From the HBD Archive
From: hplabs!hplms2!gatech!raven!rcd (Dick Dunn)
Subject: Volume vs. weight measurements (don't work)
Date: 1990-02-23 06:16:59 GMT

Mark Leone asked for volume->weight conversions, noting Charlie P's
approximation for grains. But grains are relatively easy (they're uniform;
they don't compact or settle too much; object size is small relative to
typical quantity), and even at that the best you can get is an
approximation. None of what Mark asked for have reliable conversions:

> - one ounce of whole hops

This is the worst; I can probably take an ounce that's been packed into a
volume of less than a cup and fluff it up to two cups or more.

> - one ounce pelletized hops

This tends not to work right because the volume you need is small relative
to the size of the pellets.

> - one pound of dry malt extract

This one tends to surprise people, since they don't think of sugar as
something that packs down. But dry malt is a fine powder; it behaves more
like flour. (Cooks are probably aware of the problems of measuring flour,
relative to sifting.) I did some measurements by pouring dry malt loosely
and gently into a container, noting volume, then tapping the container
gently until the malt stopped settling. Result: 20% decrease in volume!
This may not be enough to screw up a recipe, but it will certainly keep it
from being "right on" or repeatable.

Incidentally, the same effect (and about the same percentage) applies to
dextrose in its usual powdered form. It's a good argument for weighing
your priming sugar instead of using a volume measure.

(The pessimist will note that fine sugars, and malt in particular, are
quite hygroscopic--so weight measures don't work either! But the effect is
a lot less.)
Dick Dunn {ncar;ico;stcvax}!raven!rcd (303)494-0965
or rcd@raven.uucp

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