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General Category => General Homebrew Discussion => Topic started by: oski1981 on May 24, 2010, 04:18:12 PM

Title: Thermometer broke in my brew pot
Post by: oski1981 on May 24, 2010, 04:18:12 PM
I made my first batch of beer this weekend and when I was boiling the beer i put my therometer in the pot to check the temp. The end of it broke and all the steel shot came out in the brew. Should I consider it junk now. Just in case it is still good, i did start the fermentation process and it looks to be working. I just don't know if it is going to taste bad. or even poisenous.
Title: Re: Thermometer broke in my brew pot
Post by: a10t2 on May 24, 2010, 04:26:35 PM
Is it steel or lead? Even if it's lead, I kind of doubt that's enough to do any damage, but it would be a reason for concern. If it's steel I wouldn't worry at all.
Title: Re: Thermometer broke in my brew pot
Post by: oski1981 on May 24, 2010, 04:31:30 PM
I know that it was little bb's but I'm not sure if it was lead or steel. It was boiled with the wort so hopefully that sanitized it? I'm new at this and there is a lot of talk about off flavors for different things. ??
Title: Re: Thermometer broke in my brew pot
Post by: richardt on May 24, 2010, 04:40:10 PM
The glass and steel shot--probably not, especially if you strained all of the glass and steel shot out during transfer soon after it happened.  But that's just theoretical.

I would be very concerned about heavy metal toxicity/poisoning, though.  

What if the "steel shot" was actually lead, and the thermometer made of mercury.  Even an "alcohol (or spirit) thermometer" can be toxic as the liquid can be pure ethanol or toluene or kerosene or isoamyl acetate.  Toluene and kerosene are definitely toxic and should not be ingested.  All of these alcohols are transparent and the liquid is made more visible by the addition of red or blue dyes.

In my opinion, it isn't worth your health--dump it.  Even if you do decide to go ahead and use it--it may be toxic to the yeast. 
If your fermentation isn't progressing well--that should be a sign that you shouldn't drink it, either.
Title: Re: Thermometer broke in my brew pot
Post by: evilhorse on May 24, 2010, 04:40:30 PM
Throw it away unless you are 100% sure it's not mercury.  Mercury is highly toxic
Title: Re: Thermometer broke in my brew pot
Post by: oski1981 on May 24, 2010, 04:48:28 PM
I will probably dump it then, isn't mercury liquid though? And I did start the fermentation on an experimental basis and it seems to be fermenting(bubbles coming out of the airlock. The thermometer was purchased at a beer supply store and was one of the floating kind. The person told me that I could use that type of therometer so i did'nt think this would happen.
Title: Re: Thermometer broke in my brew pot
Post by: livefreebrewfree on May 24, 2010, 04:52:45 PM
Toss the whole thing. Same rule applies here that applies in the food world. If you break glass in/on/around food, toss it. The tiniest shard of glass could cause a major problem if someone ingested it.
Title: Re: Thermometer broke in my brew pot
Post by: oski1981 on May 24, 2010, 04:58:16 PM
Great point, thank you.
Title: Re: Thermometer broke in my brew pot
Post by: richardt on May 24, 2010, 05:08:57 PM
Most floating/candy thermometers are made of glass (unless you're talking about the metal dial or digital thermometers).  
That'd be my next suggestion--get a waterproof and unbreakable thermometer (not a glass one).
http://www.chicompany.net/thermometers-460.html (http://www.chicompany.net/thermometers-460.html)  and  
http://www.homebrewtalk.com/wiki/index.php/Thermometer (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/wiki/index.php/Thermometer) shows you some various kinds you may want to consider.  I have several different kinds of them for various aspects of my brew cycle.  I bought them from my LHBS and online.

You can always replace your beer and your equipment.  
Don't risk irreversibly poisoning yourself.
Title: Re: Thermometer broke in my brew pot
Post by: riverrat on May 24, 2010, 05:10:21 PM
And in the future, go with a dial thermometer.  Much less likely to break, and easier to read.
Title: Re: Thermometer broke in my brew pot
Post by: glitterbug on May 24, 2010, 09:52:25 PM
Is it steel or lead? Even if it's lead, I kind of doubt that's enough to do any damage, but it would be a reason for concern. If it's steel I wouldn't worry at all.

I wish there was an easier way to test for the different bad metals and chemicals. I don't really trust manufacturers: cadmium metal in toy jewelery, lead in painted toys, toxic drywall, etc.

In the meantime, I'm dumping if the "unidentified metal\substance" comes into contact with my beer :)
Title: Re: Thermometer broke in my brew pot
Post by: livefreebrewfree on May 25, 2010, 04:42:51 PM
Great point, thank you.

Yeah man, it's a bummer but it's the safest bet. I was making steak one night with a great pan gravy and a wine glass broke on the counter and went flying across onto the stovetop. Had to say bye bye to a tasty (expensive) steak. But imagine pooping out a piece of broken glass, if it even got that far.