Hands On Review: American Weigh AWS-100 Digital Gram Scale – 100g x 0.01g – for homebrew hops & more

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Why a Digital Gram Scale for Homebrewing?

Homebrewers are generally weighing things in two categories.  Moderately large amounts of things – like grain – and smaller amounts of things – like hops and water salts.  Although weighing both types of things involve a scale, they are really wildly different activities.

An accurate gram scale is great for weighing smaller amounts of things like hops, water salts and smaller amounts of other ingreidents.

Features to Look for in a Homebrewing Gram Scale

  • Digital readout – most scales are digital now, so this one should not be a problem
  • The Tare Feature – Tare allows you to subtract the weight of the container you’re using to get a true weight of the contents.  Add your empty container to the scale and press the tare button.  This zeros out the scale.  Now add the thing you’re weighing and the scale displays just the weight of the contents of your container.  In my opinion the tare function is essential for any good homebrewing scale.
  • Precision – Look for a minimum of 1/10th gram precision (Example – 1.1 grams) if you’re wanting to weigh hops.  Look for a minimum of 1/100th gram precision (Example. 1.11 grams) if you’re wanting to weigh water salts.
  • Capacity – Higher precision and accuracy generally equate to lower capacity.  That’s okay, just understand what capacity you’re buying.  100 grams = about 3.52 ounces.

Hands on Review: American Weigh Model AWS-100 Digital Gram Scale

This scale has 1/100th gram resolution making it great for accurately weighing hops, small amounts of specialty grains and water salts.  It has a 100 gram (3.52 ounce) capacity.

cln_img_6812The front of the box.  Reads: Hundredth of a gram accuracy (0.01 g), 100g Maximum Capacity, Flip-Open Protective Cover, Includes two AAA, 10 Year Warranty.


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American Weigh Scale AWS-100 Digital Pocket Scale, 100g X 0.01g Resolution – note that multiple variations of this product may be available, as such a different version may appear at this link


AWS-100 Side of the box.  Reads: Capacity 100 g, Readability .01g, Power Two AAA, Platform Size 2.5 x 3″, Auto Off 60 Seconds No Activity.AWS-100Front of the scale when closed.  The protective cover is a nice feature.  You don’t want to store a scale with any weight or pressure on the platform.  The built in cover keeps that from happening.AWS-100Back of the scaleAWS-100Front of the scale when openAWS-100 Quick User GuideClose up of the inside of the protective lid built into the AWS-100.  This includes a handy Quick User Guide.  Click the picture above to zoom.

Calibrating the American Weigh Scale AWS-100

100g Calibration WeightI purchased this 100 gram Calibration weight at the same time I got the AWS-100 – search Amazon for “100 gram calibration weight”.  It’s worth picking up one of these.  You’ll see why next.
AWS-100 100 grams
The 100 gram weight reads 100.12 grams.  The manual states that “calibration and adjustment are performed at the factory.  However, the weighing range can shift slightly during shipping”.  If the scale is weighing within an acceptable tolerance the scale should be left alone.  If it is outside of tolerance, it should be calibrated.  The manual says that the tolerance for this scale is .02 grams.  .12 is 6 times acceptable tolerance.  Calibration is required.AWS-100 CalibrationTo calibrate you hold the mode button until CAL appears on the screen.  Press Mode again and it prompts you to put a 100 gram calibration weight on the platformAWS-100 calibrationPut the weight on and the… wait 🙂 and the scale will pop up pass.  I’m guessing it calibrates itself using the weight and then re-tests the weight to ensure that it’s within tolerance.  If it is… whammo… pass.AWS-100 100 gramReads 100.01 with a 100 gram calibration weightAWS-100 100 gramThis is a different 100 gram weight.  It reads right at 100.

American Weigh Scale AWS-100 Accuracy Tests

A note on accuracy: I don’t have lab quality weights.  Slight variances in accuracy tests could be a reflection of either the scale or the weight or both.  My guess is both are generally to blame.  If 1/100th (one one-hundredth) of a gram is an issue for what you’re doing… you’re going to need a lab quality scale.

AWS-100 50 gramReads 50.01 with a 50 gram calibration weightAWS-100 20 gramReads 20.00 with a 20 gram calibration weightAWS-100 10 gramReads 10.00 with a 10 gram calibration weightAWS-100 2 gramReads 2.01 with a 2 gram calibration weightAWS-100 Homebrewing reviewReads 1 with a 1 gram calibration weightAWS-100 Homebrewing reviewReads .50 with a 500 milligram calibration weightAWS-100 Homebrewing reviewReads .21 with a 200 milligram calibration weightAWS-100 Homebrewing reviewReads .11 with a 100 milligram calibration weight.  Getting a reading on this light of a weight verifies that this scale is good for both hops and water salts.  It’s not really necessary (at least in my book) to get down to tenths of a gram for hops (although it’s nice to be able to do).  It is necessary to get down to this range for water salts.AWS-100 Homebrewing reviewWeighing 28 grams (about one ounce) of calibration weights using the AWS-100.  Hops and water salts are a couple of things that I like to weigh in metric.  The other is… yeast starter wort.  That is very easy to formulate using liters and grams.  1 liter of water goes with 100 grams  DME.  If you need a .5 liter starter it would be .5 liter of water + 50 grams of DME.Tip: a US Nickel is right at 5 gramsAWS 100 sizeFor size reference… next to a 3 piece airlockAWS 100 refractometerSize reference… next to the RSG-100ATC Dual Scale Refractometer

The Tare Feature, Illustrated

cln_img_6910Weighing a stainless sample cup – search Amazon for “2.5 ounce stainless steel ramekin” – (part of my Brew Day Box).  This is a good example of the beauty of the Tare Feature.  Notice that the scale reads 39.45 grams.AWS 100 tareA press of the Tare button effectively zeroes out the scale.AWS 100 hops scaleBecause the container is subtracted, I’m weighing just the contents.  That means I have 35.22 grams of Amarillo hops here.aws-100 gram scale reviewOne thing I have wondered is… Can you weigh more than the capacity of a scale using the Tare Feature.  The answer, at least for this scale, is yes.  I put a 100 gram weight on the scale, Tared it and then put a 50 gram weight on the scale.

Conclusions

I’ve owned this since December 2014.  I can tell you that it is a great scale for homebrew use.  It had the features I was looking for in a gram scale including tare and 1/100th gram precision.  It has proven to be accurate and has held up over time.  If you’re looking for a hops and water salts scale, the AWS-100 deserves a hard look.

What are Others Saying About the AWS-100?

Search this product’s Amazon reviews for “hops” – may include reviews for other sizes or variations

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American Weigh Scale AWS-100 Digital Pocket Scale, 100g X 0.01g Resolution – note that multiple variations of this product may be available, as such a different version may appear at this link

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3 thoughts on “Hands On Review: American Weigh AWS-100 Digital Gram Scale – 100g x 0.01g – for homebrew hops & more

  1. Adam

    I’ve had the 2kg version on my wishlist for a while, but at half the price, this is still perfect for hops and other things around the kitchen (coffee, etc).

    I do want a “full grain bill” scale, my current scales are ~6lb limits.

    Are you able to differentiate who clicks through your amazon links? I’m just curious how much referral credit I’ve generated for you. 🙂

    Reply

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