A hydrometer used in homebrew and in professional wine making needs either very precise factory calibration (expensive!) or you need to calibrate it every time you use it. Fortunately, this is very simple so you can turn your standard homebrew hydrometer into a precision instrument with minimum hassle.
|You can easily calibrate for most errors and use a low cost hydrometer to get a high quality reading using the following procedure:
Keep a trial jar with water near your brew. The idea is that this water have the same temperature as your brew so leave it there all the time.
Before using your hydrometer (every time!): Check the reading of the water. It should be around 1000 s.g. (0 on hydrometers showing oechsle degrees) but it will vary depending on temperature and scale errors.
If your hydrometer shows, say 1002 (+2) you obviously need to take your reading minus 2 to get it right. Then simply take all your wine/beer readings minus 2 and thats it!
Similarly of course, if your hydrometer shows 997 (-3) on the water - just add 3 to all your readings.
Remember that you have to check the water reading every time because temperature might have changed and/or your hydrometer scale might have moved inside the hydrometer. The beauty with this procedure is that it compensates for both temperature and scale moving errors at the same time so no need any more to make sure that the wine has a certain temperature before measuring the specific gravity.
Why do you need to calibrate the hydrometer?
There are many sources of errors when you use a hydrometer, either it is a cheap one or an expensive lab quality one.
You can easily calibrate your hydrometer for all the above problems which means that you can use a low cost hydrometer and still get a high quality reading. Calibrating your hydrometer - here is how you do it.
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