on brew day of my first batch, when i was ready to take OG reading, i dropped my hydrometer so no OG.

Is there a way to get a rough estimate of the OG. Thanks

4 Answers 4


If it was an extract batch, it's easier to calculate the OG than to measure it. If it was all grain and you know your efficiency, we can calculate it pretty closely from the recipe.

  • In fact, (1) if it is a extract + steeping grains kit recipe that lists the (2) you were able to get substantially all of the liquid and dry malt extract into the wort, (3) you were able to get the wort into the fermentor without spilling any substantial amounts, and (4) you topped off to the proper recipe volume, then you can pretty much assume your OG is the same as (or very close to) the kit's estimated OG. This makes the safe assumption that the company that packed your kit measured the extract volumes/weights correctly. Commented Jun 15, 2015 at 19:28

Yes, but it is expensive to buy the toys, as M__ said. To send the beer away for tests is also expensive.

In the words of the great Charlie Papazian: Relax, don't worry, have a homebrew.

OG is not important. FG is important as it will help confirm that your beer has finished fermenting.

Go to your local homebrew store and get two hydrometers. :)

I hope you did not drop the hyrometer into your beer! O_o


Digital alcohol meters exist to replace hydrometers, but they are not cheap.


What I would do instead, if brew day is not too far gone, is rush to the store to get a new hydrometer and measure approximatively from there. Watch out though, if you don't want oxygen reaching your brew, this is a bad idea.

Another alternative is to try to estimate the OG. This calculator says it does so: http://www.brewersfriend.com/allgrain-ogfg/
I've never used it in practice, I can't tell if it's right from experience.


Contrary to popular opinion, you don't need a hydrometer like you need sanitizer. You use a hydrometer to find out how efficiently sugars were extracted from your grains. Since you likely used extract, that's built into the recipe (it should be listed). You'll probably want something to check to see if the fermentation has completed by verifying that the gravity doesn't change for a few days in a row (normally, the advise is 3 day), but that's not a huge deal either. Let the fermentation go for 14 days if it's ale and you should be fine (provided that you're fermenting at ale temperatures). Now, that's like watching the leaves move and figuring which way the wind is blowing. It doesn't give you much information and it doesn't really tell you what you need to know.

Here's what I would do if I were you... if homebrewing is going to be a hobby that you think you're going to enjoy for a while, go on that very popular auction website and look for a brewing refractometer. They're bigger than a hydrometer so you won't be tempted to put it in your pocket and they're easier to use. A couple of drops will tell you your gravity and you don't have to get it to 70 degrees. If you ever looked to a toilet paper tube when you were a a kid, you can use a refractometer.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.