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Brewing Topics => Reviews => Topic started by: piper55 on April 30, 2012, 08:01:55 PM

Title: refractometer
Post by: piper55 on April 30, 2012, 08:01:55 PM
  Does anybody use a refractometer I am thinking about getting one but i have seen mixed reviews about  acuracy,I am sick of breaking hydrometers
Title: Re: refractometer
Post by: PetenNewburg on May 01, 2012, 04:19:01 AM
  I seem to have the same problem.  I have decided it is not my fault, they are committing suicide. :'(
Title: Re: refractometer
Post by: rdewsbury on May 01, 2012, 07:34:45 AM
I use both.  The refractometer is great for fling frequent samples during the mash to see if the target is being met.  It uses only a couple of drops and if properly calibrated with distiller water works well with built in temperature compensation - so I can take hot wort, cool it a few minutes then test.

It is also robust and since you are not stealing a jar full of wort and dumping it or putting it back in, you lose little and avoid potential infection points.

For the measurements of record, the refractometer is hard to read consistently, so I use the hydrometer there.  Also the refractometer needs the SG to work out the FG, so if you interpret off a little at each reading, you get double error potentially.

During fermentation, I can take daily readings with the refractometer without waste until is settles down.

To protect the hydrometers, I use them less and carry them in a drywall tray, filled sanitized, so they arebnot out in the boil area, and cushioned by liquid.  I also use a bottling hydro with a finer scale for the FG, as I want to know the real details of the final nectar.
Title: Re: refractometer
Post by: philm63 on August 15, 2012, 06:05:10 PM
@piper55 - not sure if you've found a good one yet, but I too have been looking and was pointed at this one and ordered it yesterday. Looked pretty good on the website and the price was right.

http://nisupply.ecrater.com/p/9219506/0-32-atc-brix-refractometer-wine-beer (http://nisupply.ecrater.com/p/9219506/0-32-atc-brix-refractometer-wine-beer)
Title: Re: refractometer
Post by: piper55 on August 16, 2012, 06:16:28 PM
nice plice philm thanks
Title: Re: refractometer
Post by: bholm on April 14, 2013, 08:22:43 PM
For any one reading:
 I love my refractometer. No waste, hard to break, easier (for me) to read. There was one issue I had. I had calibrated it using distilled water as per the instructions and all of my readings were way off. I started to doubt the efficiency of my system and regretting the purchase of the refractometer. During all of this I got my local water report to add to beersmith and as I entered the new H2O profile I noticed that my water has a high mineral content. It dawned on me that apart from measuring sugar content the refractometer measures all dissolved calcium, magnesium, etc. If my base line was distilled h2o then without accounting for the local water content i would not be able to accuratly measure the increase in dissolved sugars. Simple fix re calibrate using your locals water. A simple turn of a screw and I met my target pre boil and post boil gravity on the next batch
Title: Re: refractometer
Post by: Slurk on April 15, 2013, 01:09:14 AM
Also the refractometer needs the SG to work out the FG, so if you interpret off a little at each reading, you get double error potentially.

I am not sure what you mean. Could you explain?
I am not using a refractometer at the moment and considering buying one.
Title: Re: refractometer
Post by: Oginme on April 15, 2013, 07:24:24 AM
I do not have a refractometer for brewing (hope to get one soon, though) but used one quite frequently during an earlier career in the paper industry to measure starch solids.  In my experience, the better quality the refractometer the easier it will be to read.  You also need a strong light source. 

While ideally the refractometer should be calibrated using distilled water, there are a number of minerals which will absorb and produce an error in the reading, so we always used to recalibrate the refractometer to the process water used to cook the starch in order to baseline the reading.  The post referred to it as SG (starting gravity) which would be the initial gravity reading of the water before any additions are made.  Zeroing the refractometer to this value eliminates any correction which later needs to be made to the readings made.
Title: Re: refractometer
Post by: Slurk on April 15, 2013, 01:56:27 PM
The post referred to it as SG (starting gravity) which would be the initial gravity reading of the water before any additions are made.  Zeroing the refractometer to this value eliminates any correction which later needs to be made to the readings made.

Got it!