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Inline Hydrometer Housing

I was curious if anyone that fly sparges has tried fashioning an inline hydrometer. I have some scrap polycarbonate tubing that I might take the tap and die set to. The basic premise would be this:

The top is open. There would be two ball valves, one between the mash tun and the housing and one between the housing and the kettle. The former would be opened fully upon sparging, while the latter controls the rate of the drain. The idea being that the height of the wort in the housing would match the liquid level in the mash tun, but would be constantly refreshed.

The added benefit would be that you could see the level in the tun, without opening it, and marking it at the beginning of the sparge would let you know if your rates match.

Am I missing something obvious?

I’m wondering if the sugars would diffuse quickly enough to give an accurate reading. I know that before recirculating I can get slightly different gravities by pulling samples from different locations in the tun.

Also, a refractometer is a pretty obvious solution. :wink:

[quote]

Also, a refractometer is a pretty obvious solution.[/quote]
+1

I’m in the midst of adding a HERMS coil and plan on constantly recirculating, so I would imagine the sugars would be pretty even up to the sparge. After that point, I’m not sure.

The refractometer is a reasonable and easy alternative, but this grew out of the idea of a sight glass on my mash tun to gauge level. Then it occurred to me that I could stick a hydrometer in there if the wort flowed out through it. The geek in me finds this one more fun, too.

If you’re going to go to the trouble, do a grant and buy a refractometer. I have a friend who is a pro brewer, and this is what he does on his system. Just dip the refractometer in the grant during the sparge and get a quick reading. Easy, and you get the benefits of a grant.

i have a feeling refractometer is the way to go

the temperature variations while sparging would make the parrot style hydrometer thing REALLY hard to accurately calculate

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