I got a hydrometer but it did not come with a test tube for the sample to put it in.Any ideas on what to use without having to take to much beer out of the carboy.No I don’t have a beer thief i was just going to use my auto siphon to take a sample.
I will probably get crucified for this but it is okay to just use the tube the hydrometer came in. fill it up with beer & drop the hydrometer in. Make sure there are no bubbles in the tube. Make sure you hold the tube level and keep the hydrometer from touching the sides of the tube. It is a bit of a balancing act but you get the hang of it very quickly. It only takes about 1/2 a cup of beer to fill the tube. I have never had a problem and feel I get perfectly accurate readings.
If you are concerned about losing the little bit of volume of beer then why not get a Thief? Sanitize it and then you can safely return the sample back to the primary.
The plastic tube your hydrometer came in is meant to be your sample tube. Some of the tubes even come with a base for standing upright. Do not return a sample back to the primary. This is for tasting, after SG reading. Saving 1/2 cup of beer is not worth the risk of contaminating the entire primary volume.
When I first started brewing I used the tube the hydrometer came in. It served its purpose fine until one day I got in a hurry, took out wort that was still warm thinking I would let the sample cool and test it later. Was too hot and made the sides of the tube weak and all screwed up. Now I store my hydrometer in the fancy test jar I had to replace the original tube with.
Turkey basters are cheap and do the same thing as beer thieves. Just make sure it’s sterilized.
I use a turkey baster to remove liquid and then place it in a graduated cylinder I got from work. Set the hydrometer in and that’s it!