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Thread: Hydrometer question (trying a second time) :/

  1. #1

    Default Hydrometer question (trying a second time) :/

    Tried posting this last night but not sure if it posted or not, keeping it short this time. New mead to the craft, made two separate one gallon batches of traditional mead. Didn't have a hydrometer for OG, rookie mistake, got one now. My question is how to take a reading without losing a decent amount of the must? In order to get multiple readings I fear I will be using a solid amount of must leaving me short on must. My understanding is that I can't return the the tested must to the fermentation bucket/carboy, is this true? My brother in law suggested just putting the hydrometer directly in the carboy, does this work? Sorry if this posts twice or has been answered already, couldn't find it when I searched.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Spain, Europe


    Welcome to the forums, McCollum!

    A hydrometer is a valuable tool. But it would be pointless if you had to throw the must to use it. You can let it go inside the bucket without problem (just make sure its clean!) as long as you can retrieve it later (if you cant well no problem for the mead there, but maybe for you since you'll be screwed). Alternatively put some must in a tall vessel and use the hydrometer there, and then returning the mead to the bucket/carboy. Make sure the glass or wherever you put the must is clean, and when you are done make sure to wash the hydrometer, dry it well and store it again (the less you touch it with you hands the better. i wash mine with water and dry it with a paper without touching it directly, not too complicated, and that way i dont have to clean it again when im going to use it). Be careful since they break easily.

    As rule of thumb here, dont put anything dirty in your must (or your must in anything dirty!), nor anything that was in contact with dirty things. As long as your hydrometer and company are well washed you are fine. Also consider buying a 100ml probete and a funnel. the probetes are high enough for most hydrometers and the low volume makes them easy to fill, and if you buy plastic, cleaning them is extremely easy, and they are cheap, and wont break the hydrometer. But thats just a personal recommendation.

    Another person recently had problems using his hydrometer, and people gave great answers on how one works, so in case you are interested, here it is

    Hope this helped

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Saratoga Springs , NY


    Hi McCollum83 - and welcome.
    Brewers (making beer) are averse to returning their samples to the carboy because of their fear of bacterial infections. With honey or fruit the likelihood of such infections - as long as you use good sanitation protocol (eg use K-meta at santizing concentrations) - is very , very small, (grain wort is susceptible to bacterial infection in ways that honey and fruit is not) so most mead makers (and wine makers) have no real anxiety about taking a sample, measuring the gravity and returning the sample to the carboy or fermenter.
    That said, you can - if your carboy is tall enough (and filled enough) simply place your hydrometer in the carboy or fermenter or you can buy a cylinder for the hydrometer or simply use a wine thief if the diameter of the thief is large enough to hold the hydrometer.

  4. #4


    Yeah my hydrometer came with a 300 mL cylinder, I just wasn't sure if I could return the must from the cylinder to the fermentation bucket/carboy, assuming of course I properly sanitize everything. As I've been reading through mass quantities of information, I could have sworn that somewhere I read not to return it. If I am able to return it then problem solved. My other option, of course was to just up my quantity and go 3 or 5 gallon batches 😉. Thanks for the input, my in laws own a vineyard and make wine, but no one has ever tried mead so I figured I'd give it a shot. Just trying to learn as much as I can.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2015


    With everything clean and sanitized - the wine thief (turkey baster), hydrometer, test cylinder - I always put the test sample back in. Especially with small batches. Oh - the funnel needs to be clean too.
    Dave from New Haven County

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