My gift for Valentine’s Day was to spend some dough at the local home brew stow. I needed a faucet for my temporary keezer build and some tubing. I went in with a goal to spend a certain amount so I made damn sure I did! I think I added a cover for the faucet, a tap handle, and while I was walking around I ran into this wine thief.
This thief is like a large version of the bottle filler that you use for bottling, with the little “check valve” at the tip. When you dunk it into your fermentor to take a reading (sanitized, of course) the valve raises to let wort/beer in, and when you lift it out of the liquid the valve prevents the liquid from spilling out. To release the liquid you just touch the tip to the side of your carboy or hydrometer tube, whichever you prefer, and it will release it into the vessel.
My first time using it was really easy. My only problems were a little bit of a drip from the valve at the tip and keeping the tube straight up and down to let the float freely to take a reading. The dripping wasn’t enough to make a mess or screw with my brew day at all, I just kept the thief inside my fermenter while I took the reading. I was able to get my reading the first time I used it:
but today I decided to just put the wort from my brown porter into the test tube and take it from there. Maybe I just need a bit of practice keeping it level or I could even try wearing both shoes…
Overall, I am happy with the purchase. It isn’t a game changer but I do prefer it to the 3-piece wine thief that came with my starter kit.
One more thing. If don’t have two hydrometers in your arsenal, I recommend you buy another hydrometer! Some people have them last years, some go through a few a year. Mine broke when I was cleaning up after my last brew day and I was happy I had another one at the ready.