Hydometer

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vertigo

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Hi lad's,

I been programming for about 6 years, and I was thinking that a hydometer in the frementer that tells you what is occuring in your brew as it is frementing would greatly increase the likely hood of a blood nice beer. I have found that some people try to increase the surface area in their frementers, well the area that the frementables can rest on, but I'm not sure about just why you'd do that! Anyway, I would like to know if anyone out in cyber space has such a setup, or someone out there could tell me about their experences with digital hydometers. Any ideas, or failed attempts, anything out there....or am I barking up the wrong tree..
 

Adamt

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Not sure I understand much of your post, but anyway:

- A hydrometer in your fermenter doesn't greatly increase the likelihood of a good beer. It tells you the specific gravity (density) of your wort/beer which aids in telling you how far along fermentation is and an approximate alcohol content.

- Just about all homebrewers ferment in a round or cylindroconical vessel, surface area per volume is actually quite small. Not sure how you can "rest fermentables" when they are dissolved in the wort/beer.

- What do you mean by a digital hydrometer?

Edit: Actually if you are referring to a hydrometer with a digital readout... almost redundant really. You're better off observing fermentation milestones such as the krausen dropping in, etc. to determine the end of fermentation. Is it really THAT hard to take a reading?
 

Jakechan

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Actually, he may be onto something. There must be some way of obtaining a real time constant readout of the specific gravity. Of course, the down side is that you dont get to taste the sample every couple of days.

But think about the advantages! At a glance being able to tell whats going on SG-wise would be wonderful. We can do this now with temperature, why not SG?

Come on brainiacs, there must be a way.


Cheers,
Jake
 

Adamt

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Here's one way:

Sit the fermenter on scales, calculate net mass, divide by volume. Specific gravity corresponds (at 20C) to kg per litre.

Gonna be very dependent on the quality of your scales and volume measurement accuracy.
 

Jakechan

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Here's one way:

Sit the fermenter on scales, calculate net mass, divide by volume. Specific gravity corresponds (at 20C) to kg per litre.

Gonna be very dependent on the quality of your scales and volume measurement accuracy.
Well thats no fun Adam!

We want a big digital readout! Even better a wireless link to the PC that gives you an alert when your target FG is reached. It could even send you an SMS each evening with the stats for the day if you are away...

Then it would of course export the data to a database that displayed a graph of SG vs time. Fantastic. :D

Cheers,
Jake
 

Frank

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You could use one of these. Inline electronic refractometer, ranging in price from $4,000 to $13,720 USD List price.
Depends how much spare coin you have. How about a bulk buy?????
 

Mantis

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I'm more for constant taste tests, but, hey, I'm a touchy feely type of guy. :ph34r:
 

RdeVjun

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Yeah, hmm- some good questions & ideas in this thread.

Sounds very much like an application for densimetry. Quite Expensive. We faffed around with it at work to measure time- series suspended solids in streams as turbidity as a surrogate for same was found quite wanting. It can be done in a fashion with precision, differential pressure transducers (Druck's high end gear, can't remember the model, LMP rings a bell) and a few years ago you didn't get much change from $3K per sensor, and then there's the rest of the kit as you need something to log or interface it (much easier these days, granted). But, where there's a will, there's a way, so good luck with that!

I think it'd be more realistic for us hobbyists to measure mass with high precision, that's fairly easy, but then we'd still need volume with a similar level of precision. Calibrating the fermenter for that along with a water level sensor would indeed be possible, while fluid temperature would probably have to be factored in as well (thankfully, trivial to do). Depending on how you measure level (by float, pressure or acoustic usually, but pressure might be suss with this fluid as we can't define density- that's what we're trying to measure), a few mm of lumpy krausen, or more as is often the case, might make the calculations wobbly (ie. it'd be a non- homogenous body we're trying to characterise). Still worth looking into though, by all means.
In fact, a daily manual measurement of volume would probably be sufficient for starters, but I feel it would have to be precise to be meaningful.
Any commercial brewers out there manage this sort of caper? Or are they all quite rich and perhaps use electronic densimetry or refractometry? Or are there low cost differential pressure transducers available that I haven't heard of?

On a related note, being of the curious type, I did stumble upon the idea of logging bubbler throughput with an NCBE bubble counter a few weeks ago in these very forums here, but I haven't actually ordered one yet. It'll be an interesting, but fairly useless measurement though as it doesn't really complete the fermentation picture. An indicator at best, and I suspect YMMV. Fairly cool toy though, and not quite as expensive as the stuff above.
 

Nick JD

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What I do is get my hydrometer and drop it on the floor, smashing it into about ten pieces. Then, for ten or twelve years I brew beer without one and realise they are essentially unneeded.
 

ohitsbrad

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What I do is get my hydrometer and drop it on the floor, smashing it into about ten pieces. Then, for ten or twelve years I brew beer without one and realise they are essentially unneeded.
Nick, that seriously made me LOL.
 
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