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I broke my hydrometer!

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crabjoe

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I have no idea how delicate these hydrometers might be, but was putting the hydrometer inside the plastic tube I use when measuring SG, and it broke. It hit the bottom and it was done... It barely dropped an inch and I've done it multiple times and never an issue before.. this time.. it broke..

Lucky for me, I have an extra. This is one of those rare times that having an extra of something has paid off..

Now I need to get a replacement and I'd like a short one... Because I don't like to waste wine when taking measurements.. Anyone have a recommendation?
 

Ajmassa

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No need to dump the wine used for testing if that’s what you’re doing. Just put it right back in.

And the longer ones are actually better. They give a more precise reading.
 

Rice_Guy

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. . . need to get a replacement and I'd like a short one... Because I don't like to waste wine when taking measurements.. Anyone have a recommendation?
At this point I have three, last week at American scientific (Chicago/ web) I found a baby size which only goes to 1.060 and looks to float in a bud vase and only has one scale. The largest is a modern Vinters style (Home Brew Guys) with alcohol, specific gravity and Brix.
My “normal” hygrometer is one I call Mom’s which has two scales and probably 60 years old. Normally I measure in a 50 ml plastic cylinder (American Scientific, about $2.95) which could be another half inch long to float the scale less than 1.010, but is wonderful with any must/ test juice from goodies at the farmers market. My 50 ml glass cylinder has a smaller diameter and it won’t fit.
Of the ones used it is nice to have both Brix and specific gravity. Seems all wine hygrometers also have percent alcohol. There is about .001 gravity variation in my wine hygrometers which l look at as not significant, , , I am not calibrating pigment density’s for paints back in school. Yes, A longer hygrometer gives more resolution or more numbers on the scale.
 

jsbeckton

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A home brewing forum I also participate in has a long running “official broken hydrometer count” thread. I find it interesting since I’ve had the same one for 11 years (knock on wood)!
 

chicken

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A home brewing forum I also participate in has a long running “official broken hydrometer count” thread. I find it interesting since I’ve had the same one for 11 years (knock on wood)!
After having the same hydrometer for years, I read that thread and said out loud "How are so many people breaking their hydrometers!?" Next thing I knew, I dropped mine and became a not so proud member of the broken hydrometer club. :)
 

skyfire322

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I have four of the Vinters style glass ones. During my last batch, I had broken two in as many days, so I made sure to get double the amount.

I've considered getting the Tilt digital hydrometer, but I don't think I can justify spending $140 on something I'd only use for two weeks a year lol.
 

peterseng

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I have broken several hydrometers over the years... It's not hard to do, tbh. They can be pretty fragile. At this point I believe (mostly through buying used equipment that include one or two of them) I believe I have about five spares. If I don't buy any more, I hope to still have two or three left next fall o_O
 

Scooter68

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Why would you be wasting wine when taking an SG measurement??? That wine should be returned to the batch. The ONLY reason not to return a wine sample to the batch is if you have done testing that involves chemicals like sodium hydroxide. ALL SG samples should be returned to the batch.
Just sanitize the testing tube and the hydrometer.

By the way from your description of the event that broke the hydrometer - sounds like it was already cracked or damaged/too weak to last. At least it didn't break in the wine.
 

stickman

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Where was the hydrometer purchased? Brand? They are fragile, but agree with @Scooter68 that it was probably damaged or defective.
 

winemaker81

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Are hydrometers more cheaply made these days? [That's a rhetorical question -- everything is made more cheaply than it used to be.] I use the two hydrometers I purchased in 1984. [As someone noted upstream, I've probably jinxed myself and I'll break one in the near future.]

When reading about hydrometer breakage my first assumption was that people are not careful enough, but I'm wondering if it's more the product, not the handling.

BTW, I use a FermTech wine thief, which is sized to fit a hydrometer. I wash it after each use and rinse with K-meta before each use. Yes, I put the wine back in the carboy.

I had an acquaintance that racked his wines monthly and checked SG each time, tossing the wine because it was "contaminated". At the end of the year he could not understand why he only had 17 gallons to bottle instead of 20 ....
 

Intheswamp

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I've done it multiple times and never an issue before.
Seems like if the hydrometer had withstood this same event multiple times with no problem that it really wouldn't be a defective one...seems like something "changed" from the past times. Either, the actual fall/drop was different or something about the hydrometer was different...maybe it had been bumped which caused a fracture in the glass and the last drop into the tube finished the break. ???
 

crabjoe

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Why would you be wasting wine when taking an SG measurement??? That wine should be returned to the batch. The ONLY reason not to return a wine sample to the batch is if you have done testing that involves chemicals like sodium hydroxide. ALL SG samples should be returned to the batch.
Just sanitize the testing tube and the hydrometer.

By the way from your description of the event that broke the hydrometer - sounds like it was already cracked or damaged/too weak to last. At least it didn't break in the wine.
I don't like to return the wine because sometimes I take a take from the flask. It probably wouldn't matter, since people use their mouth to start siphons, but I just rather not return it.
 

crabjoe

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Where was the hydrometer purchased? Brand? They are fragile, but agree with @Scooter68 that it was probably damaged or defective.
It came with my MoreBeer Premium Beer making kit. The spare (my only one now) I'm now using came with my Northern Brewer Deluxe Wine making kit.
 

crabjoe

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Seems like if the hydrometer had withstood this same event multiple times with no problem that it really wouldn't be a defective one...seems like something "changed" from the past times. Either, the actual fall/drop was different or something about the hydrometer was different...maybe it had been bumped which caused a fracture in the glass and the last drop into the tube finished the break. ???
Right or Wrong, because I've been using it almost daily, I was keeping it (Hydrometer in the flask) in my bucket of PBW water. When I went to use it, I'd take it out, give a quick rinse then sanitize it with either Starsan or KMeta.
 

mainshipfred

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CDrew

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THey are super useful. You'd be surprised how inaccurate a full scale hydrometer is when you're at the end of fermentation and trying to tell 1 brix from 2 brix.

They sell them in ranges, and I'm even considering one with the same range at the upper end, but that isn't as useful.
 

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