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Hydrometer vs Refractometer

Aussie Home Brewer

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What do you use in your brewing?

  • Hydrometer exclusively

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Refractometer exclusively

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • I use both for AG

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • I use both for kit/extract

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • I use my airlock!

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • What's a Hydrometer/Refractometer?

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
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jaypes

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Hi All

Just getting a run down of who uses what on AHB.

I suspect most kit/extract brewers would use a hydro and AG using a refrac/hydro combo both due to simplicity.

(Trying to justify a new Refrac purchase - What are the best ones and from who?)

Cheers
Jaypes
 

manticle

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I have both but rarely use the refrac.

Most of my gravity samples are just to check the stage of fermentation but that's because I'm familiar enough with my equipment and process to worry less about OG.

Every so often I check just to calibrate myself if you take my meaning.

refrac is definitely easier for OG. If you use it on fermenting wort or beer, don't forget to use a conversion table to correct for the presence of alcohol - a very common mistake.
 

Bribie G

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Depends what you are using it for. Refractometers are excellent for measuring the original gravity of the wort, but a bit dodgy for measuring final gravity as the alcohol content skews the reading and you have to refer to charts.

Hydrometers are good for both purposes, are generally cheaper, but have the disadvantage that you waste a bit of wort and beer, and they have to be cleaned out, dried etc.

Refractometers only use a couple of drops then a quick wipe clean with a damp tissue.

I don't check my FG any more as I can always tell when a brew is finished by squinting into the Sun and checking my corns on the left foot :p so refractometer is my choice.

I bought mine from CraftBrewer, other options online I would expect. Also they are in good supply as they are used mainly in the food and agriculture industries, but a proper Beer version is the one I prefer as it has a Gravity Scale as well as

the standard "Brix" scale. Brix does my skull in.

Edit: as you can see Manticle and I focus on opposite ends of the fermentation process - I brew a limited set of styles nowadays so generally know what stage I'm at with each style and only do a reading for OG to see if I've hit target. If you are doing a lot of experimental stuff I'd get both IMHO.
 

Nick JD

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Refractometers are far superior - the main reason being that you look like some kinda mad scientist looking through one and murmuring, "Hmmmm, just another day or two, MWAH HAAA HAH!"
 

wbosher

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At around $60 for a refractometer, I'll stick to my trusty old hydrometer...for now at least. ;)
 

Sam England

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Using both. Refractometer on brew day when everything's hot as you only need to cool a couple of drops. It's good to check how your gravity is looking before the boil if you want to add water to dilute or possibly some LDME if your efficiencies were down. Hydrometer for accurate OG when pitching and then track movement with the refractometer after that.
You can pick up some dual Brix/SG scale refractometers on Ebay for under $30.
Cheers,
BB
 

Nick JD

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wbosher said:
At around $60 for a refractometer, I'll stick to my trusty old hydrometer...for now at least. ;)
$30 will get you a good refractometer.
 

wbosher

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Nick JD said:
$30 will get you a good refractometer.
Maybe in the land of Oz, over here the cheapest one I've seen is about $55. I like using the hydrometer anyway, it's cheap and simple. Maybe you waste a few hundrew mls of beer, but it's not the end of the world.
 

manticle

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Ebay is where the $30 ones are to be found.

No real need to change though if you are comfy - I bought one as mentioned and rarely use it.
 

QldKev

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QldKev

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To answer the survey, I lent my hydrometer out about 6 months ago. I don't miss it. A couple of drops on the refract and all is good.
 

wbosher

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Yob

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Try lookin for free shipping, pretty sure that's how I got mine,

I use both, hydrometer when fermenting, refractometer when mashing, pre boil and post boil.
 

slash22000

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To be honest I don't even know where my hydrometer is. I haven't used it since I bought my refractometer. As much as I love wasting half a keg worth of beer testing the gravity ...
 

manticle

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You must have a massive sample tube.

I mean that in a very non double entendre kind of a way.
 

wbosher

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^ You beat me to it

I would use, at the most, maybe a litre. Pre-boil, OG/post boil, and a couple of FG readings. Each about 200mls.

The FG readings are good for a taste test also.
 

slash22000

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Maybe I'm a beer miser but wasting a litre of beer to take samples is like ... well, it's like wasting beer, isn't it? Refractometer you waste virtually zero beer and there are no disadvantages.
 

thedragon

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Similar to others I use my refractometer on brew day due to the ease of getting gravity readings pre and post boil. After pitching it's the trusty hydrometer.
 

Yob

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slash22000 said:
Maybe I'm a beer miser but wasting a litre of beer to take samples is like ... well, it's like wasting beer, isn't it? Refractometer you waste virtually zero beer and there are no disadvantages.
I would rarely, if ever, use more than about 300ml on hydro testing, I quite like doing it that way as you get a taste of how the brew progresses through to the end. Other times I test only toward the end.. Depends on how anal/ocd/lazy I'm being that week.
 

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