SheppyBrew Beer Model purchased me a refractometer for Christmas this year. I've always thought that it would be nice to own refractometer, but it is not something I ever felt I would buy for myself. I've always been able to brew without one, after all.
However, getting one was very exciting for me. The nice thing about a refractometer is being able to take gravity readings with a tiny amount of wort, which means much less time cooling the sample down. This means a much quicker pre-boil gravity reading. It also makes it much more practical to take readings throughout the boil. This flexibility allows adjustments during the boil to make sure that the beer follows the plan.
Of course getting this meant that I had to brew to try out my new toy.
I decided that my first practical chance to use my gift would be New Year's Day.
I've known for awhile that my next brew would be Arctic Vortex Winter Saison.
I first brewed Arctic Vortex as my first "Seasonal Saison" last year. It was wildly successful in that I really loved the beer.
And I brewed the recipe again today.
Everything went great, and I learned to use the refractometer. Usually, to get a pre-boil gravity, I have to cool a sample large enough to use my hydrometer with. This takes about half an hour. Today, I had my pre-boil gravity a few minutes after the boil started.
And, I took a few more readings throughout. Based on those readings, I even discovered that my gravity was high, and was able to dilute during the boil as opposed to having to wait until the very end.
And now, I have almost six gallons of wort sitting in my carboy.
My refractometer reading matched my hydrometer, and was exactly what I had designed into the recipe.
I would say that this was a successful maiden voyage of the refractometer.
I'll be sure to let you know how this batch of beer turns out. Stay tuned on the regular outlets.