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Thread: Broke My Hydrometer

  1. Default Broke My Hydrometer

    This is why I can't have nice things:

    Was planning to step up my game and graduate from JAO to BOMM and do everything just right, by the book. I had my yeast smacked for several hours and it was time to sanitize everything and get started.

    Then I broke my hydrometer. No turning back now because the yeast was ready to pitch. I followed the recipe, but I have no starting gravity in order to determine my 1/3 & 2/3 sugar breaks. By time the brew shop opens on Tuesday it will be way too late.

    The room temperature where I am brewing is about 70 degrees. Can anyone give me an estimate of the timing of the sugar breaks?


  2. Default

    Do you have any records of previous brews in your brew log to compare it?

  3. #3


    All is not lost.

    Try to just judge by how quickly the fermentation goes. But ~24-48hrs after pitch for the first addition, ~72-96hrs for the second.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Spain, Europe


    Yeah that happened to me too...twice. when i was brewing hydrometerless i just divided my adittions in 5 and add them at 0h 24h 48 etc. Some good mazers do this too so its not to crazy (i remember reading Schramm using 5 additions a few times i think). As long as you see the ferment going you can do this. Use 5 adittions if the ferment is medium speed/you expect high ABV or 4 of its fast/the sg is low (you should know more or less by the ammount)

  5. #5


    I use Lalvin yeast with TOSNA which dictates 24,48,72 for first 3 additions. 4th addition at 1/3sugar break or 1 week whichever comes first.
    It seems TOSNA is better with a broken hydrometer if you use lalvin yeast.

    Try out lalvin yeast sometime.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2017
    Buffalo, NY USA

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    Default Broke My Hydrometer

    I would follow TOSNA and prob pitch fourth feed on day 5, day 7 the latest.
    …fermentation and plant use – as medicine, as psychotropics, as teachers, as companions on our life path – are an inescapable part of our exploration of what it means to be human; that, in fact, our humanness (as we now understand it) could not have occurred without the gift of fermentation or plants.
    ~ Stephen Harrod Buhner

  7. Default

    I forgot to mention that this is the recipe I am using:


  8. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by philodice View Post
    Do you have any records of previous brews in your brew log to compare it?
    No. I have only made variations of JAO up until now.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    Birmingham, AL


    I remember seeing an unbreakable plastic hydrometer on one of the online homebrew sites a month or two ago.

  10. Default

    I bet I could break it.
    I just did a degas/aeration. The fermentation is really progressing well, or appears to be.

  11. Default

    Update: Without a hydrometer, I followed the instructions of Canadian Sasquatch on YouTube. On the 7th day I tasted it and thought it tasted hot, so I put it in the fridge for a week prior to stabilization.

    Today makes two weeks since pitch. I racked it into a carboy for stabilization and further aging. Took a little out to taste and was surprised to find that it tastes pretty good! It was dry, but not harsh at all. Passed it around to my wife and daughters and they all liked it.

    I was thinking of adding a little sugar or a vanilla bean, but everyone insisted that I not alter it. I'm calling it a success.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2015
    SE Texas

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    I learned the hard way to always have a spare hydrometer. They never break during business hours
    “Every loaf of bread is a tragic story of grains that could’ve become beer, but didn’t.” ~ Walter Thornburgh

    "I carry two magnums: One is a gun and I keep it loaded. The other is a bottle and it keeps me loaded." ~ Tracer Bullet (Calvin & Hobbes)

  13. #13


    Midwest Supplies/Northern Brewer have polycarbonate hydrometers for $10. I have a couple for general use, although I use real glass ones when I am looking for the ultimate in accuracy. What I really want is an affordable electronic one?
    You may see the stars but still not see the light!

    Storm1969 "when you know the rules, you are a tradesman, when you follow the rules you are a craftsman, when you know when to break the rules you are an artisan"!

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Bundoora, Melbourne, Australia


    Weigh it.
    You can measure a sample and weigh it. Be very accurate. 1 gravity is 1 kg/litre or 1 gram per millilitre.
    So if 10ml weighs 11.2 grams then SG is 1.120
    Mae'r teithiau golau ceffyl eto

  15. #15


    Great advice Hamish! Boil SG down to what it truly is. A ratio of weight to volume. For shits and grins I've done this exercise before to convince myself I truly understood SG. Total geek stuff.

    Anyway, Ken, when you buy your next hydrometer buy three. I probably have five around the house for just these types of incidents.

    This weekend I was wishing I had a spare pH meter since mine went all haywire in the middle of adjusting with K-carb (1.5 year old Extech ph110). These are a bit more expensive to stock up on though.


    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G900A using Tapatalk

  16. Default

    You know, that's a great idea. Thanks!

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