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EBCornell
09-29-2008, 05:32 PM
Alright folks, tomorrow I'm heading to a nearby hardware store that's rumored to have a homebrew section. I already have a 1 gallon carboy with airlock, a capper, caps, 12 22oz bottles, 4 ft. of 3/8 tubing and a spring-tip bottle filler. I know that I definitely need a hydrometer and another 1 gallong carboy, but what other goodies should I be sure to pick up? I'm going to be starting to take regular hydrometer readings and I'll need to rack soon...

Medsen Fey
09-29-2008, 07:31 PM
My second favorite tool after a hydrometer is a pH meter: worth every penny, but you might find one cheaper on eBay.

I consider an auto siphon indispensable.

Obviously a 5-gallon bucket and carboy if you want to make batches big enough to age some. It takes the same amount of work to make a 1 gallon batch as it takes to make a 5 or 10 gallon batch as far as I am concerned, and you get a lot more mead to show for the effort.

Happy shopping!

Medsen

EBCornell
09-29-2008, 09:17 PM
Thanks for the input! What about a racking cane? How does that differ from a bottle filler? And how does one get a sample out of a carboy into a hydrometer? And it IS accepted practice to drink the sample after I get the reading, right?

wayneb
09-29-2008, 11:02 PM
A racking cane is just a stiff tube with a bend or a standoff at one end that keeps the lees from being sucked up when you use it as part of a siphon with the cane inserted down to near the bottom of your carboy. A bottle filler is a racking cane/siphon arrangement, with the addition of a (usually spring loaded) valve tube assembly at the end that you put into a bottle, so the liquid will only flow when the valve is pushed in -- that's usually when the valve tube is pushed down to the bottom of the bottle. An auto siphon is a self-priming pump built into a racking cane that starts the siphon action without you having to suck on the end of your racking tube (which is how we did it in the old days!). :tard:

You can siphon out a sample for hydrometer testing, but most people use something called a wine thief, which is just a stiff tube that you insert most of the way into your carboy, allowing the liquid to fill the tube, then with your thumb capping the top of the tube you can withdraw it and the liquid will stay in until you move your thumb away from the top opening of the thief.

And if you don't drink the sample that you've thieved from your carboy after checking the pH, then you're not a proper meadmaker IMHO! ;) :icon_thumright: