General Question

lapilofu's avatar

Where should I get a good hydrometer?

Asked by lapilofu (4325points) June 4th, 2011

I’m looking to measure the alcohol quantity of some of my fermented drinks. Is there much variation in quality of hydrometers? Where should I get one that won’t break? Do I need a tube to go with it?

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5 Answers

laureth's avatar

Pretty much any brewing supply store will sell them, and I’m not aware of any qualitative difference between them. (You may want to buy one that comes with information that will help you compare your start and end readings, so you can know how much alcohol was produced. Some don’t come with any information. Or, you can buy or download the information separately later.) Every one that I’ve seen is also glass, so I don’t think they’re unbreakable – you’ll just want to be very careful.

Whether or not you need a tube depends on your brewing setup. Basically, a hydrometer is something you drop into the liquid to see how high (or low) it floats. If you can easily reach into your container to grab the hydrometer out again, you do not need a tube. However, if you’re using something like a carboy, with a narrow neck, it might be hard to reach in there. ;) In that case, a tube allows you to use the hydrometer without having to put it right in your vessel.

Using the tube (and not dropping it right in the batch of hooch) also helps you avoid contaminating the whole thing with any nasty bugs that might ruin all your hard work (such as acetobacter, which will turn your alcohol into vinegar) if the sanitizing wash wasn’t 100% effective.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Get a refractometer there a several from cheap to expensive. This is an EXAMPLE.

Cruiser's avatar

You can get them at a home brew store or science surplus store and they usually come with a tube.

El_Cadejo's avatar

I second the refractometer idea. Hydrometers are generally pieces of junk for the most part. If you are willing to spend a bit more on a refractometer not only will you get something that doesnt break as easily, but you’ll also get a more accurate device.

pathfinder's avatar

try a grow shops

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