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How To Use Hydrometer For Beer

Have you ever wanted to keep track of the progress of your homebrew?

Making sure that it’s fermenting correctly, and that you can accurately measure the final alcohol content.

The best way to do this is by using a hydrometer for beer.

A hydrometer is a simple device used to measure the density of a liquid. This liquid can be beer, wine, or any other type of brewed beverage.

Specifically, the hydrometer measures the amount of dissolved solids in the liquid. This includes everything from sugars, proteins, and minerals.

What Do Hydrometers Measure

Hydrometers are used to measure two main things in beer; Original Gravity (OG) and Final Gravity (FG). OG measures the amount of dissolved solids before fermentation, while FG measures the amount after fermentation has occurred.

Both OG and FG will affect alcohol content (ABV) as well as flavor characteristics such as body and mouthfeel.

Preparing For Hydrometer Testing: Choosing The Right Hydrometer

The most important thing when choosing a hydrometer is making sure it is accurate for your wort-specific gravity range. The two types of hydrometers that are most commonly used for homebrewing are standard gravity and specific gravity hydrometers.

It’s important to make sure you calibrate your hydrometer before every use so you get an accurate reading each time!

Prepping Wort For Testing

Before testing with a hydrometer, it’s important to make sure your brew is ready for testing—and for drinking! Be sure to follow these guidelines before testing:

  • Cold crash – Cold crashing your wort will help sediment settle at the bottom of our fermenter or carboy so there is less debris in the sample we take for our measurement testing.
  • Wait until fermentation has finished – You want to wait until fermentation has finished so there are no more sugars being converted into alcohol during your test which would skew results
  • Take multiple readings – Taking multiple readings helps ensure accuracy when dealing with any kind of fermentable material such as beer or wine. Taking multiple readings also helps account for potential variations in measurements due to temperature etc., as well as helping identify any possible faulty equipment if results vary significantly from one another.

Executing The Test: Placing The Hydrometer In Wort

Once you have prepared your wort according to the instructions above, take out your calibrated hydrometer and place it inside carefully without letting it touch the sides or bottom of the container—a long straw can be used if needed.

Gently swirl around until floating freely in liquid without touching the sides or bottom of the container once again! Make sure all bubbles have been worked out before taking the reading(s).

Reading Results Accurately

Once placed inside your wort sample, take out a quick reading in seconds by looking at the scale at the top right corner of the hydrometer using markings on the device itself—it should match up with the temperature conversion chart on the side if the temperature needs adjusting!

Take an additional few minutes after the first reading if desired for more accuracy due to potential variations from one reading to another (such as bubbles present during one reading not present in another).

Interpreting Results: Original Gravity (OG), Final Gravity (FG), Alcohol By Volume (ABV) Calculation

Now that you have taken both OG and FG readings it’s time to interpret them by calculating ABV with help from the Alcohol by Weight/Volume table which can be found online easily—allowing you better understanding ABV content approximate value rather than exact due volume shrinkage during the boiling process.

However, this should still give you a good idea overall since most ales contain similar efficiencies within normal ranges even across various batches/brewers!

Cleaning The Hydrometer: Cleaning After Use, Proper Storage And Maintenance Tips

It’s important to clean your hydrometer after each use, especially if using the same sample repeatedly or swapping between samples/batches frequently throughout the day!

Clean with warm water alone or add a mild detergent solution such as dishwasher soap. Make sure all surfaces are dried properly before putting them back into storage condition away from direct sunlight while making sure the instrument is still accessible when needed again quickly!

Additionally, check rubber stoppers regularly – replace when necessary despite cleaning thoroughly each time use the instrument just encrypt safe-side! Additionally, keep checking on scale calibration regularly – re-calibrate if required!


Using a hydrometer for beer-making has many benefits. It lets brewers accurately measure OG (Original Gravity), FG (Final Gravity), and ABV calculations; this enables brewers to understand what they’re brewing and make predictions about performance/results over time.

They can also create controlled recipes with data to back them up. Additionally, hydrometers are convenient because they allow brewers to quickly test without having to break down the process and focus solely on taking measurements, saving lots of time and effort. This makes the entire home brewing experience more enjoyable.

Author Image Fabian
I’m Fabian, homebrewer and beer taster. I’m also the editor of Beer100. I love travelling the world and trying out new handcraft beer and different beer styles. I’m not an expert in brewing beer, but I know a few things about beer, which I share on this blog. If you need help or have a question, please comment below.

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