Brewing Kits - Using The Hydrometer

By: Ron King

If you quiz a home brewer about the most appropriate components in beer brewing kits for their hobby, the most customary answers you'd discover would be: the fermenter, ingredients (such as hops, malt syrup, and yeast), and then a thing called a hydrometer.

What Is A Hydrometer?

A hydrometer is an instrument for determining the density or "specific gravity" of a liquid. You use the hydrometer to see how heavy (the specific gravity) the brewed liquid is compared to standard water. The heaviness of the brew is determined by how much sugar has been used by the yeast during the fermentation process.

You want to determine what this reading is to realize when your homebrew is completely fermented. And once this has occurred, you can then bottle the brew and shortly thereafter love drinking what you have prepared.

How Do You Benefit From A Hydrometer?

The process is very easy, and doesn't take long to understand. To prepare, fill a mason jar (or something similar with proper sides) two-thirds full of water. Make sure this water is close to 60 degrees Fahrenheit. After, place the hydrometer into the water. It will bob up and down for a minute, and then balance out. The reading should be 1.000 (or very near to this reading). Once you have verified this reading, take the hydrometer out of the jar and dry it off.

After, take another jar and fill it to two-thirds full with your homebrew. Once again, set the hydrometer into the brew, allow it to bob around until balanced out, and observe your new reading. Fermentation is still occurring if the reading is above 1.015, but it is close to development when the hydrometer reads between 1.010 and 1.008.

That is just for sugar -- honey, malt extracts, and likewise brewing ingredients all have slightly unique results. When you're brewing beer, there are a lot of variables you need to account for. That's why it is of interest for beginners to use beer kits, so that the details have all been worked out for you.

To establish fermentation has completed, take dual readings over 24 hours. If the readings repeat, your brew is ready to be bottled. If it is still varied, the fermentation process is still working.


Always make positive your jars, as well as the hydrometer, are clean and dry before use.

If your brew has part foam or bubbles, pour the mixture into a glass, then back into the jar, until they subside.

Make certain your hydrometer is not touching the sides of the jar prior to taking your readings.

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Get your free home brewing guide - with 13 delicious recipes today. Also see our beginners' brewing blog.Copyright 2009 Ron King. You can reprint this article if the resource box is left intact and the links live.

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