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Accurately Measuring Volume

I’m curious how people ensure they’re accurately measuring volume. All I have with volume markings is a brewing bucket, a kettle, and a couple of liquid measuring cups (i.e., those used for cooking). Is the latter fairly reliable? If not, what is better?

The markings on the ale pails aren’t very accurate. I made measuring sticks for my pots with 1/2" cpvc pipe with caps glued on, add a gallon of water and marked with a Sharpie. If your pot has straight sides once you get 2 or 3 gallons marked you can just measure out the rest of the marks.

This pic doesn’t have the cap glued on the bottom, I didn’t have one at first and it was a pain to clean the inside of the pipe.

I use a stick as well, works great. Surprisingly my bucket was fairly accurate but that will very from supplier to supplier.

What did you use to measure out a gallon accurately?

And, how did you mark the dip stick? I tried doing that this weekend, and it’s hard to tell exactly where the water line is when looking in from the top of the kettle.

[quote=“ickyfoot”]What did you use to measure out a gallon accurately?[/quote]I used a measuring cup and filled a container with a gallon of water, marked it and went from there. Another option is to weigh it, a U.S. gallon weighs 8.35 lbs.

[quote=“ickyfoot”]And, how did you mark the dip stick?[/quote]That is tricky. I ended up gripping the pipe with my index finger pointing down and slid my hand down until the tip of my finger touched the water, once I hit it held my finger firm and pulled it up and marked it.

I have a one gallon calibrated pitcher to use. They sell them at better kitchen shops. Or you can use a one gallon milk or water jug, and pour and mark each gallon out on your fermenter.

I once used my 1 quart measuring cup to see how much water was in each of 6 one-gallon jugs of Acadia distilled water I had just bought. I discovered that every single one was off by 1 cup. Really aggravating!

I did this and marked everything with a sharpy. Then, during the next brew session, I filled up the kettle and all the marks were way off. I know because I used the same measuring cup to test the marks on the side of the kettle I used to set the dip stick marks. For the kettle, 8 quarts fills it up to 2 gallons, 16 quarts to 4 gallons, etc., pretty much on the money. The dip stick marks were off by quite a bit. D’oh!

Last night I used my measuring cup to fill it up and weighed the kettle at 5 gallons, 6 gallons, and at the pre-boil wort level of a recent brew session. The scale isn’t all that great, but still the weights / 8.34 more or less confirmed that the measuring cup and kettle are quite close.

I just used a one gallon spring water jug. Took the jug and put a quart of water in, then 2, then 3 then 4. Marked each quart with a marker so that the one gallon jug was marked in quarts. Then, used the gallon jug to fill my brew kettle and marked a “dip stick” at each gallon up to 4, then half gallon increments from 4-8 gallons (9.5 gallon kettle). The dip stick method works pretty slick once you have it marked out for your kettle, or a whatever. Also, if you have smaller amounts of something the gallon jug marked to quarts works well for that.

I use an aluminum straightedge (yardstick) and have a reference table in my brewing logbook that shows how many inches (as measured from the top of each vessel to the surface of the liquid) corresponds to gallons. I usually only need to measure strike and sparge water. Once the wort is in the boil kettle, I use my refractometer to track brix during the boil. If I hit my numbers pretty close going into the kettle, I usually don’t need to make any corrections.

That’s a great idea. Guess I’m gonna have to waste another 6.5 gallons of water in the near future :wink: .

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