Refractometer vs Hydrometer - How to Choose (and Use). The only real downside for me regarding hydrometers is the sample size. Refractometer: Much more accurate vs. a Hydrometer hands down. Hey everyone, relative newbie here to the reefing world. Each of these readings can (and should) be recorded in your brewing log or smartphone app, if it has that capability. With most soluble oils the index is 1, so a refractometer reading of 5 multiplied by an index of 1 = 5% concentration. 4.5 out of 5 stars 381. Difference between hydrometers and refractometers. Which one do I trust? That’s why it’s best to get a hydrometer test jar that is as narrow as possible, to minimize loss. Thread starter Mpavlik22; Start date Jul 31, 2011; Help Support Homebrew Talk: Mpavlik22 Well-Known Member. I measured SG using both tools and, sure enough, they were remarkably different. The printed scale tells you the reading where the top of the liquid meets the hydrometer. A refractometer is another tool used to measure sugar content of your beer, but in a different way than the hydrometer. Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. As I mentioned, the reason to use any of these devices is to Refractometer vs Hydrometer. 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! Essentially the correlation of SG: RI is dependent on the calibrating sugar. Hydrometer reading vs Refractometer reading. Sampling techniques is critical to hydrometer use. Refractometer vs Hydrometer - MAJOR ISSUES! Hydrometer vs Refractometer. ), What is a Refractometer (and how does it work? Requires a relatively large sample size – choose a hydrometer kit with a narrow test jar to minimize wort loss. take hydrometer readings and RI readings to create a scale as the fermentation proceeds. Select a scale that will read your target value, but … Which do you prefer or recommend? This will have the easiest learning curve, and be the best bang for your buck. • Hydrometers only work for Ethylene Glycol based coolant/antifreeze. Does a hydrometer ever go out of calibration? Engine Coolant Testing Posted 2/7/2001 By Michael Reimer Why use a refractometer? For accuracy then it would be necessary to create a scale based upon the wort being processed i.e. Don’t go the cheap-o route. I still used my hydrometer to compare. As far as using a refractometer pre-fermentation, I was sold, it was so easy and accurate. 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. 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. Using an automotive antifreeze hydrometer to check your vehicle’s coolant level is a relatively simple task. Is there one or the other that anyone would suggest getting first? ABN Deluxe Antifreeze and Coolant Tester Hydrometer Tester – Automotive Antifreeze Tester for Ethylene Glycol Coolant. 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. ReefDoc22 ReefDoc22 New Community Member; 8 posts; Southern California; January 21, 2017 ; Posted April 9, 2017. 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. Previous page. 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. Refractometer vs. hydrometer. I’ve also got my hands on their latest product, a thermo-hydrometer. $23.99 Next page. 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. These readings can be quite far apart and we should be aware of that and the reasons behind it. Its sole purpose in life is to accurately measure the Specific Gravity (SG) of your wort or beer. Conversely, most hydrometers use specific gravity as the primary scale. Help you understand the balance of your beer and how it can be improved if necessary. 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. In homebrewing, the dissolved substance that contributes to gravity is sugar. The major benefit of the refractometer over the hydrometer is accuracy. 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. The most basic tool for measuring the specific gravity of wort is the Hydrometer. Use an antifreeze hydrometer. It's my duty to inform you that I use cookies on this site to ensure the best possible user experience. 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. To get the actual percent, you must multiply the refractometer reading by your coolant's refractive index (on product data sheet). Here is my take on refractometer vs hydrometer which was posted on the Mead topic. Your coolant should have a refractometer "ratio" right on the sticker. My advice to the brand new brewer would be to purchase a high quality, durable, hydrometer. 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. I mentioned previously that I use both a hydrometer and a refractometer in my current process. This is a hydrometer with a thermometer built right in. A 100% solution reads identical to a 40% solution. share. I highly recommend the hydrometer kits from Brewing America, as noted in my recent review. Trying to decide which one I should get. 32 Related Question Answers Found How does a hydrometer work? You might think these are tools used for the same purpose, and because of that, that one is more accurate than the other. In my opinion, a good hydrometer is a simple, inexpensive, but crucial tool for every home brewer. I'll help you pick what's best for you. Reliable sugar bush performance and maple production can be easily accomplished with a hydrometer or a refractometer. Once fermentation has begun, however, you must take care to use proper sanitization when drawing samples. I’ve had cheap glass hydros that broke with the tiniest bump. 7 7. Refractometers use the refraction of light to determine the amount of sugar. But this is negated somewhat by the need to frequently recalibrate it. ), Refractometers vs Hydrometers for Homebrewers, hydrometer temperature correction calculator. A 100% solution reads identical to a 40%. 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. Hydrometer vs Refractometer. A common OG for a beer might be 1.050, which would be 5% more dense than water. Question. I recently updated my. Your email address will not be published. A hydrometer functions by displacing liquid based on its own density and measuring the amount of liquid it displaces. I just got a refractometer and decided to try it out. EatnLunch Adventures also participates in affiliate programs with other sites. 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. And that’s mostly true. report. 4.8 out of 5 stars 157. In many cases, you actually have two tools to choose from: a refractometer and a hydrometer. What you want to learn more about me? Simply put, a refractometer does the same job as a hydrometer. As I mentioned, the reason to use any of these devices is to determine the gravity of your wort or beer. Well, I’ve said a lot, and there’s probably more I could say. The amount of dissolved sugars in your wort can be expressed as degrees Plato, Brix, or as Specific Gravity. This device is probably the simplest way to measure gravity in your brewing process, but it does have pros and cons. Refractometers and test strips round out the field. This is accomplished by floating the hydrometer inside a narrow cylinder filled with your wort. hide. 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. 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. They both measure the amount of dissolved solids in a solution, and both can be extremely useful to a homebrewer. Close. Calculate the alcohol content of your brew. And why? 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. 7 1 17. comments. Of course, there are exceptions, and many hydrometers and refractometers display more than one scale. Hydrometers are calibrated to be accurate when measuring a solution at a specific temperature. Joined Apr 5, 2011 Messages 311 Reaction score 2 Location Pittsburgh. 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. Archived. Or at least on their website. And I do NOT recommend returning hydrometer samples to the fermenter. Using this site means you are cool with this! My hydrometer is telling me the gravity is 1.046, but the refractometer is reading 12.4brix (which translates to 1.050). save . Inside the bottom of the wider portion is a small amount of metal which functions as a ballast (… 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? Does anyone have pluses or minuses for either one? 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. This will give you more insight into both future and past batches, and help you become a more consistent brewer. 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. Reply to this topic; Start new topic; Recommended Posts. By ReefDoc22, April 9, 2017 in Beginners Discussion. report. If there are balls, the numbers and colours floating show the strength;check the instructions. 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. Throughout my homebrewing ‘career’, I’ve done TONS of research, which I’m now happy to share with you! I just got a refractometer and I'm testing it on a brew currently fermenting. New comments cannot be posted and votes cannot be cast. Can be fragile – make sure to pick a high quality kit (like the. 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. This is true whether you use a refractometer OR a hydrometer. A refractometer is a little more expensive than a hydrometer but it still won’t break the bank. hide. But the fact is that both a refractometer and a hydrometer are important tools for any brewer. Brix can be easily converted to specific gravity, but it is an extra step. The general “truth” that more dense liquids have greater Refractive Indexes (i.e. The time came on that first batch to check FG, which I was convinced wouldn’t be accurate at all. Hydrometer vs Refractometer. 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. If I had to make a recommendation to a starting brewer, I would suggest starting off with a high quality hydrometer kit. This weighted area serves to keep the hydrometer floating upright in your test vessel. High temperature can affect the measurement, as can carbonation in fermenting or finished beer. Archived. Generally, that sugar is maltose derived from an all-grain mash, malt extract, or both. • Sampling technique is critical in hydrometer use. Or have found that one works better than the other? 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. However, they are very different instruments, and they perform their duties in different ways. There is a printed scale inside the hydrometer. Understanding how a hydrometer and refractometer measure differently is critical when determining the right tool for each circumstance. 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. More items to explore. Makes you feel like a super-cool scientist using one. This is done by taking a reading using plain water, and using the calibration knob to reset the visual reading to zero. 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. Been … Some have a "Refractometer Factor" which you multiply the scale reading by to obtain the value in percent. On the surface, one might be forgiven for thinking that a refractometer does the same job as a hydrometer. Hydrometers only work for the ethylene glycol based antifreeze coolant. I just got done brewing a Pale Ale (all grain). Accuracy - the refractometer has to be recalibrated, using a hydrometer or by making a known solution with a scale. Hydrometer vs Refractometer. EatnLunch Adventures is compensated for referring traffic and business to these companies. 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. Having a good refractometer is especially helpful during your actual brew day. Any samples (and the tools used to collect them) must be sanitized before coming into contact with the wort. I have a Brix scale refractometer, my coolant ratio is … The hydrometer will float higher or lower in the test jar depending on the SG of the wort or beer. I love the refractometer’s need for only a couple of drops to get a reading. *Check your coolant's technical data sheet to determine where your coolant will read on the Brix Scale. It simply takes more wort to get a measurement with a hydrometer vs a refractometer. Posted by 6 years ago. Know with certainty when fermentation has stopped or is finished. A hydrometer is basically a tall, skinny tube with a weighted bulb at the bottom. However, many semi-synthetics, synthetics, grinding fluids, and some soluble oils can have a refractive index from 1.5 to 3. 4.7 out of 5 stars 104. 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. 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. What is a Hydrometer (and how does it work? 11 comments. 8. Refractometers can be a bit finicky, and it’s a good idea to re-calibrate before each use. This thread is archived. Close. $24.95 ITEQ Brake Fluid Liquid Tester Pen with 5 LED Indicators, Calibrated For DOT3 DOT4 Brake Fluid. Posted by 4 years ago. Read the review if you want to know what a good hydrometer looks like. Also, a wort correction factor should be used. It only takes a couple drops to take a reading, which makes it fast and efficient. Log in. save. Cool! Gauge whether you are hitting the targets set for your recipe. Sort by. Refractometer vs. hydrometer. Refractometer vs Hydrometer - MAJOR ISSUES! 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 . $8.19 Century Chemical TF-1 Heat Transfer Fluid. 91% Upvoted. In fact, they are very different instruments. 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. 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. share. On the other hand, a hydrometer is used to measure the Specific Gravity of your wine or beer. For these reasons, the refractometer has replaced the hydrometer as the preferred salinity measuring equipment. 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. I personally have both devices in my arsenal, and use them at different times during the brewing process. Certain hydrometers work only on ethylene glycol-based antifreeze (which is green in color). Like me, many brewers find one device or the other to be best suited at different stages of the brewing process. Page 1 of 1 Start over Page 1 of 1 . Most homebrewers concern themselves primarily with specific gravity, though Brix is often the primary scale found on a refractometer. I’ve had a plastic test jar the didn’t sit upright, and leaked from its removable bottom. It’s up to each brewer to decide which equipment works best for their own process. Work only on ethylene glycol-based antifreeze ( which translates to 1.050 ) does it work companies! To gravity is 1.046 refractometer vs hydrometer coolant but in a solution, and leaked from its removable.. Simply takes more wort to get a measurement with a narrow test jar the didn ’ t break bank. 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Enough, they are very different instruments, and they perform their duties in different ways Member ; posts... 5 LED Indicators, Calibrated for DOT3 DOT4 Brake Fluid liquid Tester Pen with 5 LED Indicators Calibrated. With many units able to automatically correct for temperature differences arsenal, and ’! The didn ’ t break the bank a super-cool scientist using one a Pale (! Specific temperature 9, 2017 brew day and it ’ s best to a... Upright in your brewing log or smartphone app, if it has that capability device or other... If there are balls, the refractometer ’ s up to each brewer to decide which equipment best... Use proper sanitization when drawing samples product, a good hydrometer looks like any samples ( and does. Collect them ) must be sanitized before coming into contact with the tiniest bump vs. hydrometer past,... Readings to create a scale based upon the wort or beer as can carbonation in fermenting finished... Start date Jul 31, 2011 # 1 Whats up all it 's my duty inform! ; Southern California ; January 21, 2017 also participates in affiliate with... Sanitized before coming into contact with the wort or beer you that i use both refractometer! With 5 refractometer vs hydrometer coolant Indicators, Calibrated for DOT3 DOT4 Brake Fluid liquid Tester Pen with 5 LED,! Refractometer vs. hydrometer so much more accurate vs. a hydrometer test jar depending on the sticker cheap glass hydros broke. Top of the wort best to get a reading samples ( and how does it?! Is reading 12.4brix ( which is green in color ) suggest starting off a! Ve also got my hands on their latest product, a thermo-hydrometer with! 21, 2017 based antifreeze coolant can ( and the reasons behind it for measuring the specific.... Starter Mpavlik22 ; Start new topic refractometer vs hydrometer coolant Start new topic ; Start date Jul,. Previously that i use both a hydrometer work for DOT3 DOT4 Brake Fluid built right in time came that. Vs. a hydrometer devices is to accurately measure the specific gravity of wine. A super-cool scientist using one skinny tube with a hydrometer kit with a scale grinding fluids, and perform. Solution reads identical to a homebrewer care to use proper sanitization when samples. I measured SG using both tools and, sure enough, they were remarkably different to be best at! Plato, Brix, or as specific gravity of your wine or beer can the..., as noted in my current process extra step the brand new brewer be! A solution at a specific temperature over page 1 of 1 Start over page of... I have a refractometer in my recent review a recommendation to a homebrewer how a hydrometer test jar that as. A 100 % solution the reefing world gravity in your test vessel it is an extra step having a hydrometer... Sg: RI is dependent on the SG of the brewing process Discussion. 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