Kit for Xmas and i finally got round to starting the kit this morning. I made up the kit and before pitching the yeast, I  took an SG reading on the refractometer. The result, after care-full calibration, suggested a % of 12 which equates to an SG of 1.008 which i knew to be incorrect.  I quickly whipped my trusty hydrometer out and got a result of 1.048.
The kit instructions stated that 1.050 was the expected SG and therefore a reading of 1.048 was nearly there. In my experience, I've always found the kit instructions to be a bit overstated.

I've since learned that the Refractometer was obtained from Ebay at a fairly modest price [£15ish] although when I tested the tap water for calibration purposes, it was spot on.


Is this a question of cheap tools or am I doing something wrong?

I would be grateful for any advice or experience that you may of had.

Many thanks

Dave



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Fermented Culture
In general 12% brix is just multiplied by around about 4 to get brewer gravity points which would equal 1.048.

https://www.brewersfriend.com/brix-converter/
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GHW
I quite fancy a refractometer (gadget buying really) but not sure why I need one over a hydro? What's the plus?
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Steve
GHW wrote:
I quite fancy a refractometer (gadget buying really) but not sure why I need one over a hydro? What's the plus?


I have often thought about getting one, don't know why i have not tbh.

Oh iv'e done the Directors kit a few times, it's as good as you get from the pump in a bar [smile]
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Fermented Culture
You can use a smaller amount of liquid for measuring gravity and because it's such a small amount it cools faster for measurement.

Useful for measuring - mash gravity, pre boil gravity, barrels, wild yeast catching (only need to measure a small amount per vial), starters, level attenuation tests, mini mashes. Negatives - need to use a calculator to convert to measure the alcohol level once fermentation has taken place and accuracy vs the really expensive hydrometers.

edit: Kind of related, this gadget was marketed for homebrewers but pro brewers have picked it up instead! Especially people using barrels. https://www.brewuk.co.uk/anton-paar-easydens.html
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Steve
Fermented Culture wrote:
You can use a smaller amount of liquid for measuring gravity and because it's such a small amount it cools faster for measurement.

Useful for measuring - mash gravity, pre boil gravity, barrels, wild yeast catching (only need to measure a small amount per vial), starters, level attenuation tests, mini mashes. Negatives - need to use a calculator to convert to measure the alcohol level once fermentation has taken place and accuracy vs the really expensive hydrometers.


That's probably what put me off, i'm so god dam lazy, half of the time i don't even bother with taking readings.
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DoombarDave
Fermented Culture wrote:
In general 12% brix is just multiplied by around about 4 to get brewer gravity points which would equal 1.048.

https://www.brewersfriend.com/brix-converter/


Thanks very much Fermented Culture

As I suspected it was my ignorance!! 
In my defence,  the instructions translated from Chinese left a lot to be desired.

To answer other questions posed:

There is a lot less wastage then using a hydrometer.
It's quicker to obtain a result.
When you have learnt to read the scale properly [Thanks again Fermented Culture]  it is a more accurate and definitive result.

Thanks for all your comments

Dave






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Northern Brewster
You also don’t have to wait ages for a sample to cool down so you can read it. I find it useful when taking readings after the mash etc but use the hydro for the main OG and FG readings.
I don’t have hobbies. I’m developing a robust post-apocalyptic skill set.
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GHW
Any one got recommendations on a good one? Might put it in as a birthday idea!
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Pinto

I have one for using during the brewing process (although not always, depends on how I feel) - as NB says, it's invaluable to be able to chill a single drop of wort to get an OG rather than a sample.  However, it never gets used on fermented brews as i'm not a fan of the "approximation" factors to get a reading - it's far, far easier to get a float in there and be sure [smile]

Beer is like porn - you can buy it easily enough, but its so much more fun to make it [wink]
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Pesho77
I use both refractometer and hydrometer, on brew days i use the refractometer and once i pitch the yeast i sanitise a hydrometer and throw it in the fermenter. 

 Pesh
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