A refractometer is a device for measuring the density of a liquid or the sugar content in a fermented beverage such as wine or beer. Although not essential for making homemade beer, using a refractometer in the brewing process is an effective method of measuring specific gravity. Overview of this high precision instrument.
What is a refractometer and what does it measure?
Conventional refractometers are simple optical measuring devices used to measure the sugar concentration in a liquid. Today there are more advanced models with advanced features like temperature correction and LCD display.
Unlike other measuring instruments, you can analyze a liquid with a refractometer by only depositing a few drops, which makes it ideal for measuring the sugar content in a beer wort.
Typically, refractometers are used for quality control purposes in industrial settings, especially in breweries, wineries, and soft drink factories. But, home brewers can also use a refractometer to determine the density of their beer.
How to calibrate a refractometer?
Before you start using your device, you will need to calibrate it or rather calibrate it for best results.To do this, you must first lift the sample plate.You pour in 3 drops of distilled water in order to clean the surface well and to be able to reset the calibration.When you close the glass plate, make sure there are no bubbles and allow the stir refractometer to reach room temperature of 20 ° C.Place your eye on the eyepiece and read the value that is displayed when you expose the meter to natural light.If the refractive index is not zero on the dial, adjust the sample plate so that it is.
How to use a refractometer for making beer?
Once you know how to calibrate a refractometer, using one for beer making isn't much different:
- Open the sampling plate and add a few drops of the must;
- Adjust the ambient temperature of the must to 20 ° C for an accurate measurement;
- Close the sample plate and check for bubbles;
- Place your eye against the eyepiece and read the specific gravity displayed on the dial pointing the device toward a source of natural light.
How to maintain a refractometer?
The refractometer is a high precision instrument and therefore requires special attention and proper maintenance. The first thing to do is to keep it well away from moisture. After using it on must or wine, clean the sample plate with distilled water. Calibrate the dial again if necessary.
Refractometers are intended to measure sugar content only. Therefore, do not use it for other purposes. If you want to have exact measurements, handle the sampling plate with care and store your device in a dry place where the temperature varies only a few degrees.