From the HBD Archive
Subject: Re: Reading SG from wort after it's in the Carboy?
Date: 1992-06-19 16:14:05 GMT

Kent Dalton <kentd@bach.ftcollinsco.NCR.COM> writes:
>So, does anyone have any sure fire methods for measuring SG when
>brewing malt extract recipes with glass? I want to minimize the risk
>of ruining a batch since that's why went to the trouble of
>switching, but I still want to know when I can bottle and how
>much alcohol my beers contain ....

Well, we've got a method, but I'm not sure it qualifies at "sure-fire."
We use a glass turkey baster to pull out enough beer to fill a test-tube,
which just fits the hydrometer. The baster has a rubber squeeze bulb
which can be disconnected from the glass tube for easy sterilization.
Most basters these days have plastic bodies (probably for safety reasons)
but you could sanitize them if you make sure the bulb separates.
I got mine at a garage sale (for 25 cents!) but it is vintage 1950's.
Make sure you squeeze the bulb before you stick the end into the carboy
to avoid forcefully blowing nasties into the headspace.
Of course, after all these precautions, sometimes the master brewer then
tosses the contents of the test-tube back into the carboy (heresy, I know,
but never a contaminated batch...). Oh, and another thing -- make sure
the extract/water is really well mixed up before taking readings. Hope
this helps...

Lynn B. Reid
Ralph M. Parsons Laboratory for Water Resources and Environmental Engineering
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02139
Internet/Bitnet: UUCP: mit-eddie!mit-athena!lbreid

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