Digital Hydrometers???

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Do you have trouble with your hydrometer readings?

No, it's just you man, it's not that hard...
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Yes, thank you for letting me know I'm not alone!
2
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Um, what's a hydrometer?
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Total votes : 17

Digital Hydrometers???

Postby Bryon » Sun Jan 21, 2007 1:06 pm

Good morning,

I'm fairly new to brewing (I've had one good batch and one terrible batch) and I could use some help with my hydrometer... I don't know if it's just me, or if other newbie brewers have the same problem, but I can't get a clear reading on my hydrometer. Either the brew is too foamy in the sample tube and I can't geta good read, or I have trouble reading it along the meniscus. Or maybe I'm just a byproduct of the digital age and refuse to use a simple tool like a hydrometere the right way. But, I feel like I really wasting my time if I keep brewing but good up on the gravity readings.

Do they make digital hydrometers for brewing purposes? Can anyone direct me to a site wwhere I can find one? Or does anyone have any suggestions for getting past my inability to use the standard tood effectively?

Thanks for the help...

- Bryon
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RE: Digital Hydrometers???

Postby wottaguy » Sun Jan 21, 2007 11:46 pm

Hi Bryon!

I have never heard of a digital hydrometer but that doesn't mean much in today's world. I know that using one of these tools can be some what frustrating and takes time to get the hang of it. You may want to consider using a Refractometer instead. Granted, the refractometer is not taking the easy way out, but after you learn how to use it you will rely on it anytime you need to take a quick accurate reading. I used to use a hydrometer and used it for many years until I tried a refractometer. I have not used my hydrometer since and have had outstanding results using only my refractometer. It allows you to take on the spot SG readings of your post and pre boil worts using only 2 or 3 drops of wort. It sure beats trying to fill a hydrometer tube full of boiling hot wort...or cooling the wort just to get a decent reading.
I would advise that you do some research about using the refractometer before rushing out and purchasing one as they do have their pros and cons and you'll have to decide if going this route is good for you.
I still have my hydrometer and will not do away with it as it is still one of the most viable tools to check the gravity of your brews in any stage that it is in. The decision is yours. I find that by using both tools, I tend to get very accurate results. I use the refractometer on brew days to quickly check the SG of the wort..then rely on the hydrometer to periodically check the fermentation during various stages such as during secondary fermentation.
I hope this reply has helped you and good luck!

Ron
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Tips

Postby Camper » Mon Jan 22, 2007 1:04 am

Either the brew is too foamy in the sample tube


To get rid of the foam fill up your test tube almost to the top. Then when you place your hydrometer in the tube the wort will overflow along with the foam. I will spin the hydrometer to get rid off any bubbles that are on the hydrometer.

I have trouble reading it along the meniscus


Try and look at the level of the wort. Sometimes you take an average reading. I have a precision hydrometer that reads from 1.000 to 1.070. This is easy to read than the ones that have a large range.
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Re: RE: Digital Hydrometers???

Postby billvelek » Mon Jan 22, 2007 12:42 pm

wottaguy wrote:Snip ... I have not used my hydrometer since and have had outstanding results using only my refractometer. It allows you to take on the spot SG readings of your post and pre boil worts using only 2 or 3 drops of wort. ... snip.
Hi, Ron. What do you use to check your final gravity (for newbies, that's the gravity of your beer before bottling/kegging)?

Cheers.

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Re: RE: Digital Hydrometers???

Postby wottaguy » Mon Jan 22, 2007 7:32 pm

Hi Bill,

I use my hydrometer for that as the readings will not be accurate due to alcohol content and will skew the refractometer readings.

Thanks for asking!
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Postby rrosa » Tue Jan 23, 2007 8:32 pm

There is a formula to account for the alcohol content when measuring FG. You need to input both the OG in Plato (measured with either a refractometer or a hydrometer) and the refractometer reading after fermentation. I could post it here if needed, but BeerTools Pro already have this implemented (I did not check whether the formulas are the same or not).

There is another complicated issue with refractometer which is that the wort composition is not pure sucrose solution, which offsets the reading a litte bit. Usually it is assumed that for wort the OG reading of the refractometer is 1.04 higher than the real OG. I don't know about the FG, if the factor is similar or not.

The other problem I get measuring FG (not SG) with the refractometer is that the separation between the light and dark areas is not clear, it looks a bit fuzzy. I bought the refractometer very recently and only used in two batches, but that is what I got. I am anxious to know if the same will happen with the next one. It is frustrating. I thought this would make my life easier but it doesn't.

But reading the hydrometer is another pain. My hydrometer says in one place that it is calibrated for 15.5C and in another place that it is for 20C. It says to read on the top of the meniscus when most sites tell me to read on the bottom. Finally I have a hard time reading it, so I have the feeling I am always off by 1 gravity point.
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Postby soyousee » Wed Jan 24, 2007 10:15 am

rrosa wrote:There is a formula to account for the alcohol content when measuring FG. You need to input both the OG in Plato (measured with either a refractometer or a hydrometer) and the refractometer reading after fermentation. I could post it here if needed, but BeerTools Pro already have this implemented (I did not check whether the formulas are the same or not).

There is another complicated issue with refractometer which is that the wort composition is not pure sucrose solution, which offsets the reading a litte bit. Usually it is assumed that for wort the OG reading of the refractometer is 1.04 higher than the real OG. I don't know about the FG, if the factor is similar or not.

The other problem I get measuring FG (not SG) with the refractometer is that the separation between the light and dark areas is not clear, it looks a bit fuzzy. I bought the refractometer very recently and only used in two batches, but that is what I got. I am anxious to know if the same will happen with the next one. It is frustrating. I thought this would make my life easier but it doesn't.

But reading the hydrometer is another pain. My hydrometer says in one place that it is calibrated for 15.5C and in another place that it is for 20C. It says to read on the top of the meniscus when most sites tell me to read on the bottom. Finally I have a hard time reading it, so I have the feeling I am always off by 1 gravity point.


Well, rrose looks like you just sold me on beertoolspro. I hate using the hydrometer and always have. I use refractometer up to the fermenter than go to hydrometer with dumping so much of the brew after reading. If you actually try and track the fermentation rate you will dump a good amount of beer. The mathematical gymnastics have kept me from trying to use the simple 2 drop reading of the refractometer. I'm going to leave here and go order my Beer tools Pro. :)
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Postby soyousee » Wed Jan 24, 2007 11:38 am

I bought BTP but I can't find where to calculate gravity from refractometer reading. Help, I quit even trying to use my ProMash for the same problem.
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Calculators...

Postby lathe » Wed Jan 24, 2007 12:48 pm

Go to Window=>Calculators=>S.G.
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Re: Calculators...

Postby soyousee » Wed Jan 24, 2007 1:04 pm

lathe wrote:Go to Window=>Calculators=>S.G.

I can't go there the registration message doesn't except code to initialize BTP and my only access is BT.com. OK I removed BTP from PC and reinstalled, It now works, AND THE CROWD WENT WILD!!!!!!!!
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Indeed

Postby lathe » Wed Jan 24, 2007 10:23 pm

Nice...Welcome aboard!
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Re: Indeed

Postby soyousee » Thu Jan 25, 2007 10:04 am

lathe wrote:Nice...Welcome aboard!


Thank You, And Jeff from BTP gave me a call to make sure I got on board, That Rocks!
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Postby soyousee » Fri Jan 26, 2007 10:18 am

rrosa wrote:There is a formula to account for the alcohol content when measuring FG. You need to input both the OG in Plato (measured with either a refractometer or a hydrometer) and the refractometer reading after fermentation. I could post it here if needed, but BeerTools Pro already have this implemented (I did not check whether the formulas are the same or not).

There is another complicated issue with refractometer which is that the wort composition is not pure sucrose solution, which offsets the reading a litte bit. Usually it is assumed that for wort the OG reading of the refractometer is 1.04 higher than the real OG. I don't know about the FG, if the factor is similar or not.

The other problem I get measuring FG (not SG) with the refractometer is that the separation between the light and dark areas is not clear, it looks a bit fuzzy. I bought the refractometer very recently and only used in two batches, but that is what I got. I am anxious to know if the same will happen with the next one. It is frustrating. I thought this would make my life easier but it doesn't.

But reading the hydrometer is another pain. My hydrometer says in one place that it is calibrated for 15.5C and in another place that it is for 20C. It says to read on the top of the meniscus when most sites tell me to read on the bottom. Finally I have a hard time reading it, so I have the feeling I am always off by 1 gravity point.


Just a follow-up on refractometer readings and BTP's gravity calculator. I have a brew in the fermenter that had a 14 brix OG and is almost finished fermenting. I took a refractometer reading and Yes the line is hard to read but my best estimate was 7.5 brix, I also drew a hydrometer reading that I estimated to be 1.014, When these figures were plugged into BTP's calculator it came up 1.013. I could not be happier, Hats off to the easy to use BTP.
Cheers
John
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Thanks for the feedback

Postby Bryon » Fri Jan 26, 2007 6:18 pm

Thanks for the feedback... I seem to have started quite a discussion, a little over my head for now, but I think I'll catch up eventually. I appreciate the tips on dealing with the challenges of the hydrometer and I certainly will dig into the research you recommended...

Anyone else have an answer for the idea of a digital hydrometer? :?:
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Re: Thanks for the feedback

Postby kthorson » Mon May 07, 2007 1:53 pm

Bryon wrote:Anyone else have an answer for the idea of a digital hydrometer? :?:


Doing a quick Google search returned some hits so they are out there. Not sure how expensive they will be though...

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