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General Category => Equipment and Software => Topic started by: pitbull on January 19, 2011, 04:46:53 AM

Title: Sight Gauge
Post by: pitbull on January 19, 2011, 04:46:53 AM
Looking to add a sight gauge to my boil tun. It's a converted keg. Any suggestions on where to buy and mount?
Title: Re: Sight Gauge
Post by: oscarvan on January 19, 2011, 05:47:11 AM
After exhaustive research I found the best deal HERE (http://www.brewhardware.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=49:weldless-sight-glass-kit&catid=36:weldess&Itemid=60).

So far so good.

Title: Re: Sight Gauge
Post by: phillamb168 on January 19, 2011, 07:12:51 AM
After exhaustive research I found the best deal HERE (http://www.brewhardware.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=49:weldless-sight-glass-kit&catid=36:weldess&Itemid=60).

So far so good.



Did you buy this? If so, how'd you like it? Unfortunately they don't ship internationally ("too much paperwork" is always a super lame excuse in my opinion) so before I have it shipped twice (to my dad, then he sends it to me) I wanna make sure it's a good solution. Does it seem like it'd fit any size kettle? I'd probably order the sight glass/thermometer combo, as it seems neat.
Title: Re: Sight Gauge
Post by: Mark G on January 19, 2011, 12:42:56 PM
After exhaustive research I found the best deal HERE (http://www.brewhardware.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=49:weldless-sight-glass-kit&catid=36:weldess&Itemid=60).

So far so good.



Did you buy this? If so, how'd you like it? Unfortunately they don't ship internationally ("too much paperwork" is always a super lame excuse in my opinion) so before I have it shipped twice (to my dad, then he sends it to me) I wanna make sure it's a good solution. Does it seem like it'd fit any size kettle? I'd probably order the sight glass/thermometer combo, as it seems neat.
I have two of these, one for a converted keg and one for a 10 gal kettle. Both fit great and are top notch quality.
Title: Re: Sight Gauge
Post by: oscarvan on January 19, 2011, 02:00:16 PM
Yup, bought it. Good craftsmanship, good materials. Great deal.
Title: Re: Sight Gauge
Post by: pitbull on January 19, 2011, 02:20:29 PM
Thanks Oscarvan...sure is cheaper than more beer.
Title: Re: Sight Gauge
Post by: bearcat on January 19, 2011, 05:49:14 PM
Before you spend the Cash.. have you considered not putting it on?  Another option would be to use a calibrated stick/rod from a fixed point in the converted keg.   There are advantages/likes dislikes for both of course,  but I like the simplicity and less cleaning factor...   
Title: Re: Sight Gauge
Post by: pitbull on January 19, 2011, 06:43:17 PM
Yeah bearcat, I have marks etched on the inside of the kettle. But during the boil they are really hard to see. The less cleaning is a good point....but 30 bucks shipped was to good to pass up...
Thanks for help guys..
cheers
Title: Re: Sight Gauge
Post by: oscarvan on January 19, 2011, 07:44:54 PM
For the record I only put a sight glass on the HLT. Then calibrated it an marked the sight glass with a marker. For my kettle I use a large stir paddle with calibrations on it. (I'm looking up at the HLT, and down at the kettle....)
Title: Re: Sight Gauge
Post by: bobby_m on February 22, 2011, 08:43:59 PM
Oh, Hi. I'm the owner of brewhardware.com and I just wanted to mention that I do, in fact, ship internationally. There was a brief time during the holidays, and shortly afterwards, where order volume was so high that I couldn't justify standing in line at the post office to ship. I'm sorry if that seemed like a lame excuse, but I can drop off 30 domestic shipments in 3 minutes, but it can take up to 30 minutes to stand in line with the customs form, just to ship a single international package.

If anyone has any questions, please feel free to ask.

Bobby
brewhardware.com
Title: Re: Sight Gauge
Post by: glastctbrew on February 22, 2011, 10:20:05 PM
Just thought I'd out in my 2 cents.  I installed one of Bobby's (brewhardware.com) sight glasses on my HLT.  Installation and calibration was a breeze. Its a solid addition to my HLT and makes brew day much easier.  Make sure you view his installation video.  It covers all those little details you don't think of until you're in the middle of the install.
Title: Re: Sight Gauge
Post by: stadelman on February 22, 2011, 10:48:24 PM
I have a sight gauge from brewhardware.com and it's great.  Outstanding customer service as well!
Title: Re: Sight Gauge
Post by: denny on February 22, 2011, 11:13:23 PM
Damn you guys...you're gonna make me buy one of these!
Title: Re: Sight Gauge
Post by: maxieboy on February 23, 2011, 12:08:15 AM
Damn you guys...you're gonna make me buy one of these!

+1
They look to be a quality piece. Now with the reviews, I'm gonna have to pull the trigger.
Title: Re: Sight Gauge
Post by: oscarvan on February 23, 2011, 03:03:55 AM
After a few brews with this thing I can only underline my previous opinion....

It works, it works well and for less than all the other guys.

That's about it.
Title: Re: Sight Gauge
Post by: tschmidlin on February 23, 2011, 06:48:07 AM
I just don't get the need for a sight glass.  One more thing to clean when a marked stick does the job just as well.  Am I missing something?
Title: Re: Sight Gauge
Post by: phillamb168 on February 23, 2011, 09:57:22 AM
Oh, Hi. I'm the owner of brewhardware.com and I just wanted to mention that I do, in fact, ship internationally. There was a brief time during the holidays, and shortly afterwards, where order volume was so high that I couldn't justify standing in line at the post office to ship. I'm sorry if that seemed like a lame excuse, but I can drop off 30 domestic shipments in 3 minutes, but it can take up to 30 minutes to stand in line with the customs form, just to ship a single international package.

If anyone has any questions, please feel free to ask.

Bobby
brewhardware.com

I'm sure it can be annoying to do, but isn't that what interns are for?
Title: Re: Sight Gauge
Post by: phillamb168 on February 23, 2011, 10:01:10 AM
FWIW that Refractometer is wayyyy cheaper than anything I can buy here. Love it.
Title: Re: Sight Gauge
Post by: phillamb168 on February 23, 2011, 10:19:29 AM
Or not. $100 for shipping! I've never seen shipping prices that high.
Title: Re: Sight Gauge
Post by: oscarvan on February 24, 2011, 04:06:51 AM
I just don't get the need for a sight glass.  One more thing to clean when a marked stick does the job just as well.  Am I missing something?

I have one on my HLT which is up high. I have a water pipe that runs in there, and all I have to do is open the valve and watch the gauge. It is convenient.
Title: Re: Sight Gauge
Post by: glastctbrew on February 24, 2011, 04:31:22 AM
I just don't get the need for a sight glass.  One more thing to clean when a marked stick does the job just as well.  Am I missing something?

Similar to Oscarvan, my HLT is up high.  To use a dip stick I have to climb up a step ladder.  So much easier to just watch the sight gage as I fill it with a hose equipped with a ball valve.
Title: Re: Sight Gauge
Post by: tschmidlin on February 24, 2011, 06:41:13 AM
For the HLT in your setups it makes sense, plus I wouldn't even bother cleaning it then.  But I stand on a step ladder with a hose to fill it anyway, so I can see how full it is.  I thought you guys were using them for the boil or the mash tun.
Title: Re: Sight Gauge
Post by: alikocho on February 24, 2011, 07:41:03 AM
Or not. $100 for shipping! I've never seen shipping prices that high.

I got the exact same model of refractometer for a similar price in Europe via a well known auction site, without that much in shipping.
Title: Re: Sight Gauge
Post by: oscarvan on February 25, 2011, 02:40:07 AM
For the HLT in your setups it makes sense, plus I wouldn't even bother cleaning it then.  But I stand on a step ladder with a hose to fill it anyway, so I can see how full it is.  I thought you guys were using them for the boil or the mash tun.

Nope. And indeed, I don't clean it. All that goes in there is water. I put a dust lid on top if I do dusty things in the barn. I do drain it down to it's lowest level when I'm done.
Title: Re: Sight Gauge
Post by: bluesman on February 25, 2011, 02:58:34 AM
I just don't get the need for a sight glass.  One more thing to clean when a marked stick does the job just as well.  Am I missing something?

I have one on my HLT which is up high. I have a water pipe that runs in there, and all I have to do is open the valve and watch the gauge. It is convenient.

+1

I used to use a measuring stick which worked fine but now that I have Blichmann's with sight glasses and I find it much more convenient to use and they're easy to clean.
Title: Re: Sight Gauge
Post by: bobby_m on March 01, 2011, 03:44:02 PM
Or not. $100 for shipping! I've never seen shipping prices that high.

Any country that I haven't set up an international shipping rate for will default to $100. You could have contacted me and asked for a shipping quote. I'm setup for Canada and Australia right now but will add any country to the list by request. The reason I can't just blanket every country in the shipping profiles is that the actual cost is wildly different from country to country. In other words, I'm not going to spend time setting up a profile for a country I may never ship to.
Title: Re: Sight Gauge
Post by: bobby_m on March 01, 2011, 03:52:18 PM
For the HLT in your setups it makes sense, plus I wouldn't even bother cleaning it then.  But I stand on a step ladder with a hose to fill it anyway, so I can see how full it is.  I thought you guys were using them for the boil or the mash tun.

Tom, many people wonder the same thing and I get repeated emails about it. Here's what I put in my FAQ:

There are all kinds of alternatives to installing a sight glass. You can brew without them. When I first started all grain brewing, I simply measured all my liquid volumes in a spare bucket that had gallon markings printed on the side. That was fine for smaller batches at a time when I transfered everything with a bucket. After you start pumping from one vessel to the next or gravity draining, the use of a bucket is a waste of time.

A lot of brewers also create calibrated dip sticks (or story sticks) that you drop into the vessel to read the level. In the case of a boil kettle, you'll need the level to last for a minute so that you can remove it to read because a constant stream of steam makes it hard to see into the boil kettle.  Also, if you use a tiered system where the hot liquor tank is up high, it's a pain to climb up a step stool to watch the level as you drain it. The basic story here is that a sight glass is a matter of convenience, not necessity.  However, Now that I'm used to it, I don't think I could brew on my system without one.


The one anecdote I like is that I've heard of several people without sight glasses on the HLT and BK suggest they are a waste of money and cleaning effort. However, I have never heard of a single person who has them installed agree with that. You might attribute it to self serving delusion but I don't think so.
Title: Re: Sight Gauge
Post by: bobby_m on March 01, 2011, 03:55:07 PM
Damn you guys...you're gonna make me buy one of these!

Denny, seriously brother, if you want one it's yours gratis. I'll even hand deliver it to San Diego in June.
Title: Re: Sight Gauge
Post by: tschmidlin on March 01, 2011, 05:12:28 PM
Also, if you use a tiered system where the hot liquor tank is up high, it's a pain to climb up a step stool to watch the level as you drain it.
I don't watch the level as I drain my HLT, so maybe that's the problem :)
Title: Re: Sight Gauge
Post by: maxieboy on March 01, 2011, 05:16:35 PM
Damn you guys...you're gonna make me buy one of these!

Denny, seriously brother, if you want one it's yours gratis. I'll even hand deliver it to San Diego in June.

Doggone celebrities and their gift bags... ;D
Title: Re: Sight Gauge
Post by: Pi on March 01, 2011, 05:20:09 PM
I tried using a polycarbonate tube for my HLT but it got soft when I heated to sparge temp 180*. I was led to believe polycarbonate was stable up to 250*. What gives?
Title: Re: Sight Gauge
Post by: glastctbrew on March 01, 2011, 05:45:53 PM
I tried using a polycarbonate tube for my HLT but it got soft when I heated to sparge temp 180*. I was led to believe polycarbonate was stable up to 250*. What gives?

Are you using something to shield the gauge from the heat of the burner?  A lot of heat flows up the side of the kettle, more than enough to soften up a polycarbonate tube.  I use a piece of sheet metal to shield the tube, ball valve and thermometer from the heat.  It just pushes the heat further out from the kettle and safely past the equipment hanging off the side of my HLT and BK.
Title: Re: Sight Gauge
Post by: rabid_dingo on March 02, 2011, 03:46:02 AM
I wanted to share this link earlier but I just got it. Good reviews from my friend who went this route. I
already had on on my kettle so I have no imput but check it out.

DIY Sight Glass (http://backyardbrewer.blogspot.com/2009/04/make-your-own-keggle-sight-glass.html)
Title: Re: Sight Gauge
Post by: Pi on March 02, 2011, 10:54:32 PM
I tried using the Polycarbonate as a dip stick once in my BK  and it came out as a limp noodle. I thought it was rated to 250*?
No worries. I ordered a 3/4" glass sight tube yesterday from McMaster Carr. it came today already. Gonna play around with it tonight. Hoping to get (at least) 1 liter graduations with the larger tube.
Title: Re: Sight Gauge
Post by: bobby_m on March 03, 2011, 04:34:39 AM
Are you sure you weren't using a racking cane? Racking canes are usually made of acrylic which has a much lower melting point. Polycarbonate doesn't get soft until it gets to about 350F. If it got soft at 180, I would have received HUNDREDS of returns and 100% negative reviews which is obviously not the case.
Title: Re: Sight Gauge
Post by: Pi on March 03, 2011, 02:15:27 PM
THAT'S IT!!!
I WAS using a racking cane; I did not know it was acrylic. My bad. I installed the glass sight tube last night but it is good to know what the problem was. Thanks for clearing that up for me.
Title: Re: Sight Gauge
Post by: quest4watneys on March 03, 2011, 02:32:01 PM
Oh, Hi. I'm the owner of brewhardware.com and I just wanted to mention that I do, in fact, ship internationally. There was a brief time during the holidays, and shortly afterwards, where order volume was so high that I couldn't justify standing in line at the post office to ship. I'm sorry if that seemed like a lame excuse, but I can drop off 30 domestic shipments in 3 minutes, but it can take up to 30 minutes to stand in line with the customs form, just to ship a single international package.

If anyone has any questions, please feel free to ask.
Bobby
brewhardware.com

Hey Bobby. I work for the USPS and just wanted to let you know that you can get everything you need for international shipping  with the USPS online right here http://www.usps.com/international/customs.htm (http://www.usps.com/international/customs.htm) You can have the forms sent to you free of charge or you can pickup a hand full next time you're at the P.O. I believe you can even print them using the online service as well.  Then just request a carrier pickup free of charge  :)
Title: Re: Sight Gauge
Post by: denny on March 03, 2011, 04:00:35 PM
See, this is one of the things that makes this forum so great.  We have people here from all walks of life, but all with a common purpose and everyone helps everyone else.