Hydrometer for people with bad eyesight

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MikeG
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Re: Hydrometer for people with bad eyesight

Post by MikeG » Mon Aug 12, 2019 10:24 am

I use a magnifying glass

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Re: Hydrometer for people with bad eyesight

Post by Kingfisher4 » Mon Aug 12, 2019 10:38 am

The large-scale hydrometer seemed like an excellent idea until I realised that the volume of beer wasted every time it was sampled was probably about 250 mls. in the Maltmiller sample tube sold with it.

My most recent hydrometer problem is I think due to recent inclusion of a small amount of wheat Molt in several of my recipes. The head on the fermenting wort is so long-lasting, that it is difficult to read the hydrometer. Has anyone else come across this and found a solution?

It becomes less problematic at later stages of fermentation, approaching final gravity, but keeping track of progress is more difficult.

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Re: Hydrometer for people with bad eyesight

Post by orlando » Mon Aug 12, 2019 5:25 pm

Kingfisher4 wrote:
Mon Aug 12, 2019 10:38 am
The head on the fermenting wort is so long-lasting, that it is difficult to read the hydrometer. Has anyone else come across this and found a solution?
Leave it for an hour and come back to it later. If this tries your patience then spin the hydrometer to diffuse dissolved oxygen then lift the hydrometer out, some foam will come out with it, wipe and repeat.
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Re: Hydrometer for people with bad eyesight

Post by Kingfisher4 » Wed Aug 14, 2019 10:43 am

orlando wrote:
Mon Aug 12, 2019 5:25 pm

Leave it for an hour and come back to it later. If this tries your patience then spin the hydrometer to diffuse dissolved oxygen then lift the hydrometer out, some foam will come out with it, wipe and repeat.
Thanks Orlando, I had tried this trick already. I even left it overnight and there was still lots of residual head with the ongoing active fermentation I guess, as the ambient temperature is 22° in the room. I’ve just accepted that as fermentation slows, my readings will become more accurate.

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Re: Hydrometer for people with bad eyesight

Post by orlando » Wed Aug 14, 2019 11:19 am

I looked back on this thread and there are some illuminating comments. Kev's point about consistency is an interesting one. Anyone who is brewing the same Beer on a regular basis, using identical ingredients, will want to know everything is on track. I like to experiment with different yeasts so using an hydrometer regularly through the fermentation gives me benchmarks for future brews. Harvesting yeast and reusing over a few genertaions is another case in point. When I see the fermentation characteristics are changing and can indicate this generation of yeast needs ""retiring.
I am "The Little Red Brooster"

Fermenting: I Am A Patriot (Lacons Patriot clone)
Conditioning:
Drinking: From Russia With Love (RIS), Peaches, Reasons To Be Beerful, Someone, Somewhere, In Summertime

Up Next: Twist & Stout, Reasons To Be Beerful (Part Two)
Planning: Autumn drinking Beer.

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Re: Hydrometer for people with bad eyesight

Post by MTW » Wed Aug 14, 2019 1:21 pm

I just read this thread with interest, and hope I haven't missed someone saying this before:

If you can get hold of a decent finishing hydrometer that goes up to 1.020 over a more readable scale, then you can dilute your samples above 1.020, and factor that into the reading. I have tried this with my old £10 Hop and Grape one, which goes from 0.985 to 1.020 over 6cm. That's about 1.7mm per point, rather than the 0.5mm per point I get on my cheap homebrew jobby.

In a standard homebrew sample jar, add 20ml from the FV, then 60ml of water (all at 20C), take a reading and multiply your result by 4.
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Re: Hydrometer for people with bad eyesight

Post by Kev888 » Wed Aug 14, 2019 3:24 pm

I like the dilution idea, of course that is another thing to measure accurately (or cock up!) but I would have thought easy enough to do with a little care.
Kev

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Re: Hydrometer for people with bad eyesight

Post by Kev888 » Wed Aug 14, 2019 3:31 pm

Kingfisher4 wrote:
Mon Aug 12, 2019 10:38 am
The large-scale hydrometer seemed like an excellent idea until I realised that the volume of beer wasted every time it was sampled was probably about 250 mls. in the Maltmiller sample tube sold with it.

My most recent hydrometer problem is I think due to recent inclusion of a small amount of wheat Molt in several of my recipes. The head on the fermenting wort is so long-lasting, that it is difficult to read the hydrometer. Has anyone else come across this and found a solution?

It becomes less problematic at later stages of fermentation, approaching final gravity, but keeping track of progress is more difficult.
I can't recall how much wort is needed with the malt miller's hydrometer and trial jar, but FWIW it is rather less than the capacity of the jar because the bulb of the hydrometer is quite big and takes up a reasonable amount of the jar's capacity.

If there are too many bubbles in the wort for the spinning trick to work, you can collect your sample first in a plastic bottle and shake it gently to expel the gas before pouring into the trial jar; usually I let the foam collapse back first unless it is too stubborn.

If you get too many bubbles on the surface of the wort to read the hydrometer, then over-fill the trial jar (obviously stand it in something to catch the overflow); the surface bubbles will float off and away. This uses a tad more wort, but obviously there is little point doing it to begin with if you can't get a decent reading; it has the added bonus of not having to peer through the jar's side to take the reading.
Kev

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Re: Hydrometer for people with bad eyesight

Post by chastuck » Wed Aug 14, 2019 4:26 pm

Kev888 wrote:
Wed Aug 14, 2019 3:31 pm
Kingfisher4 wrote:
Mon Aug 12, 2019 10:38 am
The large-scale hydrometer seemed like an excellent idea until I realised that the volume of beer wasted every time it was sampled was probably about 250 mls. in the Maltmiller sample tube sold with it.

My most recent hydrometer problem is I think due to recent inclusion of a small amount of wheat Molt in several of my recipes. The head on the fermenting wort is so long-lasting, that it is difficult to read the hydrometer. Has anyone else come across this and found a solution?

It becomes less problematic at later stages of fermentation, approaching final gravity, but keeping track of progress is more difficult.
I can't recall how much wort is needed with the malt miller's hydrometer and trial jar, but FWIW it is rather less than the capacity of the jar because the bulb of the hydrometer is quite big and takes up a reasonable amount of the jar's capacity.

If there are too many bubbles in the wort for the spinning trick to work, you can collect your sample first in a plastic bottle and shake it gently to expel the gas before pouring into the trial jar; usually I let the foam collapse back first unless it is too stubborn.

If you get too many bubbles on the surface of the wort to read the hydrometer, then over-fill the trial jar (obviously stand it in something to catch the overflow); the surface bubbles will float off and away. This uses a tad more wort, but obviously there is little point doing it to begin with if you can't get a decent reading; it has the added bonus of not having to peer through the jar's side to take the reading.
The Maltmiller jar needs about 200ml for a good read with their large scale hydrometer. The dilution idea is great - can't think why I never thought of it! Personally, when compiling my recipes I always make an extra litre above desired packaging volume to allow for 4 or 5 hydrometer readings during the course of the fermentation. These samples are not really wasted as you can taste the beers progress on the way.

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Re: Hydrometer for people with bad eyesight

Post by MTW » Wed Aug 14, 2019 5:25 pm

Kev888 wrote:
Wed Aug 14, 2019 3:24 pm
I like the dilution idea, of course that is another thing to measure accurately (or cock up!) but I would have thought easy enough to do with a little care.
Absolutely. My thinking is that any method short of a large jar and long Stevenson hydrometer is going to have a reasonable margin of error, but at least this way I'm using a better tool for the job. Any error in a typical OG reading [taken for a 1:3 diluted sample] will be multiplied 4 fold of course, but that reading is so much easier, aided by my finishing hydrometer not leaning over in the jar like the thinner cheap ones do, caught up in the surface tension, as well as the 3x larger scale. It is a Stevenson btw, but not a massive £80 one!

I've played around with the idea by placing the jar on the accurate scales I use for tiny amounts of salt. Probably over engineering it a bit, but I prefer to measure by weight where possible.

Both my hydrometers match in the sub 1.020 area, though the cheap one seems to edge away from what it 'should' read in the higher end above 1.040, calculated by dilution and when tested with sugar/water concoctions. So much so, that I'm tempted to start recording OGs from a diluted sample with my finishing hydrometer, despite having 20/20 vision!
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Re: Hydrometer for people with bad eyesight

Post by guypettigrew » Wed Aug 14, 2019 7:37 pm

What about just using a refractometer? 0.5 ml will give you an accurate reading.

Apologies if I've missed the whole point of this thread.

Guy

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