Public Lab Research note

Refractometer: hands on

by warren | August 29, 2012 04:13 29 Aug 04:13 | #3551 | #3551

This is pretty cool -- when I was at Mystic Brewery, i got to try out Brian's refractometer -- subject of much debate on the mailing list some months ago. It was not calibrated but it was neat just to see how it works -- a white zone is cast onto a graduated display from light entering the tube through a "smeared" droplet. I figured folks would like to see some photos, so here you go!


In wine making industry, its a common thing to take drops from the grape jucice before crush them down, and have a sense how much sugar potentially has it, and with tables, one can have an idea of potentially the alcohol once is fermented...

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Can you specify the type?

By the way - it is not rocket surgery to calibrate a refractometer. Most beekeepers do it by himself. You just need distilled water and a sample solution with known sugar content (e.g. 50%), a dropping glass and a small screwdriver.

Howto: Clean and dry it carefully. Apply 1-2 drops of distilled water on the prism. The line of light-dark transition should be at 0%, if not use the calibration screw until it matches (often under a small rubber cap). Check with known sugar content solution in pure and diluted form. Done. :)

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Sorry ToF - not sure what kind it was. Thanks for the calibration tip! I'll try if I give Brian another visit.

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