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Brews & Views Bulletin Board Service * Brews and Views Archive 2006 * Archive through December 05, 2006 * Suggestions for water proof thermometer < Previous Next >

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Tom Meier
Intermediate Member
Username: Brewdawg96

Post Number: 422
Registered: 03-2003
Posted From: 74.241.154.188
Posted on Tuesday, November 21, 2006 - 05:19 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I need a suggestion for a real good battle tested water proof thermometer for double checking mash and strike water temps..

I have had some bad luck with the taylor kitchen probes lately suddenly reading 10 degrees too high. And two of the LHBS's floating thermometers I bought didn't even agree to each within 4 degrees; didn't notice until I got home.

Money is no object! I would pay $100 if I knew that I could always depend on it to be right.

Unless my house is in a pressure vessel I doubt my water boils at 224F.
 

Ken Anderson
Senior Member
Username: Ken75

Post Number: 1800
Registered: 11-2002
Posted From: 69.168.130.193
Posted on Tuesday, November 21, 2006 - 05:51 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

This is the guy that gets the most press, though I don't own one myself.
http://www.vwrsp.com/catalog/product/index.cgi?object_id=0013422
 

Rob Farrell
Intermediate Member
Username: Robf

Post Number: 341
Registered: 02-2003
Posted From: 69.138.242.154
Posted on Tuesday, November 21, 2006 - 10:55 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I own one. It's a nice, yet somewhat fragile, thermometer. Not truly waterproof; if I let the plastic insulation get wet, the readings get flaky. But twice I've fixed that by a few seconds in a hot oven (probe and cord only.) The plastic is a little melted, but that adds to the charm of the brewery
 

Little Dipper
Member
Username: Littledipper

Post Number: 138
Registered: 02-2004
Posted From: 206.114.61.199
Posted on Tuesday, November 21, 2006 - 12:08 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

There are a bunch of threads that explain the success and failures others have had with that thermometer (myself included). I'm on my 2nd one and have taken a few precautions to make my current to make it last a little longer. I've wrapped the cord in teflon tubing (a part we use at work) and caulked the seam where the metal probe meets the plastic casing. Then, rather than dropping my thermometer into liquids, I built thermowells out of flexible copper tubing made straight. Basically, the copper tube attaches to the lids of all my vessels, is sealed off at one end, and drops right down into the liquid. Then when I need a temperature, I just drop the probe down in the thermowell. It's worked well for roughly a dozen batches so far.
 

robert rulmyr
Advanced Member
Username: Wacobob

Post Number: 832
Registered: 02-2003
Posted From: 24.155.7.36
Posted on Tuesday, November 21, 2006 - 12:25 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Yes! Thermowells, homemade or store bought.
 

Geoff Buschur
Senior Member
Username: Avmech

Post Number: 1345
Registered: 06-2004
Posted From: 208.8.57.2
Posted on Tuesday, November 21, 2006 - 01:38 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

If BP were here he would say, "There's an old saying: a man with two clocks never knows what time it is."

That said, you need one high quality very accurate thermometer (http://morebeer.com/product.html?product_id=18678 and http://morebeer.com/product.html?product_id=18679) that you occasionally use to check your other thermometers at. Then get as many of these (http://morebeer.com/product.html?product_id=18682) that you need and calibrate them to the temperatures that they will be working at. For example I have two, one in the HLT and one in the MT. Make each thermometer dedicated to its intended job and calibrate it to the temps you will be using it at. My HLT thermometer is calibrated to 170F and my MT thermometer is calibrated to 150F.

Forget about the digital, you will only spend more money replacing it. I think I have gone through at least 10 digital thermometers, including two from the above link.
"I've been drunk for 14 years...my judgment isn't what it used to be."
 

dhacker
Advanced Member
Username: Dhacker

Post Number: 583
Registered: 11-2002
Posted From: 74.226.104.40
Posted on Tuesday, November 21, 2006 - 01:54 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Funny, I just got one of the . . http://morebeer.com/product.html?product_id=18682 thermometers for the Orville 'N Wilbur mash tun for this weekends trial run. I'll use a type "K" thermocouple when I get the entire system finished . . someday.

Best I can tell on this Fermentap Thermo, there is no way to calibrate it. I hope it's accurate.
 

Geoff Buschur
Senior Member
Username: Avmech

Post Number: 1346
Registered: 06-2004
Posted From: 208.8.57.2
Posted on Tuesday, November 21, 2006 - 02:11 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

The thermometer you linked to is calibratable. The hex on the back side of the dial is held with a wrench or pliers while the dial is rotated with your fingers.
"I've been drunk for 14 years...my judgment isn't what it used to be."
 

michael atkins
Intermediate Member
Username: Mga

Post Number: 469
Registered: 11-2003
Posted From: 71.214.27.197
Posted on Tuesday, November 21, 2006 - 02:18 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Tom - I have two of these that I use in my mash tuns (for my double system). I find them to be very accurate. As for water proof, I don't know, but I have abused them. Bought them at "Cabellas".

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00004S4U0/ref=nosim?tag=themichaelupdate&creative=3734 89&camp=211189&link_code=as3&creativeASIN=B00004S4U0
Love This Hobby!

http://msnusers.com/micksbrewery
 

Steve Sampson
Intermediate Member
Username: Sampsosm

Post Number: 284
Registered: 10-2003
Posted From: 129.137.216.243
Posted on Tuesday, November 21, 2006 - 03:22 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I never trust digital thermometers, why? I have no idea, but they just seem to be WAY too sensitive.

If I were you, I would go ahead and buy the mercury thermometer from B3, and just be very careful not to break it while using it. They are far more dependable than a digital, judging from all the stories I read on these boards.
 

Little Dipper
Member
Username: Littledipper

Post Number: 140
Registered: 02-2004
Posted From: 206.114.61.199
Posted on Tuesday, November 21, 2006 - 04:33 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I have the 'lab thermometer' from Northern Brewer's thermometer page. It's only like $7, so I'm guessing it's not mercury in there. Is that a good enough thermometer to calibrate with or is a mercury filled one that much better? Thanks.
 

Bob Boufford
Intermediate Member
Username: Bobb

Post Number: 351
Registered: 03-2003
Posted From: 129.128.11.184
Posted on Tuesday, November 21, 2006 - 07:59 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Like Geoff and others, I've given up on digital thermometers and have gone back to the Fermtap bi-metallic dial thermometers. I drilled small holes into the tops of my 5 gallon coolers used for HLT and MT. Works great.

While mercury thermometers are usually the most accurate, the mercury in them is considered a hazardous material and best not used for regular brewing but kept stored away except when calibrating dial thermometers.
 

Ken Anderson
Senior Member
Username: Ken75

Post Number: 1803
Registered: 11-2002
Posted From: 69.168.130.193
Posted on Tuesday, November 21, 2006 - 08:15 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

For a while I was pimping an inexpensive digital probe kitchen thermometer. I have to fess up and admit that two of them have taken a crap on me. It caused me to screw up an infusion mash, and thus the beer.
For now, I have been using a glass thermometer. At least I feel you can trust them.
 

Skotrat
Senior Member
Username: Skotrat

Post Number: 2435
Registered: 04-2003
Posted From: 24.128.118.170
Posted on Tuesday, November 21, 2006 - 08:24 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I agree on the glass Therm.

I have a couple digitals but I trust the old trusty glass therm to last longer
"Payday came and with it beer"
- Rudyard Kipling
 

Denny Conn
Senior Member
Username: Denny

Post Number: 6037
Registered: 01-2001
Posted From: 140.211.82.4
Posted on Tuesday, November 21, 2006 - 08:29 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I use an inexpensive round faced metal thermometer. It's waterproof and you can calibrate it.

Most of the time, a lab thermo is not a calibration thermo. A calibration thermo will be certified to be accurate.
LIfe begins at 60...1.060, that is.
 

Chris Vejnovich
Advanced Member
Username: Cjv85vmax

Post Number: 528
Registered: 06-2003
Posted From: 139.55.239.24
Posted on Tuesday, November 21, 2006 - 10:25 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Correct me if I am wrong here but....

Can't one simply cal the dial thermos like the ones linked above by doing a simple two point cal before your brew day. Another words place the prob in a glass of mostly ice and a little water for about 5 minutes and then read and adjust. Then place the probe in a small pan of boiling water and adjust. If you know your altitude you can easily find out at what temp your water boils. For most of use I imagine that is 212F.

Just a thought.

Oh, and BTW, IMHO those grocery store digitals with the stainless probes are crap. I ruined 2-3 of them at 19.95 a piece before I bought my nice dial thermo. I should have just bought two nice dial thermos.

Good luck.
 

Ken Anderson
Senior Member
Username: Ken75

Post Number: 1805
Registered: 11-2002
Posted From: 69.168.130.193
Posted on Tuesday, November 21, 2006 - 10:38 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I have a couple of those dial jobbies that came with the two fryers I bought. The only part of those kits that I use are the burners! You guys think the dial thermometers that come with the fryers will do the trick? Is that what you're talking about?

Ken
 

Tom Meier
Intermediate Member
Username: Brewdawg96

Post Number: 425
Registered: 03-2003
Posted From: 72.154.230.187
Posted on Wednesday, November 22, 2006 - 03:05 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Ken,
I think they are talking about the fermentap, better made bimetal thermometer, with narrower range than a turkey fryer one.

All,
Thanks for the tips.

well , I was hoping to spend $40 on a cadillac electronic and be done with this damn thermometer issue...

I have tried most of the above suggestions. The cheap $5 floating glass thermometers I trust the most; but they are off and I hate having to do math when reading them (subtract 4 from this one, and 5 from this one). And I broke one.


If one has to build a thermowell for a "waterproof" thermometer like the VWR it just seems like it would be too hard to handle. got a thermowell, a probe, a 10ft cable, and the little lollipop readout.

so far, I like Geoffs suggestion of the nice calibrated thermometer with armored casing. I can at least use my kitchen ones to alarm strike/sparge water when close, and dial in the temp with a nice bimetal calibrated one, then every so often check with the mercury one..
 

Richard Nye
Senior Member
Username: Yeasty_boy

Post Number: 1789
Registered: 01-2004
Posted From: 68.4.202.69
Posted on Wednesday, November 22, 2006 - 04:04 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Tom, I also did the cheapo digital thermometer route and was disappointed. Then I went on ebay and bought a Fluke digital thermometer for like, $60 (used). That thing is bullet proof. It comes with a SS probe (about 10" long) that I can check mash temps with. I wasted my money on the cheap ones.

Just do a search on "Fluke thermometer"
 

Richard Nye
Senior Member
Username: Yeasty_boy

Post Number: 1790
Registered: 01-2004
Posted From: 68.4.202.69
Posted on Wednesday, November 22, 2006 - 04:05 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Oh, while you're at it, check out the accuracy on the cheapo thermometers. It's like +/- 2F!! The Fluke is more accurate and has a 0.2F resolution.
 

Pivo Cerveza
Junior Member
Username: Pivo

Post Number: 30
Registered: 03-2003
Posted From: 71.212.125.38
Posted on Wednesday, November 22, 2006 - 05:13 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I agree with the Fluke suggestion. If you're okay with spending a few bucks, a really good thermocouple is hard to beat. Another great digital thermometer is made by Atkins. I have a model 330 that I picked up on ebay for about $50 and it has been great.
 

Denny Conn
Senior Member
Username: Denny

Post Number: 6038
Registered: 01-2001
Posted From: 140.211.82.4
Posted on Monday, November 27, 2006 - 06:13 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I've found that you can have a thermo that's on at freezing and boiling, but off at mash temps...unless you mash at 32F or 212F! I really prefer to calibrate in the mash temp range.

Ken, I've found that the thermos that come with turkey fryers generally have too wide a range to use for brewing.
LIfe begins at 60...1.060, that is.
 

Brad Petit
Member
Username: Voodoobrew

Post Number: 168
Registered: 06-2005
Posted From: 69.22.8.86
Posted on Monday, November 27, 2006 - 07:40 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

>Ken, I've found that the thermos that come with turkey fryers generally have too wide a range to use for brewing.

What, you don't mash at 400*???
 

Ken Anderson
Senior Member
Username: Ken75

Post Number: 1818
Registered: 11-2002
Posted From: 69.168.130.193
Posted on Monday, November 27, 2006 - 07:52 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

"What, you don't mash at 400*???"

I think I'll try that. The math tells me it will shorten the mash time to 27 seconds. Always looking for those shortcuts!
 

Chris Vejnovich
Advanced Member
Username: Cjv85vmax

Post Number: 530
Registered: 06-2003
Posted From: 139.55.239.24
Posted on Monday, November 27, 2006 - 10:38 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Good point Denny...but I suppose it also talks of the quality of a thermomter if it will not read mash temps correctly after a two point cal. I bet if a brewer buys a lab quality bimetal thermo then a good two point cal is all you need.

Chemistry labs all across the country at major universities use two point cals all the time. Just a thought.
 

Wayne Faris
Junior Member
Username: Wayne

Post Number: 99
Registered: 11-2005
Posted From: 68.113.179.79
Posted on Tuesday, November 28, 2006 - 03:15 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I use the bi-metal thermometer that Williams sells with the 2" dial and 12" stem. I calibrate it with a glass/mercury lab thermometer at mash temps (150) every couple of months. Actually, I just check the calibration, haven't had to adjust it in over a year.

Wayne
Bugeater Brewing Company
http://www.lincolnlagers.com/
 

Tom Meier
Intermediate Member
Username: Brewdawg96

Post Number: 431
Registered: 03-2003
Posted From: 70.157.38.74
Posted on Tuesday, November 28, 2006 - 05:28 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I thought I posted this a couple days ago but it didn't go through.

Anyway, I decided on the mercury NIST traceable from More Beer with the metal sheathing. Should be here next week via Bangkok.

Got a bitmetal thermometer from LHBS for $12.95, and a spirit filled one too for like $6. I checked both in a vigorous boil and according to weather report for barometric pressure at the time (30.33" Hg) and my elevation (620 feet), my boiling point was 211.5 deg F. Bimetal was off 3 deg and spirit filled was off by 0.6 deg (close enough for me!).

Since the temp in a sparge water tank should be fairly consistent I plant to spot check my bimetal calibration each time by checking strike temp with the bimetal and mercury.

BTW my other electronic went ape during brewday Sunday and is now off by 15 deg F.. as they say in mexico, pedaza de mierda (POS). Hmm, no censors on the spanish, oye cabron
 

Ken Anderson
Senior Member
Username: Ken75

Post Number: 1821
Registered: 11-2002
Posted From: 69.168.130.193
Posted on Tuesday, November 28, 2006 - 05:55 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Even though a person calibrates their thermometer, what guarantee is there of accuracy? I mean, you could take a $10 thermometer and calibrate it, but what assurance of repeatability does that give you?
 

Tom Meier
Intermediate Member
Username: Brewdawg96

Post Number: 432
Registered: 03-2003
Posted From: 70.157.38.74
Posted on Tuesday, November 28, 2006 - 06:33 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

good point. I will be banking on the fact that
a) at least the strike water will be measured and confirmed with traceable accurate thermometer and

b) the bimetal will be calibrated each brew, and I will know quickly if it is repeatable or not
 

Richard Nye
Senior Member
Username: Yeasty_boy

Post Number: 1807
Registered: 01-2004
Posted From: 68.4.202.69
Posted on Tuesday, November 28, 2006 - 03:02 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I have one of those NIST mercury thermometers and metal sheaths from B3 also. Problem with those is they're hard to read, and if you take them out of the liquid to read them they cool off. But they're good for the occasional use of calibrating other thermometers.

BTW, my thermometer from B3 had a small gap in the mercury. If that happens to you, just put in in some crushed up dry ice for a while. The mercury will collect in the well at the bottom and fix the gap.
 

Mike McNeil
Member
Username: Macster

Post Number: 233
Registered: 03-2003
Posted From: 76.18.211.142
Posted on Wednesday, November 29, 2006 - 04:14 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I have to agree with Rich. I recently purchased the same mercury NIST thermometer and metal sheath from B3 and was surprised how difficult they are to read.

I'll have to double check on the gap in the Hg. I do recall that B3 did get a batch of these thermometers that had this problem. I didn't notice it in mine the time I used it to calibrate my bi-metal.

BTW, FWIT - stay away from the digitals. A good bimetal that you can adjust is a better buy. Check out www.tel-tru.com.
 

Randy McCord
Advanced Member
Username: Mccord

Post Number: 621
Registered: 02-2003
Posted From: 204.42.25.244
Posted on Wednesday, November 29, 2006 - 04:38 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I always use and calibrate with the glass one that came with my first beer kit that was purchased back around 1996. If you think that's unreal, I still have my original hydrometer.

I've broken other thermos and hydros that I purchased later, but my originals are still going and I trust them.