Jump to content


Photo
- - - - -

Attention refractometer owners...


  • Please log in to reply
15 replies to this topic

#1 ER Pemberton

ER Pemberton

    Comptroller of Forum Content

  • Moderators
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 32865 posts

Posted 06 January 2019 - 08:22 PM

Can you use one near the end of fermentation to check gravity?  I just watched a video about them where it mentioned that once you're close to the end of fermentation, the alcohol in the wort/beer futzes with the accuracy of the refractometer.  But in another video they show people checking the gravity of wort that was at 1.020, 1.013, etc. which seems like fermentation would be close to done.  What's the deal?  I have never owned one but I just ordered one on Amazon for about $28.  Cheers and thanks.  



#2 LeftyMPfrmDE

LeftyMPfrmDE

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 396 posts
  • LocationDelaware

Posted 07 January 2019 - 03:21 AM

Their only good for on the fly readings during brew day; runnings, OG, etc. They are pretty useless once yeast is involved, IME. Bought one years ago, and it gives pretty wild readings even with the same wort. The one I had gave +/- 10 points on multiple readings at the same temperature.

Mine just sits on the work bench in the garage.

Edited by LeftyMPfrmDE, 07 January 2019 - 03:22 AM.

  • 0

#3 HVB

HVB

    No Life

  • Patron
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 14593 posts
  • LocationPalmer, MA

Posted 07 January 2019 - 04:22 AM

There is an excel sheet on the morebeer site that corrects a refractometer reading for FG. You have to know the og tho.
  • 0

#4 djinkc

djinkc

    Comptroller of Non-Defending Defenders of Inarticulate Twats

  • Patron
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 27262 posts
  • LocationKC - Kansas side

Posted 07 January 2019 - 05:51 AM

There is an excel sheet on the morebeer site that corrects a refractometer reading for FG. You have to know the og tho.

I played around with several of those several years ago.  I didn't find the corrected readings reliable


  • 0

#5 HVB

HVB

    No Life

  • Patron
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 14593 posts
  • LocationPalmer, MA

Posted 07 January 2019 - 06:14 AM

I played around with several of those several years ago.  I didn't find the corrected readings reliable

I agree they are not perfect.  But good enough (IMO) to get a ballpark.   I assume Ken wants it to know when to spund the beer.

 

morebeer file https://www.morebeer...hp?file_id=6161


  • 0

#6 ER Pemberton

ER Pemberton

    Comptroller of Forum Content

  • Moderators
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 32865 posts

Posted 07 January 2019 - 07:21 AM

I agree they are not perfect.  But good enough (IMO) to get a ballpark.   I assume Ken wants it to know when to spund the beer.

 

morebeer file https://www.morebeer...hp?file_id=6161

Yeah, that was my hope.  I also saw that the NB site had a similar conversion tool but I was hoping it wasn't necessary.  In one video I watched it said, "Don't waste your wort filling a hydro flask when you can know the progress of your fermentation with just a few drops" but that's misleading.  You can know the gravity of the wort on brewday but that's all... apparently.  



#7 pkrone

pkrone

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 399 posts
  • LocationTejas

Posted 07 January 2019 - 07:28 AM

I've been using a refractometer for years.   Mainly because of the fragility of hydrometers and need amount of wort/beer required.   Yes, because of the alcohol content in fermented/fermenting beer, you have to use a conversion factor incorporating the OG to know your current SG.   I like it because it takes very little wort.   Additionally, my brewing software already has the conversion factor built in, so it's super easy for me.   Last year I bought a digital refractometer and I really like it.   Sometimes the reading can be fuzzy on an optical one, but there's no doubt with the digital.  


  • 0

#8 HVB

HVB

    No Life

  • Patron
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 14593 posts
  • LocationPalmer, MA

Posted 07 January 2019 - 07:32 AM

I've been using a refractometer for years.   Mainly because of the fragility of hydrometers and need amount of wort/beer required.   Yes, because of the alcohol content in fermented/fermenting beer, you have to use a conversion factor incorporating the OG to know your current SG.   I like it because it takes very little wort.   Additionally, my brewing software already has the conversion factor built in, so it's super easy for me.   Last year I bought a digital refractometer and I really like it.   Sometimes the reading can be fuzzy on an optical one, but there's no doubt with the digital.  

 

What one did you get?  I had a Milwaukee one a while back and it was hit or miss for me.  I have thought about trying another because well.... I like gadgets:)


  • 0

#9 pkrone

pkrone

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 399 posts
  • LocationTejas

Posted 07 January 2019 - 09:40 AM

I've got the Milwaukee one.      I've had good results with it.   I questioned it at first, but it always lined up with my hydrometer.   And, it actually led me down the path of identifying some chronic under-attenuation issues with my lagers.     How was it hit or miss with you?


  • 0

#10 HVB

HVB

    No Life

  • Patron
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 14593 posts
  • LocationPalmer, MA

Posted 07 January 2019 - 09:45 AM

I've got the Milwaukee one.      I've had good results with it.   I questioned it at first, but it always lined up with my hydrometer.   And, it actually led me down the path of identifying some chronic under-attenuation issues with my lagers.     How was it hit or miss with you?

I would put the same sample on minutes apart and have a completely different value on the meter.  One time it would be 8.4 then 12.7 etc.  I am could never gain confidence in the meter so I had to part with it.


  • 0

#11 ER Pemberton

ER Pemberton

    Comptroller of Forum Content

  • Moderators
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 32865 posts

Posted 07 January 2019 - 09:58 AM

I guess I could use it on brewday and check the starting gravity and then just see how it behaves on day 4, day 5, etc. and possibly use the conversion tool just to see how accurate it is.  I originally heard that a refractometer was much easier and more precise than a hydrometer... along with using less wort for the sample.  



#12 HVB

HVB

    No Life

  • Patron
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 14593 posts
  • LocationPalmer, MA

Posted 07 January 2019 - 10:08 AM

I guess I could use it on brewday and check the starting gravity and then just see how it behaves on day 4, day 5, etc. and possibly use the conversion tool just to see how accurate it is.  I originally heard that a refractometer was much easier and more precise than a hydrometer... along with using less wort for the sample.  

It is but it also has some limitations.  Using a refract on brewday saves a lot of liquid and time, for me.  


  • 0

#13 pkrone

pkrone

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 399 posts
  • LocationTejas

Posted 07 January 2019 - 11:02 AM

To be honest...  I've gone back to using my hydrometer to check gravities for spunding.   Mostly because I want to give the beer a taste.   ;)


  • 0

#14 denny

denny

    Living Legend

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 8542 posts
  • LocationEugene OR

Posted 07 January 2019 - 11:21 AM

This is the best FG I've found....http://seanterrill.c...ter-fg-results/FWIW, I gave up on refractometers a while back.  I have 4 refractometers and none agree with each other or my hydrometer.


  • 0

#15 ER Pemberton

ER Pemberton

    Comptroller of Forum Content

  • Moderators
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 32865 posts

Posted 08 January 2019 - 03:21 PM

Well, my new toy arrived today.  I have an amber beer made with 2112 fermenting since Sunday afternoon.  It got a good pitch of yeast and fermented strong Sunday and Monday and then settled down a bit today.  I swirled the fermenter this morning since 2112 is a strong floccer and when the refractometer arrived today I got a few drops of the beer and checked the gravity.  I saw a pretty distinct line between 1.015 and 1.020.  Should I be skeptical of that reading?  Will I not be able to trust it to tell me that my beer is within say, 5 gravity points (.005) of being at FG?  I see that none of you seem to put a lot of faith into these things.  Will it be relatively useful on brewday to determine starting gravity or is that a dice roll too?  If I could use it to determine starting gravity and then use that to do the conversion I think I would accept that.  I have been very derelict in taking readings primarily because everything I ever made and measured came out exactly as I envisioned so I stopped.  I would like to know the gravity on brewday which could 1) help me to know my efficiency and make sure there are no issues there and 2) know where I am as I get close to the end of fermentation by using the conversion tool and the OG as guidelines.  Cheers and thanks.



#16 Merlinwerks

Merlinwerks

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 33 posts
  • LocationWestern PA

Posted 09 January 2019 - 10:47 AM

THIS post might be of interest to you.

 

I currently use an analog refractometer on brew day, I went through the process for determining the wort correction factor, info HERE.

 

I use a Tilt during fermentation mostly to see when it is done and then use a narrow gauge hydrometer to measure the FG that I record for the beer.

 

I'm expecting a Milwaukee digital meter tomorrow, I've read enough posts where people say it checks against their hydrometer to convince me to take a chance.

 

 


  • 0


0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users