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Frequent Asked Questions:


Q: What is a Hydrometer?
A: A hydrometer is an instrument used to measure the density of a liquid compared to that of water.  Hydrometers usually consist of a calibrated glass tube ending in a weighted glass sphere that makes the tube stand upright when placed in a liquid (Beer, Wine, etc.).  The lower the density of the liquid, the deeper the tube sinks.  Depending upon the intended use hydrometer can vary in size and will feature different types of scales.

Q: What are the different kinds of hydrometers and when to use them?

Specific Gravity hydrometer can be used for almost any liquid.  Specific Gravity is a dimensionless unit defined as the ratio of density of the material to the density of water.

Brix (BX) hydrometers are for determining the percentage of weight by sucrose.  One degree of Brix is 1 gram of sucrose in 100 grams of solution and represents the strength of the solution as a percentage by weight.  The Brix is traditionally used in wine, sugar, fruit juice, and honey industries.

Alcohol Proof hydrometers are used for distilling and rectifying and for waste liquors.

Q: What is the metal ballast in hydrometers?
A: Older Hydrometers used lead ballasts, but these hydrometers are being phased out due to environmental concerns.  Newer, more environmentally friendly hydrometers use steel shot ballasts.  Brew Tapper only offers Hydrometers with steel shot ballasts, as we agree with the environmental concerns that lead has shown to cause.

Q: What is the proper way to store hydrometers?
A: Hydrometers should be stored in clean, dry, and safe places.  They also should not be subject to extreme temperatures.