Take Care With Hydrometer Readings

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I just completed brewing an all-grain batch of a beer that the recipe
said would read out at 1.070 for OG.  Well, I thought I'd take a
sample from the still-hot wort before cooling.  My reading tube needs
about 2/3 cup to accommodate the hydrometer and allow it to float.  I
immersed a ladle in the boiling wort, but it was resting on the
immersion chiller I had already placed in the kettle to be sterilized,
hence was just under the very top of the wort.  After shutting off the
heat, I measured out 1/3 cup, and carefully added another 1/3 cup
water.  I then put the measuring cup with the diluted sample in the
freezer to get the temp down closer to room temp.  When it was about
70 farenheit, I took a reading.  1.030, which owing to the one-to-one
dilution was doubled for an actual read of 1.060.  Now I don't mind
being off by 2 or 3 points, but 10 points short told me something
screwed up my read.  I don't like to have to take a reading directly
in the primary fermenter, but I really needed to know if my mash was
uncharacteristically inefficient, or if my reading was off.  I
sanitized my hydrometer, took the lid off the primary, and let her
float.  Now I got 1.069.  Much better.  The conclusion I drew was that
the sample from the top of the wort was weak owing to the heavier
extract settling to the bottom.  Next time I'll stir the wort before
taking the sample.  Passing this on to save others from making the
same mistake.

Re: Take Care With Hydrometer Readings
Its funny, I was thinking my Maple Wheat was low too, came out 1.05 instead
of 1.08. But given your story I think I may have made the same mistake.
Thanks for sharing!
A week in the Primary and now 10 days in the secondary and she's still
making bubbles. (65F). My first wheat, so I'm pretty anxious to see how it
turns out.


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Re: Take Care With Hydrometer Readings
Dan, I've never done a wheat, so can't comment on why your
fermentation is taking so long.  I doubt, however, that you made the
same mistake I did.  In your case, the extract has almost all been
fermented, and everything in the fermenter should be well mixed by
that process.  What I did wrong was to take a sample from the top of
the wort in the kettle, in which case the more concentrated stuff had
settled to the bottom.  Also, if you're getting a reading below 1.010,
the fermentation must be pretty thorough.  My beers typically finish
out at between 1.015 and 1.020, due to the non-fermentables in the
wort.  I'd be interested to know what temp you're at and what yeast
you used.  Also, how long after pitching did you get active
fermentation?


wrote:

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Re: Take Care With Hydrometer Readings
I bottled it up last night, finished about 1.02, in the primary it fermented
for about 7days, given the busy time of the year I moved it to the secondary
to hold until I could get around to bottling and it started fermenting
again, not madly, but evident by some occational bubbling in the airlock and
some tiny bubbles rising to the top of the carboy.
temp was about 65 and used a bavarian wheat yeast (dont have the name number
in front of me).

This was my second all grain attempt, my first went so well, this one not so
much.
My extraction was not ideal, my strike temps were a little low, every batch
is a lesson learned I suppose.

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