refractometers

Reviews on equipment, chemicals, kits, etc.

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Jensen
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refractometers

#1 Post by Jensen » Mon Feb 20, 2006 11:13 pm

Whoa, how cool. How about sharing tips on using, handling, and care of these instruments.

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Blktre
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#2 Post by Blktre » Wed Feb 22, 2006 12:31 pm

Ive used a refractometer now for around 3 years and have found it to be a great simple tool for brewing AG batches. My tips would be to use it to monitor runnings from your mash. You need to do this so when sparging you do not go below a certian gravity where it would be possible to extract tannins. This gravity would be around 1.008-1.010 or about 2 brix which the refractometer will read in. Not sure how to convert brix to SG, then a quick way is to take your brix reading and multiply by 4. Or you can look up a conversion chart on the net and keep a copy of that handy on brewday.
What makes these things great is a few drops of wert coming from the MT is all you need. And if you buy a ATC version, the temp. is already corrected for you. No more grabbing large hydro samples and letting them cool or converting a SG reading for temp.
I also use mine to take a reading on the entire preboil volume. This reading will be made before any hop addition. This info is handy so you can determine when and how much of a bittering hop addition is needed. This relates to the BU:GU ratio (Bittering Unit-Gravity Unit). This is obviously the ratio between hop bitterness and total gravity of the beer.
As far as cleaning goes, i just keep a wet towel to wipe away any wert on the prizm then dry that off so its ready for the next reading. That simple.
Before you use you refractometer for the first time, you will need to "Zero" it in. All you need here is a drop or two of some distilled water and turn the calibrating screw so it reads "Zero" brix.....handy little tool!!
Just call me Andy!

Lupulin Threshold Shift
lupulin threshold shift \lu·pu·lin thresh·old shift\ n
1. When a once extraordinarily hoppy beer now seems pedestrian.
2. The phenomenon a person has when craving more bitterness in beer.
3. The long-term exposure to extremely hoppy beers; if excessive or prolonged, a habitual dependence on hops will occur.
4. When a "Double IPA" just is not enough

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Jensen
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#3 Post by Jensen » Thu Feb 23, 2006 6:41 pm

Awesome, overview of the refractometer. Thanks so much. I actually just got one a few months ago after seeing you and a few others using them at Joe's backyard big-brew, and am a huge fan. It really does save a Lot of time. I am a little unsure and need to learn more about the BU:GU on my pre boil levels. I just kind of go on the original recipe I come up with and follow that, as opposed to on the fly adjustments that can seem to crop up on any brew session. Off to the books... Thanks again!

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Blktre
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#4 Post by Blktre » Thu Feb 23, 2006 9:39 pm

Jensen wrote:Awesome, overview of the refractometer. Thanks so much. I actually just got one a few months ago after seeing you and a few others using them at Joe's backyard big-brew, and am a huge fan. It really does save a Lot of time. I am a little unsure and need to learn more about the BU:GU on my pre boil levels. I just kind of go on the original recipe I come up with and follow that, as opposed to on the fly adjustments that can seem to crop up on any brew session. Off to the books... Thanks again!
Im not really sure if it makes a huge difference or not on the BU:GU ratio when actually following a set recipe or not. My effeciency is always higher than a set recipe so that means i need to adjust for bittering hops. I do use Promash for these adjustments, but have found that i brew on a whim and its easier to just check it on a preboil reading during my brew session. Also, its nice to use it to help in the "I just have to know if its right" mentality during a session. Again, not sure if it really makes that much of a difference or not, but checking a prehop addition brix has become habit for me. Seems to be working becasue my beers have always turned out very balanced in the malt/hop profile. I read Designing Great Beers by Ray Daniels and he really goes into detail about this if your interested in the read......
Just call me Andy!

Lupulin Threshold Shift
lupulin threshold shift \lu·pu·lin thresh·old shift\ n
1. When a once extraordinarily hoppy beer now seems pedestrian.
2. The phenomenon a person has when craving more bitterness in beer.
3. The long-term exposure to extremely hoppy beers; if excessive or prolonged, a habitual dependence on hops will occur.
4. When a "Double IPA" just is not enough

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Jensen
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Posts: 1285
Joined: Mon Feb 13, 2006 10:58 pm
Location: Lawrence, ks

#5 Post by Jensen » Sat Feb 25, 2006 7:50 pm

Big fan of the Ray Daniels book, almost a bible of the craft for me... and Promash, is there a better program for the homebrewer? Hmmm.... sounds like another title heading for people to chime in on!

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