Good morning,Well I got a couple replies from some seasoned beer makers...
I'm fairly new to brewing (I've had one good batch and one terrible batch) and I could use some help with my hydrometer... I don't know if it's just me, or if other newbie brewers have the same problem, but I can't get a clear reading on my hydrometer. Either the brew is too foamy in the sample tube and I can't get a good read, or I have trouble reading it along the meniscus. Or maybe I'm just a byproduct of the digital age and refuse to use a simple tool like a hydrometer the right way. But, I feel like I really wasting my time if I keep brewing but goof up on the gravity readings.
Do they make digital hydrometers for brewing purposes? Can anyone direct me to a site where I can find one? Or does anyone have any suggestions for getting past my inability to use the standard tool effectively?
Thanks for the help...
Hi Bryon!There's one veteran beer maker that has never heard of a digital Hydrometer for beer making... But he did give me some food for thought regarding Refractometers
I have never heard of a digital hydrometer but that doesn't mean much in today's world. I know that using one of these tools can be some what frustrating and takes time to get the hang of it. You may want to consider using a Refractometer instead. Granted, the refractometer is not taking the easy way out, but after you learn how to use it you will rely on it anytime you need to take a quick accurate reading. I used to use a hydrometer and used it for many years until I tried a refractometer. I have not used my hydrometer since and have had outstanding results using only my refractometer. It allows you to take on the spot SG readings of your post and pre boil worts using only 2 or 3 drops of wort. It sure beats trying to fill a hydrometer tube full of boiling hot wort...or cooling the wort just to get a decent reading.
I would advise that you do some research about using the refractometer before rushing out and purchasing one as they do have their pros and cons and you'll have to decide if going this route is good for you.
I still have my hydrometer and will not do away with it as it is still one of the most viable tools to check the gravity of your brews in any stage that it is in. The decision is yours. I find that by using both tools, I tend to get very accurate results. I use the refractometer on brew days to quickly check the SG of the wort..then rely on the hydrometer to periodically check the fermentation during various stages such as during secondary fermentation.
I hope this reply has helped you and good luck!
Here's another reply with some tips on using the Hydrometer...
To get rid of the foam fill up your test tube almost to the top. Then when you place your hydrometer in the tube the wort will overflow along with the foam. I will spin the hydrometer to get rid off any bubbles that are on the hydrometer...Thanks Camper, I think ultimately practice and using tips and tricks like the ones you mentioned will help me master the hydrometer. Having said that, I would still love to find a digital solution...
Try and look at the level of the wort. Sometimes you take an average reading. I have a precision hydrometer that reads from 1.000 to 1.070. This is easy to read than the ones that have a large range. - Camper
The forum over at BeerTools.com is a great place to learn, get help and discuss beer making!