Different readings between refractometer and hydrometer

Forums Brewing Equipment Different readings between refractometer and hydrometer

This topic contains 5 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  John 1 year, 5 months ago.

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  • #1063

    John
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    I’m getting different readings from my refractometer and hydrometer for my original gravity. I’ve made sure the wort is the right temperature and mixed up my wort really well before taking the sample, but I’m still getting drastically different readings. I’ve calibrated both with distilled water and done everything I can think of to make everything else equal. Has anyone else had this problem? Is there anything I can do to fix it? I’m inclined to trust my hydrometer more, but the refractometer is really convenient so I’d prefer to use that if I can trust it.

    #1064

    Dave
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    I’m thinking that the high amounts of suspended particles in the red ale was affecting the refractometer readings and that the hydrometer was probably more accurate. In the pale ale we did next, the readings were pretty consistent between the two instruments. My biggest challenge when measuring gravity is remembering to adjust for temperature!

    #1086

    Dave
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    Thought that very cloudy wort might cause an artificially high gravity reading with the refractometer, but just checked our Cascade SMaSH beer gravity the other day when racking from primary to secondary, and had a substantial difference in readings: 1.032 with the refractometer and 1.017 with the hydrometer. Both instruments were calibrated with distilled water for a gravity of 1.000, and both instruments and samples were at the same temperature (about 68 degrees F). While I would have expected this if the wort was overly cloudy, this wort was quite clear from suspended particles. So, normal color/clarity wort, both instruments calibrated and temperatures all consistent, but very different gravity readings – anyone have any ideas why?

    #1163

    John
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    I’m still seeing very different readings between my refractometer and my hydrometer. I was at 1.037 on the refractometer and 1.022 on my hydrometer for the brown ale I racked to secondary tonight. Not sure what I’m doing wrong. I calibrated it with distilled water, made sure my sample was mixed well, etc.

    #1198

    Joseph Michaud
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    Are you trying to take the original reading or the final reading?

    #1199

    John
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    I’ve had the problem for both. Definitely a big difference in original gravity, but I also saw the readings were off for the final gravity of a cider I just finished that was completely dry. Not sure what’s causing it. I’m going to brew an IPA this weekend and will test again though.

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