The Austrian company known for making much of the beverage industry’s lab-testing equipment recently released a new version of its digital hydrometer, aimed at homebrewers and potentially useful for smaller brewing operations. We never tried the first-generation EasyDens, but the company advertises these improvements over the previous model: a more compact design, faster measurement, higher accuracy and stability, faster Bluetooth connection with your smartphone, and better protection from dust and water droplets.
The attraction is obvious: The ability to get quick, accurate gravity measurements using very little liquid, track your fermentation on your smartphone or other device over time, and save that data to compare with future batches. Speaking for ourselves, the appeal of being able to easily chart and consult fermentation over time on our phones is a great incentive to take more readings—to simply know more about what’s happening with our next beer.
With the EasyDens, there’s no need to get out the thief and fill up a test tube for your hydrometer. To get a gravity reading on the EasyDens, you need only about 2 ml of wort—less than half a teaspoon. It measures density on whatever scale you’re likely to be using for fermented drinks: specific gravity, degrees Plato, Brix, or grams per cubic centimeter (g/cm3). As fermentation progresses, the app calculates ABV automatically based on those readings.
We had read mixed reviews in the app store about connectivity, but we found connecting with the Bluetooth (on a Pixel 2) to be a snap. A small startup booklet included with the device couldn’t be easier to follow, including visual instructions for connecting, degassing, testing, and cleaning. (More detailed support and FAQs are available on the website.)
There are two holes on top of the device—liquid in, liquid out. A small latex hose connects the out hole with any handy vessel to collect waste liquid. The syringe for injecting the test liquid also is included. Fair warning: Any carbonated beer (or other liquid) you’re measuring must be de-gassed first. This basically means stirring or swirling for 10 to 15 minutes to kill the bubbles before using the syringe to take a sample. It’s also important to push out any air in the syringe before injecting into the device—any air in there will lead to false readings. Finally, if there are particles in your sample, you can simply filter through a coffee filter before testing.
Once you get a reading—in the density measurement of your choice, with temperature automatically measured, too—simply save the reading to a new batch record or to a batch record that you’ve already started. There is a Batches button to track the readings for each batch you’re testing. You can also add notes to those records for future reference.
The price is high for most homebrewers, but for others, it will be worth it for the ease of collecting more data points for fine-tuning. (In particular, we’re looking forward to keeping a closer eye on our lager fermentations.) We found it easy to connect and intuitive to use.