From the HBD Archive
From: attmail!pisc2b!jnc@hplabs.HP.COM
Subject: Measuring Specific Gravity
Date: 1989-06-01 16:09:00 GMT

I'm a novice homebrewer whose got a couple of questions about
measuring the specific gravity of the brew. [As a preface, I'm *not*
worrying; my first batch -- a pale lager -- came out quite drinkable,
so I am able to relax and have a homebrew. Now for the questions:]

* Determining the SG of the batch involves grabbing a sample
and measuring its SG. I would think that since the mixture
is not uniform (for instance, the yeast and sugar settle),
the SG will be greatly affected by merely where one had
grabbed the sample. So the question: where is a good place
to take the sample? From the top of the brew? The middle?
The bottom? If not from the top, how do you get the sample
without contaminating the batch?

* I've read that bottling can happen when the SG stabilizes:
that is, when you obtain the same reading for 3 (or so)
consecutive days. Along similar lines of the above question,
how does one take these readings while maintaining the
sanitized environment? I am reluctant to open the fermenter,
especially if I can tell it's time to bottle when
fermentation stops.

* (This may be the issue underlying the above points.) Am I
being obsessive about cleanliness? Just how clean do you
need to make everything? On my first batch I used a bit of
household bleach and rinsed everything many, many times. I'm
wondering how much of this is necessary. I've read in this
digest varying opinions on this: everything from:

"Make all your equipment as clean as you possibly
can to eliminate the potential of nasties
developing."

to, at the other end of the spectrum:

"I ferment in a garbage can with a piece of plywood
for a cover".

I believe that somewhere between these extremes lies the
truth.

Any opinions? (We all got 'em. 8-)

In advance, I am indebted to your collective wisdom with hopes of
better brewing.

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