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Re: [new_distillers] Re: Refractometers

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  • Derek Hamlet
    Refractometers are wonderful things. I use one to test the sugar content (Brix) of our grapes when we get them. I also use it to measure the drop in brix or
    Message 1 of 8 , Feb 4, 2007
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      Refractometers are wonderful things.
      I use one to test the sugar content (Brix) of our grapes when we get them.
      I also use it to measure the drop in brix or s.g. as the wine as it ferments.
      In some ways it's easier than straining all the gunk to get a nice
      clear sample for the hydrometer.
      When I'm making port, it's important to know exactly what the sugar
      content is because you want to pull off the requisite amount and then
      stop the fermentation with brandy.
      I've never heard of using a refractometer to monitor alcohol content
      during distilling. It would have to be a very specialized and I'm
      guessing expensive bit of equipment.
      I just float my alcohol hydrometer in my soldered up parrot's
      beak. It covers the 95%-55% alcohol that I'm interested in.
      If someone does want a refractometer for wine making purposes,
      though, the Chinese are making very good temperature corrected ones
      for about $50.
      Mine is 5 years old and does a bang up job. Of course it isn't
      exactly getting hard use. I probably take 10 readings per year.
      But, oh can you pose with it. Just before harvest we go out to the
      farms and you can pull your refractometer out of your pocket and
      squeeze a grape on the slide an hold it up to the light. Great.
      Sometimes the folks who sell grapes are a little optimistic. I've
      received spec. sheets with grape orders where the sugars and acids
      quoted had little to do with the reality of the average of the grapes.

      \\At 04:34 AM 2/3/2007, you wrote:

      >a hydrometer is much better a choice for high alcohol content. for
      >measuring finished wine or beer a refractometer is a great tool.my
      >brother has one. personally i'll save the money and just get a cheap
      >vinometer off ebay to compare with the readings from my triple scale
      >hydrometer. mike --- In
      ><mailto:new_distillers%40yahoogroups.com>n

      ;-)Derek
    • Robert Thomas
      You are so right Jan. My point was that in the right hands, with the right auxilliary equipment (eg very accurate temperature baths) and superb optics they can
      Message 2 of 8 , Feb 5, 2007
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        You are so right Jan. My point was that in the right hands, with the
        right auxilliary equipment (eg very accurate temperature baths) and
        superb optics they can (if you have enough training and experience)
        measure to 0.001%. That is so cool - in an over-the-top-geek way!

        Refractometers are fantastically useful at the start of fermentation
        (checking a mash, when buying grapes etc). Their relevance drops
        dramatically as fermentation progresses (there are a few tables for
        specific correlations, but I'd be very suspicious of them).
        When you get to pure alcohol/water mixes, they can also be useful: but
        ONLY if they are submersed lens types (a little smear of 80% ethoh on a
        lens will evaporate before you can breathe on it), and only if the have
        VERY good temp compensation (the RI vs. temp graph is unforgiving in
        this case)

        Cheers
        Rob.

        --- Jan Wouter <janwouter.mailgroups@...> wrote:

        > What's wrong with the simple floating alcohol meter? Just a few bucks
        > and gives you all the info you need.
        > Jan Wouter
        >
        > 2007/2/3, Robert Thomas <whosbrewing@...>:
        > > They are an excellent way of measuring strength. HOWEVER, hand
        > helds
        > > don't work. You need a temperature controlled immersion style. Mega
        > > bucks.
        > > Cheers
        > > Rob.
        > >
        > > --- Jan Wouter <janwouter.mailgroups@...> wrote:
        > >
        > > > What do you need a refractometer for?
        > > >
        > > > Jan Wouter, confused
        > > >
        > > > 2007/2/2, Carl Roberts <ee1958@...>:
        > > > > A refractometer has been suggested for monitoring . It would
        > appear
        > > > a
        > > > > range of 50% up would be required.
        > > > >
        > > > > I cannot find any direct reading hand held units listed.
        > > > >
        > > > > Is there a listing of refractive index vs concentration
        > available?
        > > > >
        > > > >
        > > >
        > >
        > >
        > > Cheers,
        > > Rob.
        > >
        > >
        >


        Cheers,
        Rob.



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