Author Topic: Refractometer  (Read 4196 times)

Offline rrogerstwo

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« on: November 14, 2011, 12:22:47 PM »
I have been using a refractometer for 6-8 batches of beer now.  I use my BeerSmith software to correct the readings and also calibrate it with distilled water. I am reading the new BYO magazine and in the "techniques" section this month they talk about using a Refractometer.  In the last part of the paragraph, it says the drawbacks to using this tool is that they do not work with aqueous ethanol solutions, or when there are suspended solids present in the liquid, so they are not useful for checking beer or fermenting wort. My question is do the corrections for a refractometer in BeerSmith work or should I use aHydrometer instead. I like the refractometer since I don't have to draw large samples everytime I want to check gravity. Thanks

Offline beerpilot

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Re: Refractometer
« Reply #1 on: November 14, 2011, 12:54:34 PM »
I also use a refractometer during fermentation for both wine and beer. has a spreadsheet that you can use to do the conversion and use as a log. Here it is:

This corrects for the ethanol in solution. If you have an ATC refractometer, leave the temperature box blank.

Offline haygood

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Re: Refractometer
« Reply #2 on: November 27, 2011, 02:58:28 PM »
So, BS does not automatically correct the refractometer numbers?
I have my gravity unit set as Plato.
If my refractometer reads 7 brix after fermentation, I still need to correct the number before I enter it into the FG field?

Offline merfizle

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Re: Refractometer
« Reply #3 on: November 27, 2011, 03:33:27 PM »
The refractometer tool in BS 2.0 does calculate gravity with alcohol taken into account.  You need to take an OG reading prior to fermentation....just select Unfermented Wort Gravity to accomplish this.  Then, once fermentation starts use Fermenting Wort Gravity in the drop-down selection.

As always, calibrate your refractometer prior to can do this using the refracto tool in B.S.

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Offline Neild5

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Re: Refractometer
« Reply #4 on: December 05, 2011, 05:09:51 PM »
I use a refractometer  for both the un fermented wort and during fermentation.  I use an online calculator to correct for the alcohol content.   Using a hydrometer to compare I find it is +/- .03% on ABV.  After doing that for several batches I don't bother using the hydrometer. 

As far as suspended solids, every liquid I have ever tested with a refractometer has had ss in it.  This in automotive and industrial uses testing coolants, food applications and of course brewing.