Using a Laser for measuring wine clarity?

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ChuckD

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So I noticed something interesting last night. I was in the cellar to check airlocks on four wines that I’m bulk aging and I was messing around using my infrared thermometer to check surfaces in the cellar (I use supplemental heat in the winter). In the past I noticed that the red laser penetrated through my apple wine but not through a three-gallon carboy of beet wine that is dark red. Well last night it went through like it wasn’t even there! Apparently it cleared recently. If you shine a flashlight through the carboy it’s still hard to judge but that laser light penetrates and shines right through. Same with the elderberry, but the wild grape absorbs the beam completely.

I looked closer and you can actually see a difference in the beam as it shows up on the wall behind the carboy and see the difference in back scattering along the path of the laser inside the carboy. You can actually judge how clear it is. I’m sure they use light scattering in the industry but it was cool to see it and now I have a new use for my cheapo Harbor Freight $20 thermometer.
 

ChuckD

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I forgot to mention the wild grape has only been in the carboy for about a month so likely hasn’t cleared. Also, whatever wavelength they use in the thermometer doesn’t seem to be affected by color, just solids in the wine.
 

Bossbaby

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I have done the same thing with my laser thermometer. Have you seen those super duper laser beam flashlights that are pretty much illegal to shine anywhere near flying aircraft. Those would really do the trick through a carboy I bet. You could be on to something.
 

Rice_Guy

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In the old days/ 50 years ago the chem labs would have us measure reactions with a “Spec 20”. A prism selecting a wavelength passing it through a 1cm cuvette and measuring the transmitted light with a photo detector.
Would be interesting to use the camera on a smart phone to do the same task.
 

ChuckD

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I have done the same thing with my laser thermometer. Have you seen those super duper laser beam flashlights that are pretty much illegal to shine anywhere near flying aircraft. Those would really do the trick through a carboy I bet. You could be on to something.
Probably not without a photometer tuned to the same wavelength but it’s cool anyways. It seems useful on the dark red wines where I have trouble judging clarity in the carboy.
 

Raptor99

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Interesting idea. Would a laser pointer work for this? Has anyone tried that? It is difficult to tell if darker colored wines have cleared.
 

ChuckD

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It may depend on the wavelength of the laser. It seems the one on the infrared thermometer is unaffected by color but greatly affected by solids in the wine (or is that effected? I can never remember). I imagine things like CO2 bubbles would scatter the light a lot as well.

Give it a try. Unlike a flashlight, you can see the beam of the laser in the wine and it illuminates the interior pretty well. I could even shine it down on the lees to see what they looked like. With the grape of course it’s like black ink… I can’t see anything in there yet.

It may not be quantitative but it’s useful for seeing what’s happening inside the carboy.
 

sour_grapes

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It may depend on the wavelength of the laser. It seems the one on the infrared thermometer is unaffected by color but greatly affected by solids in the wine (or is that effected? I can never remember). I imagine things like CO2 bubbles would scatter the light a lot as well.

Give it a try. Unlike a flashlight, you can see the beam of the laser in the wine and it illuminates the interior pretty well. I could even shine it down on the lees to see what they looked like. With the grape of course it’s like black ink… I can’t see anything in there yet.

It may not be quantitative but it’s useful for seeing what’s happening inside the carboy.

It is "affected," as you wrote.

What makes this difficult is that both affect and effect may be used as both a noun and as a verb. However, in each case, one of those uses is esoteric.

Generally, affect is a verb, meaning something like, "to influence." And, generally, effect is a noun, meaning something like "the result of something."
But effect may be (rarely) used as a verb, meaning "to bring about a change." It is almost always used in the phrase "to effect change" in something or other. And, affect may be (even more esoterically) used as a noun; it is a technical, psychological term, and it refers to the manner in which people display their emotions.
 

ChuckD

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It is "affected," as you wrote.

What makes this difficult is that both affect and effect may be used as both a noun and as a verb. However, in each case, one of those uses is esoteric.

Generally, affect is a verb, meaning something like, "to influence." And, generally, effect is a noun, meaning something like "the result of something."
But effect may be (rarely) used as a verb, meaning "to bring about a change." It is almost always used in the phrase "to effect change" in something or other. And, affect may be (even more esoterically) used as a noun; it is a technical, psychological term, and it refers to the manner in which people display their emotions.
I was going to make a joke about the “grammar police”😂. But I did ask, and I do appreciate the clarification. Thanks!
 

bstnh1

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It is "affected," as you wrote.

What makes this difficult is that both affect and effect may be used as both a noun and as a verb. However, in each case, one of those uses is esoteric.

Generally, affect is a verb, meaning something like, "to influence." And, generally, effect is a noun, meaning something like "the result of something."
But effect may be (rarely) used as a verb, meaning "to bring about a change." It is almost always used in the phrase "to effect change" in something or other. And, affect may be (even more esoterically) used as a noun; it is a technical, psychological term, and it refers to the manner in which people display their emotions.
Seems to me your response was effectively effective.;)
 

sour_grapes

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It is true that I enjoy language and grammar, but I am not pernickety (a variant of "persnickety" :) ) regarding others' usage; moreover, I don't go out of my way to correct anyone in full-on "Conan the Grammarian" mode. However, I would like to point out that @ChuckD asked (as he has acknowledged), so I answered.

small serve and protect.jpeg
 

wineview

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So I noticed something interesting last night. I was in the cellar to check airlocks on four wines that I’m bulk aging and I was messing around using my infrared thermometer to check surfaces in the cellar (I use supplemental heat in the winter). In the past I noticed that the red laser penetrated through my apple wine but not through a three-gallon carboy of beet wine that is dark red. Well last night it went through like it wasn’t even there! Apparently it cleared recently. If you shine a flashlight through the carboy it’s still hard to judge but that laser light penetrates and shines right through. Same with the elderberry, but the wild grape absorbs the beam completely.

I looked closer and you can actually see a difference in the beam as it shows up on the wall behind the carboy and see the difference in back scattering along the path of the laser inside the carboy. You can actually judge how clear it is. I’m sure they use light scattering in the industry but it was cool to see it and now I have a new use for my cheapo Harbor Freight $20 thermometer.

Does the thermometer you mention give a temperature reading of the wine in the center of the carboy? I have those stick on strips and they are usually 7-8 degrees warmer than when I stick a probe thermometer into the carboy.
 

Raptor99

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Oh, I thought that word was a antonym to regardless because of the "ir-" part. We non-native speakers thanks you!

If "irregardless" was a real word, it would mean the opposite of "regardless," as you say. Just like "irreplaceable" means "not replaceable." But unfotunately people use "irregardless" as a synonym for "regardless." English is a weird language.
 

ChuckD

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Does the thermometer you mention give a temperature reading of the wine in the center of the carboy? I have those stick on strips and they are usually 7-8 degrees warmer than when I stick a probe thermometer into the carboy.
They measure the temp of the surface upon which you shine the laser. Despite being an inexpensive unit, mine seems quite accurate. If I aim it at my standard thermometer bulb it reads the same as the thermometer.

Does that still hold for a glass container full of a transparent liquid? I’m not entirely sure, but it seems like it’s still reading the surface of the carboy. I’m going to test that out by putting a much warmer object behind the carboy and see if the reading changes.
 

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