View Full Version : Measuring Gravity

04-08-2012, 10:17 PM

First, I would like to thank everyone for the answers they have provided on these forums. I have been able to find the answers to most of my questions by searching.

I need some assistance with measuring gravity. For cost effectiveness, I have been making 1 gallon batches to start out. As I try to refine my technique, I am having trouble taking gravity measurements to come up with sugar break points. Taking samples out to test wouldn't work, since eventually I wouldn't have anything left. The 1 gallon carboy doesn't seem deep enough. The hydrometer touches the bottom.

Anyone know of a small hydrometer designed for smaller batches? Or maybe another option? Maybe I am just overthinking it?

Thanks for any assistance you can provide.

04-08-2012, 10:22 PM
When I do a 1 gallon batch I pull the sample out into my hydrometer tube, take my reading and return the sample to the carboy. As long as everything is sanitized you'll be safe returning the sample. Oh and to answer your next question...Turkey baster is how I get the sample out.

04-08-2012, 10:44 PM
You can buy tiny hydrometers, though they can be hard to read and even harder to get back out of the carboy. (tie a string to the top!)

I've tried weighing the jug on a 5 kg scale, and that works pretty well. You should be able to search for at least a couple threads on using weight instead of measuring gravity. It's not very practical for large batches, but it works great for small ones.

04-09-2012, 02:47 AM
I also use a sanitised turkey baster to take the samples, then that goes into a 100ml test jar, which is tall enough to take a standard size hydrometer. And yes, I also return the sample to the ferment (but keep a small amount like about a tablespoon full - too taste and work out how it's developing).

You could also get yourself a "wine thief". It just needs to be of an appropriate size to go into the neck of a carboy/demi-john/jug. The hydrometer usually fits inside the thief and you can see what the reading is.

If you want to go for small hydrometers, I've got them from here (http://www.listermann.com/Store/Details.asp?ID=1187) and they seem fine, readable etc.....

Either way you will need to sanitise whatever you settle on. Standard hydrometer/test jar/turkey baster, or wine thief and hydrometer. The minor snag with using a small hydrometer thats's left in the brew, is that it needs sanitising to start with, but you can then get a build up with small amounts of bubbles, or foam, or fruit debris (pulp etc) on the hydrometer where it meets the surface of the liquid, making it hard to read. Plus you then have to be able to get it out the liquid or the empty container without breaking it........