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Hydrometers

Hydrometers are an instrument that is used to measure the relative density or gravity of a liquid in relation to water. They are typically constructed from glass and have a weight at the bottom that allows them to be steady in water.

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Hydrometers

Hydrometers are an instrument that is used to measure the relative density or gravity of a liquid in relation to water. They are typically constructed from glass and have a weight at the bottom that allows them to be steady in water. They are used by auto mechanics but are also used by a range of technicians.

Hydrometers have been adapted in various ways, making them suit different uses. Firstly, a particular type of hydrometer known as a saccharometer can be used to check the sugar levels in wine or beer. This is particularly useful if you enjoy crafting your own beer or wine at home. Second, hydrometers can also be used to grade soils. They check the density of the soil, which in turn helps to find suitable areas to plant various items. This is useful for both those in the agriculture industry, as well as those who are involved in gardening as a hobby.

Finally, another type of hydrometer is a lactometer, which can be used to test milk. Again, this is more designed for use in agriculture, and is used to check the fat content levels in milk.

For those involved in beer brewing, the use of a hydrometer has a few benefits. Mainly, it helps to tell the density of the wort during the process. This relates to the excess sugar, and is important because beer is made with the aid of yeast which converts the sugars in the wort into ethanol and CO2. Without this, you would be unaware of how successful the yeast will be in the fermentation process, which is key to crafting beer.

The hydrometer can be used in two stages to assist. First, when you introduce the yeast and just after the mashing phase. This gives the Original Gravity (OG) to compare future readings to. Second, after fermentation has occurred, another reading is made using a hydrometer. This is the Final Gravity (FG) and gives a reading to show how the density has changed. These two readings combined are calculated in a way to find out the strength of the beer. Therefore, without the use of a hydrometer, this would be impossible to calculate.

Key Features of Hydrometers

Typically, hydrometers are constructed from a hollow glass cylinder that is sealed and has a wider bottom section. This allows the device to be buoyant in liquid. Further features include lead or mercury to help with stability and graduations on the stem that help to accurately measure.

There are 3 varieties of hydrometer used for home brewing. First is the triple scale hydrometer, which is the most used. This is because they are less expensive than others and have a wide range on their scale so can be used for most brewing projects. However, they are not the most accurate. Second is the thermohydrometer, which utilises temperature too. They are useful as they make sure the temperature is consistent but are less accurate. Finally, is the precision hydrometer, which is the most accurate of the 3, but has a small reading scale so you will likely need two.