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EBCornell
10-01-2008, 04:32 PM
So I finally got a hydrometer yesterday and was able to take my first reading. Which of course lead to a question or 5.
Firstly, how often do you all recommend taking readings? I'm worried that if I take too many I won't have anything left in the carboy to bottle when this is all through...
(or am I really supposed to return the sample to the carboy?)

skunkboy
10-01-2008, 05:47 PM
You generally don't want to try and return the sample to carboy.

liff
10-01-2008, 06:07 PM
Different people, different styles.

I read twice a day through the 1/3rd sugar break and when bottleing. I float the hydrometer in the must, so no sample is taken out.

The way I see it is that glass is very easy to sanitize, so I can sanitize the hydrometer just as I sanitize my aerating spoon. But the plastic spoon is more difficult to get the same level of sanitization because it is plastic. So I am very not worried about floating the glass hydrometer in the must.

Some people like to remove samples because they taste the progress. I generally do not do this.

Either way works, it just depends on your style.

Liff

Medsen Fey
10-01-2008, 07:13 PM
I usually will check once a day until the 1/3 sugar break. After that, I'm generally too lazy (or tired :sleepy2:) to keep checking. When it stops bubbling I'll make sure it is finished (and not stuck). Sometimes I take the sample out for tasting. Sometimes I leave it in. I am finding that I get the best results when I do as much "nothing" as possible.

paulh
10-02-2008, 06:32 PM
Primary in a plastic bucket.

wayneb
10-03-2008, 12:34 PM
I'll do two readings per day in primary until I get to the 1/3 break - then generally one per day until the rate of fermentation slows. When I'm doing a traditional mead I'll just stick the hydrometer directly into my bucket. When I'm doing a melomel that has a fruit cap, I'll draw out a sample with a wine thief and test that. Generally with melomels I have enough extra in the primary bucket that I'm not worried about losing too much to "spillage" samples. ;) Besides, I like to taste how things are progressing with my melomels. :drunken_smilie:

Odinsson
10-03-2008, 08:08 PM
I checked it once a day up to the 1/3 sugar break, but then spent a couple of days away from home with my gf and didn't take one till the other day when fermenting had about stopped. While I think it would be easier in a fermenting bucket, I haven't used one yet, I've always been worried about breaking my hydrometer in the mead so I haven't put it into the carboy. They just seem so frail, and while they are not expensive themselves, all the contents of a carboy adds up fast. I have been looking at refractometers recently and they one take a few drops, they say, to read the gravity; so if your making a small batch taking too many readings does take a lot of mead.

Medsen Fey
10-03-2008, 08:56 PM
so if your making a small batch taking too many readings does take a lot of mead.


Ergo, making small batches is depressing :sad10: (and should be avoided)!

I routinely use a refractometer. It is faster and easier, but you do have to use a calculator/spreadsheet to make the conversions once fermentation has commenced and alcohol (which throws off the readings) is in the mix.

Odinsson
10-03-2008, 09:57 PM
so if your making a small batch taking too many readings does take a lot of mead.


Ergo, making small batches is depressing :sad10: (and should be avoided)!

I routinely use a refractometer. It is faster and easier, but you do have to use a calculator/spreadsheet to make the conversions once fermentation has commenced and alcohol (which throws off the readings) is in the mix.


Having to do all of that does make it seem even less worth the $60 for it. And if your experiementing with a recipe small batches are way cheaper then making something that tastes horrid or messes up.

skunkboy
10-04-2008, 09:44 PM
so if your making a small batch taking too many readings does take a lot of mead.


Ergo, making small batches is depressing :sad10: (and should be avoided)!

I routinely use a refractometer. It is faster and easier, but you do have to use a calculator/spreadsheet to make the conversions once fermentation has commenced and alcohol (which throws off the readings) is in the mix.


Or just only take an Original Gravity reading and a Final Gravity reading with small (1 gallon) batches. While they take more effort per volume that a larger batch, they are a great way to test ingredients and ideas that would be overly expensive with a larger batch.