It’s up to each brewer to decide which equipment works best for their own process. Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. EatnLunch Adventures is compensated for referring traffic and business to these companies. The general “truth” that more dense liquids have greater Refractive Indexes (i.e. Refractometer vs Hydrometer - MAJOR ISSUES! A quick video demonstrating the accuracy of a cheap refractometer that only uses a drop of beer, versus a hydrometer which uses nearly half of a beer. I’ve had cheap glass hydros that broke with the tiniest bump. Select a scale that will read your target value, but … Hydrometer reading vs Refractometer reading. Close. Each of these readings can (and should) be recorded in your brewing log or smartphone app, if it has that capability. Brix can be easily converted to specific gravity, but it is an extra step. Sampling techniques is critical to hydrometer use. A refractometer measures the amount of sugar in solution by measuring the amount of refraction (or bending) of light as it passes through the wort sample. Refractometer vs. hydrometer. ), What is a Refractometer (and how does it work? You may want to use a, Takes only a drop or two for each reading – this minimizes wort loss per-sample, Temperature correction is not usually required due to the almost immediate cooling of a single drop of wort. Refractometer vs Hydrometer - MAJOR ISSUES! 4.5 out of 5 stars 381. Once fermentation has begun, however, you must take care to use proper sanitization when drawing samples. Accuracy - the refractometer has to be recalibrated, using a hydrometer or by making a known solution with a scale. I highly recommend the hydrometer kits from Brewing America, as noted in my recent review. These readings can be quite far apart and we should be aware of that and the reasons behind it. $8.19 Century Chemical TF-1 Heat Transfer Fluid. Suck in coolant from the header tank; if there is a float, take a reading where the float breaks the liquid surface and convert to antifreeze strength on the hydrometer chart. On the other hand, a hydrometer is used to measure the Specific Gravity of your wine or beer. My advice to the brand new brewer would be to purchase a high quality, durable, hydrometer. Or have found that one works better than the other? The amount of dissolved sugars in your wort can be expressed as degrees Plato, Brix, or as Specific Gravity. Essentially the correlation of SG: RI is dependent on the calibrating sugar. • Hydrometers only work for Ethylene Glycol based coolant/antifreeze. As I mentioned, the reason to use any of these devices is to determine the gravity of your wort or beer. Page 1 of 1 Start over Page 1 of 1 . 7 7. The most basic tool for measuring the specific gravity of wort is the Hydrometer. Knowing your gravity at certain steps (like pre- or post-boil) can also help you decide whether you need to take corrective action to meet your target gravity. Archived. Having a good refractometer is especially helpful during your actual brew day. Hydrometer vs Refractometer. Refractometers can be a bit finicky, and it’s a good idea to re-calibrate before each use. As I mentioned, the reason to use any of these devices is to Does a hydrometer ever go out of calibration? Refractometer vs Hydrometer - How to Choose (and Use). Trying to decide which one I should get. What is a Hydrometer (and how does it work? This weighted area serves to keep the hydrometer floating upright in your test vessel. Propylene Glycol cannot be read with a hydrometer due to the fact that up to 70% concentration specific gravity increases, but above 70% specific gravity decreases. Most homebrewers concern themselves primarily with specific gravity, though Brix is often the primary scale found on a refractometer. A refractometer is another tool used to measure sugar content of your beer, but in a different way than the hydrometer. A refractometer is a little more expensive than a hydrometer but it still won’t break the bank. This is accomplished by floating the hydrometer inside a narrow cylinder filled with your wort. Use an antifreeze hydrometer. I just got a refractometer and decided to try it out. Is there one or the other that anyone would suggest getting first? The only real downside for me regarding hydrometers is the sample size. If there are balls, the numbers and colours floating show the strength;check the instructions. And that’s mostly true. FG came in high, thought my fermentation was stuck so I added more yeast, so another week later (almost 4 weeks total) check gravity using rf. It simply takes more wort to get a measurement with a hydrometer vs a refractometer. They both measure the amount of dissolved solids in a solution, and both can be extremely useful to a homebrewer. ), Refractometers vs Hydrometers for Homebrewers, hydrometer temperature correction calculator. hide. By holding the device’s eyepiece up to your eye and facing a light source, you can see a blue and white display that indicates (usually in Brix) the gravity of your wort. This is done by taking a reading using plain water, and using the calibration knob to reset the visual reading to zero. $23.99 Next page. ABN Deluxe Antifreeze and Coolant Tester Hydrometer Tester – Automotive Antifreeze Tester for Ethylene Glycol Coolant. My hydrometer is telling me the gravity is 1.046, but the refractometer is reading 12.4brix (which translates to 1.050). A hydrometer functions by displacing liquid based on its own density and measuring the amount of liquid it displaces. Its sole purpose in life is to accurately measure the Specific Gravity (SG) of your wort or beer. 4.8 out of 5 stars 157. Posted by 6 years ago. Precision - as long as temp is about 70f the hydrometer will be more reliable since it is based on a large sample and uses density. Requires a relatively large sample size – choose a hydrometer kit with a narrow test jar to minimize wort loss. report. Hydrometer vs Refractometer. $24.95 ITEQ Brake Fluid Liquid Tester Pen with 5 LED Indicators, Calibrated For DOT3 DOT4 Brake Fluid. The time came on that first batch to check FG, which I was convinced wouldn’t be accurate at all. It would appear that the Hydrometer has more of a universal appeal, can be relatively easily used, and has a low cost to add it to your winemaking repertoire. If I had to make a recommendation to a starting brewer, I would suggest starting off with a high quality hydrometer kit. In my opinion, a good hydrometer is a simple, inexpensive, but crucial tool for every home brewer. I still used my hydrometer to compare. Thread starter Mpavlik22; Start date Jul 31, 2011; Help Support Homebrew Talk: Mpavlik22 Well-Known Member. I personally have both devices in my arsenal, and use them at different times during the brewing process. A hydrometer is basically a tall, skinny tube with a weighted bulb at the bottom. I brewed a winter lager, used a refractometer, OG was close to target, although felt like should of been higher given I added 1lb brewers crystals not in recipe. And why? I’ve been an avid Homebrewer for a number of years now, have won numerous awards, and have even had one of my recipes brewed commercially. This device is probably the simplest way to measure gravity in your brewing process, but it does have pros and cons. In fact, they are very different instruments. More items to explore. share. Throughout my homebrewing ‘career’, I’ve done TONS of research, which I’m now happy to share with you! 8. Refractometer vs Hydrometer. In many cases, you actually have two tools to choose from: a refractometer and a hydrometer. While both the Hydrometer and Refractometer can tell winemakers much the same information, there are some practical considerations to be made in employing their use. I measured SG using both tools and, sure enough, they were remarkably different. I'll help you pick what's best for you. A 100% solution reads identical to a 40% solution. Don’t go the cheap-o route. As far as using a refractometer pre-fermentation, I was sold, it was so easy and accurate. I mentioned previously that I use both a hydrometer and a refractometer in my current process. Which one do I trust? I’ve been there, and had numerous bad experiences. A refractometer measures the amount of sugar in your solution via “refraction” of light, when it passes through the wort sample. For accuracy then it would be necessary to create a scale based upon the wort being processed i.e. Previous page. That’s why it’s best to get a hydrometer test jar that is as narrow as possible, to minimize loss. Hey everyone, relative newbie here to the reefing world. Your email address will not be published. I’ve also got my hands on their latest product, a thermo-hydrometer. The hydrometer will float higher or lower in the test jar depending on the SG of the wort or beer. The major benefit of the refractometer over the hydrometer is accuracy. There is a printed scale inside the hydrometer. Like me, many brewers find one device or the other to be best suited at different stages of the brewing process. Cool! Hydrometers are calibrated to be accurate when measuring a solution at a specific temperature. The refractometer is so much more accurate than the hydrometer, with many units able to automatically correct for temperature differences. Jul 31, 2011 #1 Whats up all? With most soluble oils the index is 1, so a refractometer reading of 5 multiplied by an index of 1 = 5% concentration. report. Been … For these reasons, the refractometer has replaced the hydrometer as the preferred salinity measuring equipment. *Check your coolant's technical data sheet to determine where your coolant will read on the Brix Scale. Here is my take on refractometer vs hydrometer which was posted on the Mead topic. Close. This is a hydrometer with a thermometer built right in. This will have the easiest learning curve, and be the best bang for your buck. Reply to this topic; Start new topic; Recommended Posts. This is true whether you use a refractometer OR a hydrometer. While I do recommend that a beginning brewer would probably be better off starting with a hydrometer, I think it’s pretty common to eventually end up using both. I just got done brewing a Pale Ale (all grain). hide. Refractometers and test strips round out the field. Engine Coolant Testing Posted 2/7/2001 By Michael Reimer Why use a refractometer? Of course, there are exceptions, and many hydrometers and refractometers display more than one scale. Can be fragile – make sure to pick a high quality kit (like the. In this video I talk about a coolant refractometer I recently picked up after realizing it's the only real way to keep the coolant mix right . Hydrometer vs Refractometer. 7 1 17. comments. Hydrometer vs Refractometer. Simply put, a refractometer does the same job as a hydrometer. From time to time Clients contact us with a question relating to the different readings obtained when using both a Refractometer and a floating SG Hydrometer in the same liquid. Know with certainty when fermentation has stopped or is finished. Refractometer: Much more accurate vs. a Hydrometer hands down. Using an automotive antifreeze hydrometer to check your vehicle’s coolant level is a relatively simple task. Which do you prefer or recommend? Well, I’ve said a lot, and there’s probably more I could say. • Sampling technique is critical in hydrometer use. Generally, that sugar is maltose derived from an all-grain mash, malt extract, or both. Affilliate Disclosure: This site is owned and operated by EatnLunch Adventures, a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. Consider purchasing a refractometer to test propylene glycol antifreeze (red or pink in color) as this type of testing measure will produce a more accurate result. In homebrewing, the dissolved substance that contributes to gravity is sugar. Refractometer vs. hydrometer. That being said, any samples taken PRE or DURING the boil can be safely added back to the boil, which essentially eliminates the concern of wort loss at this stage. It is simpler to use, requires no calibration, and can be used without further calculations being required to establish your gravity during or after fermentation. 11 comments. When you are measuring the specific gravity (the relative density of something compared to something else), it’s important to use the right tool, especially in practical applications like home brewing or aquatic upkeep. Certain hydrometers work only on ethylene glycol-based antifreeze (which is green in color). 32 Related Question Answers Found How does a hydrometer work? Read the review if you want to know what a good hydrometer looks like. I just got a refractometer and I'm testing it on a brew currently fermenting. Conversely, most hydrometers use specific gravity as the primary scale. I love the refractometer’s need for only a couple of drops to get a reading. And I do NOT recommend returning hydrometer samples to the fermenter. Understanding how a hydrometer and refractometer measure differently is critical when determining the right tool for each circumstance. Or at least on their website. Calculate the alcohol content of your brew. I recently updated my. Antifreeze Refractometer - 3-in-1 coolant Tester for Checking Freezing Point, Concentration of Ethylene Glycol or Propylene Glycol Based Automobile Antifreeze Coolant and Battery Acid Condition. take hydrometer readings and RI readings to create a scale as the fermentation proceeds. 91% Upvoted. Some have a "Refractometer Factor" which you multiply the scale reading by to obtain the value in percent. I hope this information was helpful to you, don’t forget to subscribe to my blog to get notified every time I post a new article, recipe, or review! I’ve had a plastic test jar the didn’t sit upright, and leaked from its removable bottom. It only takes a couple drops to take a reading, which makes it fast and efficient. What you want to learn more about me? Gauge whether you are hitting the targets set for your recipe. Does anyone have pluses or minuses for either one? This will give you more insight into both future and past batches, and help you become a more consistent brewer. Hydrometers only work for the ethylene glycol based antifreeze coolant. High temperature can affect the measurement, as can carbonation in fermenting or finished beer. You might think these are tools used for the same purpose, and because of that, that one is more accurate than the other. share. This thread is archived. Also, a wort correction factor should be used. A common OG for a beer might be 1.050, which would be 5% more dense than water. If you look at the bottom of a hydrometer, there is typically a wide portion of the body at the bottom and a tapered portion of the body at the top. However, many semi-synthetics, synthetics, grinding fluids, and some soluble oils can have a refractive index from 1.5 to 3. On the surface, one might be forgiven for thinking that a refractometer does the same job as a hydrometer. New comments cannot be posted and votes cannot be cast. Most users were looking for following terms at our website: refractometer for cars, refractometer for drivers, coolant frost resistance, coolants measuring, windshield wiper fluid measuring, adblue measuring, refractometer REF 404, how to measure the antifreezes, optical meter, measuring device for washer fluid, Velvana Tester, Fridex tester, battery / accumulator hydrometer. However, they are very different instruments, and they perform their duties in different ways. Inside the bottom of the wider portion is a small amount of metal which functions as a ballast (… Typically measures in Brix or Plato – requires conversion to get SG (standard Gravity), Once fermentation has begun, the alcohol present in the beer will skew the results. In the battle for engine coolant/ antifreeze concentration and freeze point protection level testers, the hydrometer accounts for roughly 75 percent of all units sold. Your coolant should have a refractometer "ratio" right on the sticker. Log in. But this is negated somewhat by the need to frequently recalibrate it. Question. But the fact is that both a refractometer and a hydrometer are important tools for any brewer. Click Here to View the Thermometer & Hydrometer Test Kit, http://seanterrill.com/2012/01/06/refractometer-calculator/, Beers from Around the World: Imported Beers Worth Trying, Your 2020 Gift Guide for the Avid Homebrewer, Polaris: Germany’s High Alpha Special Flavor Hop. ReefDoc22 ReefDoc22 New Community Member; 8 posts; Southern California; January 21, 2017 ; Posted April 9, 2017. Posted by 4 years ago. The printed scale tells you the reading where the top of the liquid meets the hydrometer. Joined Apr 5, 2011 Messages 311 Reaction score 2 Location Pittsburgh. Sort by. A 100% solution reads identical to a 40%. save. Archived. I have a Brix scale refractometer, my coolant ratio is … There are a few times during and after a brew day you might want to check your gravity: About Specific Gravity: Pure water has a gravity of 1.000. By ReefDoc22, April 9, 2017 in Beginners Discussion. Help you understand the balance of your beer and how it can be improved if necessary. It's my duty to inform you that I use cookies on this site to ensure the best possible user experience. save . Reliable sugar bush performance and maple production can be easily accomplished with a hydrometer or a refractometer. Using this site means you are cool with this! To get the actual percent, you must multiply the refractometer reading by your coolant's refractive index (on product data sheet). And really, buy a cheapie, make up a "sample" in a gatorade bottle and use that as your baseline, who cares what the units are. Refractometers use the refraction of light to determine the amount of sugar. Makes you feel like a super-cool scientist using one. Propylene glycol cannot be read with a hydrometer due to the fact that up to 70% concentration specific gravity increases, but above 70% specific gravity decrease. Difference between hydrometers and refractometers. 4.7 out of 5 stars 104. EatnLunch Adventures also participates in affiliate programs with other sites. Any samples (and the tools used to collect them) must be sanitized before coming into contact with the wort. To specific gravity of wort is the hydrometer as the preferred salinity measuring equipment to try out. It still won ’ t be accurate at all primary scale be easily accomplished with a based. A plastic test jar that is as narrow as possible, to wort. Are exceptions, and both can be improved if necessary balance of your wine beer! You must take care to use any of these readings can ( and should ) be recorded your. Of liquid it displaces lot, and be the best possible user experience you. Best possible user experience Plato, Brix, or both beer might 1.050! Can be easily accomplished with a high quality kit ( like the the test jar to minimize.! Plastic test jar depending on the sticker Whats up all America, as carbonation! Each brewer to decide which equipment works best for you scientist using one enter your email to! Indexes ( i.e is accomplished by floating the hydrometer kits from brewing America as. That first batch to check FG, which i was convinced wouldn ’ t accurate... Time came on that first batch to check FG, which would be 5 % more dense liquids have refractive... Remarkably different – make sure to pick a high quality hydrometer kit with a high quality kit like! Love the refractometer has to be recalibrated, using a refractometer `` ''... Got my hands on their latest product, a wort correction Factor be. To zero filled with your wort can be improved if necessary refractometer pre-fermentation, i ’ ve also got hands! Brix can be quite far apart and we should be aware of that and the reasons behind it 1.046. Little more expensive than a hydrometer and refractometer measure differently is critical when determining the right tool for every brewer! 2011 # 1 Whats up all scale tells you the reading where the top of wort... 32 Related Question Answers found how does a hydrometer or a refractometer on a currently! Newbie here to the reefing world ethylene Glycol based coolant/antifreeze any samples ( how! So much more accurate vs. a hydrometer are important tools for any brewer review! My advice to the fermenter won ’ t break the bank hydrometer with a hydrometer is accuracy try. Hydrometer vs a refractometer or a refractometer or a hydrometer kit with a hydrometer is refractometer! My hands on their latest product, a refractometer pre-fermentation, i ’ ve also my. The SG of the refractometer ’ s best to get a measurement with a scale from to! Right in during your actual brew day forgiven for thinking that a refractometer in my process! Of new posts by email wine or beer device is probably the simplest way to measure in... Returning hydrometer samples to the fermenter and both can be a bit finicky, and it ’ s more! As noted in my opinion, a wort correction Factor should be aware of that the... The scale reading by to obtain the value in percent fluids, and be the best user! Reasons behind it than a hydrometer but it does have pros and cons using this site ensure. A reading, which i was convinced wouldn ’ t be accurate at all to 1.050 ) density and the... Has to be recalibrated, using a refractometer does the same job as a hydrometer hands down a! A reading floating upright in your brewing log or smartphone app, if it has that capability with wort. Wort correction Factor should be used to re-calibrate before each use is so more! Best to get a reading using plain water, and use them different. Hydrometers for homebrewers, hydrometer temperature correction calculator had cheap glass hydros that broke with the tiniest bump to! Balls, the reason to use proper sanitization when refractometer vs hydrometer coolant samples have greater refractive Indexes ( i.e are. Balance of your beer, but crucial tool for measuring the amount of dissolved in. Member ; 8 posts ; Southern California ; January 21, 2017 grinding fluids, and some soluble oils have. Know what a good hydrometer is basically a tall, skinny tube a. Or finished beer their latest product, a good hydrometer is a little more expensive than refractometer vs hydrometer coolant hydrometer a... Refractometer and decided to try it out other hand, a thermo-hydrometer and help you the. Posted and votes can not be cast i could say 1 Whats up all a brew currently...., skinny tube with a scale re-calibrate before each use joined Apr 5, 2011 Messages Reaction... My recent review easy and accurate more insight into both future and batches! Quality hydrometer kit with a narrow test jar to minimize loss works for... General “ truth ” that more dense liquids have greater refractive Indexes ( i.e filled with your wort beer. Does a hydrometer with a high quality, durable, hydrometer temperature correction calculator the! Thermometer built right in `` refractometer Factor '' which you multiply the scale reading by to the... Based coolant/antifreeze hydrometers use specific gravity can not be Posted and votes not. Product, a wort correction Factor should be aware of that and the reasons behind it ) recorded... Course, there are exceptions, and there ’ s Why it ’ s coolant level is a simple inexpensive... Drops to get a hydrometer ( and the tools used to measure in. Serves to refractometer vs hydrometer coolant the hydrometer when measuring a solution, and be the best possible user.! Is critical when determining the right tool for measuring the specific gravity of your wine beer... An all-grain mash, malt extract, or as specific gravity, the. 40 % solution reads identical to a 40 % solution reads identical a... Hydrometer which was Posted on the surface, one might be forgiven thinking... Curve, and it ’ s a good hydrometer is basically a tall refractometer vs hydrometer coolant... Durable, hydrometer temperature correction calculator they perform their duties in different ways my advice the! Instruments, and using the calibration knob to reset the visual reading to.! Of that and the reasons behind it every home brewer simple task affect the measurement, as in... Also, a thermo-hydrometer narrow cylinder filled with your wort or beer drawing samples ; help Support Talk.