Last updated: 16/10/2022

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Welcome for those of you who are brewers on duty and looking for the best tips on how to buy a densimeter. Available in a variety of models, it is worth knowing a little about the product before buying. Thanks to the measuring work on the densimeter you can measure the fermentation progress of beer or pinga.

So it is easier to produce a refined, homemade drink in the ideal alcohol content to your taste. We will unveil the characteristics of each densimeter. In the post we also present average prices, where to buy with discounts and other issues that will make you a smarter consumer.




Summary

  • Densimeters are present in analogue or digital form.
  • To use the analog densimeters, you also need to use the beaker.
  • The decimeter can measure the progress of fermentation of cachaça, beer, among other alcoholic beverages.

The Best Hydrometer: Our Picks

Buying guide

Have you ever thought of inviting your friends round for a barbecue at the weekend and offering beer that you have actually brewed yourself? I’m serious, people will not believe it! Just so that the taste of the drink is pleasant, learn now how to buy a hydrometer, which is useful for measuring the attenuation, or in other words, the progress of fermentation, to perfection.

Um homem grisalho na frente de um fermentador grande de metal com cerveja até a borda.

Measuring the density of beer with a densimeter is important to ensure the best flavor of the beverage. (Source: cerdadebbie/ Pixabay)

What is a densimeter?

Instrument used in laboratories, composed of plastic or glass, and it is also necessary to use the beaker for a perfect use. Densimeter must be used with the purpose of analyzing liquids that have two or more substances. In the lower part of the product there is a compartment with lead. On the upper side there are numerical markings.

Due to its particularity in carrying out measurements, this production is used by brewers to measure the density of the fermentation of beverages produced. With this instrument you can more easily define the final alcohol volume in the beer.

Densimeter and beer: How to use?

There are many ways to use the tool, everything depends on the liquid to be analysed. In the case of alcoholic beverages, first you put the beer, liquor, whiskey or wine in the beaker. Then, you need to analyse the temperature of the liquid, which can be done with a thermometer. The beverage needs to be at 20°C. Then put the hydrometer into the measuring cylinder and measure. If you think the drink is in the ideal density make a new measurement the next day to know if the effect of fermentation is completed.

What are the advantages of a densimeter?

A positive side of today’s densimeters is that even home brewers can easily access the product. There are versions that work analogue, there are also digital models capable of recording and sending data to other devices. There are also not many secrets to use with a high degree of professionalism. There are several price options on the market, so you will never need a lot of money to buy. On the negative side, we can point out that the densimeter is fragile. It can break when dropped, not to mention the need to use a beaker, which represents a certain waste of beer for each measurement. See more about the advantages and disadvantages of the densimeter:

Advantages
  • Analog models
  • Digital models
  • Price variations
  • Lightweight
  • Simple to read
  • Does not need electricity to work
  • Helps in the production of alcoholic beverages
  • Serves to test the purity of gasoline
Disadvantages
  • Fragile
  • Waste of liquid
  • Needs a beaker

Densimeter or refractometer: Which is better?

The analysis of wort density in beers and other beverages is based on the use of two tools: densimeter and refractometer. Experts measure using both pieces of equipment for greater accuracy. However, even using only one of the choices, there are manufacturers who make the delicious alcoholic beverage with a marked taste. Later on we will learn more about the differences between these two options.

Um densímetro dentro de uma proveta com líquido transparente.

Densimeter has an analogical functioning (Source: ellirra/ 123RF)

Densimeter

The name of the product itself shows what its use is: to measure the density of a liquid. The use of this model requires the use of a small, medium or large cylinder. You must place the densimeter in the sample (that is, in the sample of liquid inside the measuring cylinder), making the tool float until it generates a result referring to the density in the beverage. You must not return the beverage from the muster to the fermenter, as this may generate contamination.

Um refratômetro digital dentro de um estojo que também tem um tubo com líquido transparente e dois pequenos montes de sal.

Refractometers are available in digital version (Source – dominickkrolik/ Pixabay)

Refractometer

With dropper it is possible to measure the density of the alcoholic beverage. This means that using this digital product has no beer waste. For those who need to perform several tests in a short space of time this tool is ideal. Especially in fermentation analysis the results recorded in the refractometer must be converted with a Brix conversion calculator or via mobile phone applications, which makes it a little complicated to use.

In general, those who are at the beginning of their brewing career prefer to buy a densimeter. After improving their taste and becoming a bit of an expert, they almost always opt to buy a refractometer as well. Further details on the differences between densimeter and refractometers are shown in the table:

Densimeter Refractometer
Price Cheaper More expensive
Ease of use More Less
Resistance Less More
Format Analog Digital
Liquid wastage in measurement Medium Little
Professionalism Less More
Speed of measurement Less More
Weight Less More
Portability Less More
Need to heat the liquid for measurement More Less
Need for conversion of results Less More

How much does a hydrometer cost?

From £50 to up to £200, this is the average price of the main versions of the best densimeter manufacturers. The larger the product, the more expensive are the values charged in the end. Glass editions cost more than plastic versions. The quality of the paint on the markings can also make the product more expensive, as can the texture on the beaker that usually accompanies the packaging of the models.

Where to buy a densimeter?

It is not easy to find diversity in the range of densimeter choices via traditional shops. However, there are a few outlets that offer some units for sale. They are: Kalunga, Magazine Luiza and Americanas. On the internet, with a few clicks of the mouse it is possible to find different types of densimeters, mainly by searching for the product in reliable online shops such as Amazon Brasil. Shoptime and Mercado Livre also sell certain productions.

Did you know that helping to calculate the amount of alcohol present in the drink and knowing if the must is fermented are two of the main objectives of the densimeter?

Buying criteria: how to compare densimeter models

Who knew you were close to being the best brewer in the neighbourhood? Only, you need to choose a quality densimeter to ensure the taste of your drink. You can buy models that suit your taste demands easily on the market, provided you follow the following criteria to compare them:

More about each criterion we will inform below:

Probe

For the hydrometer to work you need to use a measuring cylinder, often this is also included in the package. If you already have a beaker, you can look for offers that only sell hydrometers. This way you can save money on the purchase.  There are 3 different beaker sizes: 50ml, 100ml and 250ml. The 250ml editions should be used when you are at the beginning of production, with the elements not yet mixed and fermented properly. You can decrease the size of the beaker as the drink gets denser.

Drink

Most of the beers in the world are produced with a scale densimeter that can go from 1,000 to even 1,100. If you prefer stronger than conventional beer in initial density it is necessary to use a dedicated densimeter. For example: the scale version ranging from 1,100 to 1,200.

Um homem com óculos de proteção segurando um densímetro na frente de um fermentador.

The secret of producing the best craft beers starts with choosing a suitable densimeter (Wavebreak Media Ltd/ 123RF)

Kits

To measure the drink with a hydrometer the liquid needs to be at 20°C. For this reason there are kits on the market that have models for sale along with the beaker and thermometers. Consider that brewing beer at home does not have the same structure as a brewery, whose fermenters indicate the temperature of the liquid automatically. Therefore, opt for the promotions that also offer the thermometer.

Data

A common practice among brewers is to record the data of each measurement made with a densimeter. By doing this procedure it is possible to track details of the evolution in the density of the beverages, understanding the formula that should be used in future productions. For you not to have trouble recording data on paper use a digital densimeter, also known as refractometer, which gathers and passes the information quickly to computers.

(Featured image source: auremar/ 123RF)

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