HOMEBREW Digest #4981 Fri 24 March 2006

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  carbonation with dry ice ("Peter A. Ensminger")
  Thermometers (Thomas Rohner)
  RE:  Dry Ice (Bill Tobler)
  RE:  Thermometers ("David Houseman")
  RE:  Thermometer ("Michael Hartsock")
  RE: Thermometers ("Mike Sharp")

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---------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: Fri, 24 Mar 2006 01:35:14 -0500 From: "Peter A. Ensminger" <ensmingr at twcny.rr.com> Subject: carbonation with dry ice Using dry ice to carbonate. Good idea! When I was a kid, I remember dropping dry ice into my Hawaii Punch to make instant soda pop. Worked great. It would be nice to drop some dry ice into a corny keg for instant carbonation of beer. This led me to ask ... * Is commercial dry ice "food grade"? It seems that (at least) some of it is, since foods, drugs, and other consumables are routinely shipped in dry ice packing. * Is the CO2 in the tanks that I now use to carbonate my beer "food grade"? I buy from a welding supply shop. Peter A. Ensminger Syracuse, NY Beer data: http://hbd.org/ensmingr/ Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 24 Mar 2006 08:19:58 +0100 From: Thomas Rohner <t.rohner at bluewin.ch> Subject: Thermometers Hi all i have read those thermometer postings. I am using a Greisinger GTH 175/PT for years. It's a precision handheld unit and you can even have it certified. I did a test with 2 of these units and a fever thermometer in around 40 celsius waterbath. They were accurate to 0.1 celsius(all three showed exactly the same value!!!). It measuers from -199.9 to 199.9 celsius with a resolution of 0.1 the accuracy is 0.1 or 1 digit over the whole range. I don't know if they produce a farenheit version, or if they sell it in the US. They are sold here by conrad and others for around 55$. It's not a cheepo throwaway item, rather a reference unit you can trust. Cheers Thomas Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 24 Mar 2006 04:47:05 -0600 From: Bill Tobler <brewbetter at houston.rr.com> Subject: RE: Dry Ice Doug asks about using dry ice to cool and carbonate your beer. I did my "Fun with Dry Ice" experiments when I first started making beer. I had a free source at work so I first started playing around with 20 ounce plastic Coke bottles and cold water. After blowing up a few under controlled conditions, I started cutting back on the dry ice until the bottles stopped blowing up. PLEASE, DO NOT PLAY AROUND WITH DRY ICE AND GLASS BOTTLES! You will make glass bombs and hurt yourself. I don't remember the exact amount of dry ice for a 20 ounce plastic bottle, but it was around 3 to 3.5 grams with about a one inch headspace. (This was using cold water) The bottle gets rock hard, and I have to admit it was scary and I would not suggest holding the bottle. We always put the bottle in the sink under a 5 gallon bucket. Add a little lemon to the water and it makes for a nice carbonated water drink. I brought some dry ice home and adjusted the amount for a 1L plastic bottle with some uncarbonated beer, the bottle started getting way too hard so I put it in the sink under a bucket and a few minutes later it blew up, beer everywhere but mostly contained in the bucket. That ended my "Fun with Dry Ice" days and now I just use it on Halloween night to make smoke. As far as cooling and carbonating at the same time, I think you have to use way too much dry ice to cool the beer without over carbonating. Bill Tobler Lake Jackson, TX (1129.2, 219.9) Apparent Rennerian Brewing Great Beer in South Texas Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 24 Mar 2006 07:47:58 -0500 From: "David Houseman" <david.houseman at verizon.net> Subject: RE: Thermometers Dave, The calibration procedures are well known and even recently published in BYO or Zymurgy. I've used these procedures a number of times. The problem as I've found it is that thermometers, particularly the bi-metal probe thermometers, are not linear. While the heat capacity of water may be constant across the range, the linearity of the thermometers is not. Get them aligned at 32oF and they are off at boiling; get them aligned at boiling and they are off at 32oF. A known reference in the important brewing range would be much more helpful. Mixing 32oF and 212oF water is some proportion is close but some heat is lost in the process. So the temperature is not really known. Calibrated thermocouple probe thermometers are likely the most accurate, so that's what I end up using as my "standard." Luckily brewing is very forgiving and exact temperatures are not necessary, IMHO. All we have to be is close enough..... Dave Houseman Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 24 Mar 2006 09:58:26 -0600 From: "Michael Hartsock" <mdhxtd at mizzou.edu> Subject: RE: Thermometer First off, I recommend this item from cynmar, 096-01795. It is a waterproof, calibrateable, with a digital readout. I have a similar item and I'm very happy with it. What everyone has said about the probe thermometers is on point. I think I solved the problem, though. I took a long piece of electrical wire shrink wrap and wrapped the wire from the back of the probe on up. This keeps condensation and liquid out of the business end of the probe. Of course, the shrink wrap is no food grade, but I couldn't immerse the wire anyway, so no bother. Otherwise, I bought some alcohol filled immersion glass thermometers from www.cynmar.com No affiliation, but they are an excellent supply for all things scientific with reasonable prices and they sell small quantites to individuals. The rub is that it is not typically professional lab grade stuff, rather, the equipment and supplies are designed for school labs. But hey, I'm not doing pharmacological testing, I'm making beer! School grade is fine by me. Mike Columbia, MO Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 24 Mar 2006 12:06:32 -0800 From: "Mike Sharp" <rdcpro at hotmail.com> Subject: RE: Thermometers I wasn't going to reply to this thread, but I didn't see the response I was expecting. I purchased a fairly high accuracy glass/mercury lab thermometer. You can tell if it's a good one, if it has a line indicating it's immersion depth. Mine also has a ground glass taper, for certain sizes of flasks. Anyway, it's pretty fragile, so I wouldn't dream of shoving it into my mash. Instead, I calibrate my bimetal thermometers with it by filling my hydrometer flask with water near my target temperature, and inserting both thermometers into the bath, making sure the glass thermometer is inserted at the correct depth. I also make sure the bimetal thermometer is inserted into my "calibration" bath to the same depth it will be in my mash tun (it pokes through a hole in the lid). Of course, the hot water in the flask immediately starts cooling off, but the point is that both should read the same amount. My bimetal thermometers have a small hex underneath the dial. Hold the hex with a wrench, and gently adjust the dial until it matches the temp on the lab thermometer. One of the cheap bimetal dial thermometers I got from my LHBS (a real small one, and only cost a few bucks) even came with a plastic wrench attached to the plastic protective sleeve that you can use to calibrate it. The wrench also helps hold the thermometer in my nerdy plastic pocket protector, which gets a lot of comments at work. ;^) In any case, the point is not how accurate the thermometer is, but how repeatable it is at my target temperature. I don't care how accurate it is at freezing or boiling--all I care about is it's accuracy at 150F. I check it, and adjust if necessary, during the brew session. Since my thermometers are all calibrated from the same mercury thermometer, and I watch the immersion depth, and the ambient temperature is fairly consistent, I believe this is quite repeatable. I actually own a set of HyCal temperature calibration ovens, but this is so much easier to set up, I'm thinking of selling the ovens on ebay... Regards, Mike Sharp Kent, WA [1891.3, 294deg] AR Return to table of contents
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