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Thread: What refractometer is most loved?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2015
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    Illinois
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    Default What refractometer is most loved?

    Looking to buy a new refractometer to replace our very old sap refractometer. I see models advertised that will test sap and syrup. A digital model sounds attractive after squinting at a blurry scale for al these years.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
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    Albion PA
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    I am sure the digital ones are nice. some are several hundred dollars and can do sap and syrup to (Misco). Personally I still use a long stem hydrometer in a 5 gallon bucket of sap. Just depends what you want to do with the tool. If your checking sugar content at each tree then the hydrometer is not the right tool. I do have a sap refractometer that I still use around the evaporator to check concentration at various places during a boil. Not sure I helped much?
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    I like my Hanna refractometer. I can test sap, concentrate and permeate, and finished syrup. Not to be used out in a cold rain, but like with all equipment if taken care of can last a long time.

  4. #4
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    Sep 2015
    Location
    Illinois
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    Thanks for your input. I see H2O has a refractometer for sap another at 30 brix for concentrate I assume and an 80 brix for syrup. Perhaps I should keep my sap refractometer and just buy the unit designed for syrup. We've always relied on the hydrometer to test at 211 when heating and bottling. Would the refractometer be more accurate than the hydrometer?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Merrill,Wisconsin
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    We have run a misco refractometer for 5 years that will test sap to syrup that is hot or cold. It works great and is far better then using hydrometer for testing syrup to get it right on when bottling.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Location
    NY
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    I too use a Hanna. It works up to 85 brix and has always given consistent results. It also has auto temp compensation,
    But it takes a minute or 2 to properly correct (during that time the sample is cooling as the unit is compensating and they meet in the middle). The only downside to the hanna is it creates a bubble with a relatively large surface area. I’ve noticed that evaporation from the sample on the meter slowly changes the reading .2% or so if you let it sit.

  7. #7
    Join Date
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    UVM Proctor Maple Research Center, Underhill Ctr, VT
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    All types of instruments are subject to different types of errors (instrument and operational). You have to understand these errors and attempt to limit their influence on the readings.

    We've gone through (or tested) just about every type of refractometer out there. We currently all use Misco units for sap, mainly because of the cover (which limits evaporation and changing readings) and the larger well. It can be used for syrup as well, and we will use it for syrup on occasion, but for hot syrup there is much more possibility of error (as with all types of refractometers) due to the sensitivity of the instrument to temperature variation between the unit and the syrup, so typically we use a hydrometer for the final determination.

    Since we switched to filtering off the evaporator (directly from the draw-off tank), we use a Smokey Lake Murphy Cup and Gold Hydrometer for hot syrup. Once you understand how to use the thing (which can be tricky), it is very simple.
    Last edited by DrTimPerkins; 01-02-2019 at 09:08 AM.
    Dr. Tim Perkins
    UVM Proctor Maple Research Ctr
    http://www.uvm.edu/~pmrc
    Timothy.Perkins@uvm.edu

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