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Refractometer - Beersmith

I just got a refractometer and love it so far. Never before have I check my first/last running. I usually just do post boil-OG. I have the one northern brewer sells, brix only scale. Whats the scale though. there are 3 lines between each number. .333? So if to the naked eye it is 9 and then three little lines up is it 9.99 Brix SG = 1.040 I calibrated it with distilled water at room temp-70 degrees. I have not calibrated it with wort. I just got it and brewed and am slightly confused now that I have all the numbers down. The mash was 8.25 pounds.

First running 14.99? = 1.061 SG

Last running 3 = 1.012 SG (beersmith estimated 1.010)

pre boil 9.99? = 1.040 (beersmith estimated 1.034) if you add the two and divide by two it is 1.036

OG 10.99 = 1.044 Berrsmith estimated 1.040) I can understand most of this with a high efficiency.

The 1.044 reading is one I took from the top of the fermenter after I cooled it. I took a sample during boil on a spoon and cooled it and got 11.99 = 1.048 what gives. Am I using this completely wrong? Calibrated wrong? I notice slight difference between how much liquid is between the glass and plastic flap.

When you took a sample with the spoon how cool did you get it?

I can only think of two things first it was still to hot above what the ATC max is that it can accurately read or you didn’t get a good reading when you placed it on the glass and closed the flap. I always give it a light press to make sure it’s spread out evenly.

I always double check my gravity before I pitch the yeast with a hydrometer just a habit I have.

If there are three lines between the whole numbers then the increment is 0.25.

I think mine has increments at 0.20. But I will have to look when I get home.

It’s best to take a hot sample in something to avoid evaporation and sample concentraion. For example, I take samples in a 10 mL glass tube with screw cap and run under cold water to cool it. I suspect some of your sample evaporated while it cooled on the spoon, concentrating the sugar.

I take a small sample and place it in a measuring cup then place the cup into a bowl of ice water to cool it down to around 80 deg.

.25 increments make a lot of sense must of just been flustered and being a idiot. I took a sample with a 1/2 cup stainless steel measuring spoon. Immediately put it in the freezer for about two minutes. Dumped the sample between two cups to insure its mixture. Then took a eye dropper sample. Ran the bulb filled with wort under cold water and checked. The second sample I’m worried stratification happened so I got a low sample but 1.048 seems unreasonably high. Guess I’ll just write it down at 1.043 for the 9.75 brix. Make sure to push the plastic flap down all the way on the sample next time. Pre boil was 1.039 I boiled off about 3/4 a gallon.

Even with the technical equipment a little of the RDWHAHB applies, in that if a particular reading is off, just don’t sweat it. The OG is pretty much the important readiing and you can take that from the cooled sample after chilling. I have had interim numbers throw me off wondering and I just chalk it up to sampling issues (anything from too hot of a sample, evaporation, or just stratification that gave me a bad sample). For what it is worth, lately I have not hit my OG’s at all, nor my FG’s. Instead, I have had lower OG’s and lower FG’s and my beers have been tremendous. I have calibrated all of my hydrometers and my refractometer and they are spot on - my thermometers on the other hand were the culprit…still, all in all, just spectacular beers.

Just my 2 lincolns, and I know the tech guys out there may disagree, but at some point, you just use your tools to get as close as that batch allows.


Ynotbrusum- I agree I was just wondering because I do geek out on the hobby. I agree it is always great beer and my recipes are my recipes so recreating someone elses work has never been a issue. Back before I measured anything- just trusted EZ water calc. And other tools. I had a hell of a time figuring my measuring out when I did start. I was getting low OG and higher attenuation then expected that was overall resulting in a almost spot on ABV. Boil off was the biggest problem. But I checked my thermometer and hydrometer in the process.

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