Author Topic: Tired of crappy therm and hydrometer  (Read 9425 times)

Offline DrewG

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Tired of crappy therm and hydrometer
« on: May 21, 2012, 08:45:23 AM »
Calced all my stuff yesterday, and only one thermometer was correct, and it's my floater which takes 3 weeks to get a temp. Bought one digital that had to be sent back because it wouldnt calibrate, and my metal therm was off 3 degrees. Hydrometer read 1.003 at 60f in tapwater. Not surprising considering they came in my original kit, and none of that was really quality stuff.

Anyway, can anyone recommend some quality stuff?
"Well, the Mexicans got a saying - what cannot be remedied must be endured."

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Offline kylekohlmorgen

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Re: Tired of crappy therm and hydrometer
« Reply #1 on: May 21, 2012, 08:55:05 AM »
Your thermometers were "off" compared to what? What was your reference temp?
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Offline svejk

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Re: Tired of crappy therm and hydrometer
« Reply #2 on: May 21, 2012, 08:58:48 AM »
For thermometers, I have been using an Atkins 330 digital thermometer:

http://www.arrowscientific.com.au/Atkins_330.html

It has a waterproof probe and has been working flawlessly for over 5 years.  They are prohibitively expensive new, but if you watch ebay, they come up once in a while and you should be able to get it for somewhere between $30 and $50.  If mine ever stopped working, I'd get another without question.

As far as hydrometers go, I was super bummed when I broke my Brewers Edge Precision hydrometer from Williams Brewing.  Make sure you look for the word "Precision" because the one without that word doesn't look all that great.  They were out of stock up until recently, but I just checked and you can now order them again.  I'm going to order my replacement now.

Offline DrewG

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Re: Tired of crappy therm and hydrometer
« Reply #3 on: May 21, 2012, 09:10:02 AM »
Quote
Your thermometers were "off" compared to what? What was your reference temp?

Standard ice bath for 32f.
"Well, the Mexicans got a saying - what cannot be remedied must be endured."

-Barbarosa

Offline DrewG

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Re: Tired of crappy therm and hydrometer
« Reply #4 on: May 21, 2012, 09:10:44 AM »
Quote
For thermometers, I have been using an Atkins 330 digital thermometer:

http://www.arrowscientific.com.au/Atkins_330.html

It has a waterproof probe and has been working flawlessly for over 5 years.  They are prohibitively expensive new, but if you watch ebay, they come up once in a while and you should be able to get it for somewhere between $30 and $50.  If mine ever stopped working, I'd get another without question.

As far as hydrometers go, I was super bummed when I broke my Brewers Edge Precision hydrometer from Williams Brewing.  Make sure you look for the word "Precision" because the one without that word doesn't look all that great.  They were out of stock up until recently, but I just checked and you can now order them again.  I'm going to order my replacement now.

Thanks
"Well, the Mexicans got a saying - what cannot be remedied must be endured."

-Barbarosa

Offline hokerer

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Re: Tired of crappy therm and hydrometer
« Reply #5 on: May 21, 2012, 09:27:09 AM »
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Your thermometers were "off" compared to what? What was your reference temp?

Standard ice bath for 32f.

That alone doesn't really tell you a whole lot.  At the very least, also check at boiling and you may be surprised

Ideally, get a certrified reference thermometer and calibrate your others to it in the mash temp range, say 150F
Joe

Offline kylekohlmorgen

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Re: Tired of crappy therm and hydrometer
« Reply #6 on: May 21, 2012, 09:56:03 AM »
I do a one-point cal during the boil. My mash thermometer usually comes out at ~214-215F.

See if your LHBS has a calibrated water bath or something. If not, a REALLY crude alternative is to get a few of the same thermometers off the shelf and stick them in the same water. See if yours comes out somewhere in the middle.

Not scientific AT ALL, but it may give you some piece of mind.

Keep in mind that measuring to 1 deg F at such a wide range is a pretty hefty feat for any instrument, especially without regular calibration. If you can nail down a reasonable offset that's fairly consistent (i.e. adding 2-3F to your reading), you're still doing ok. Just keep watching for drift.
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Offline denny

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Re: Tired of crappy therm and hydrometer
« Reply #7 on: May 21, 2012, 10:02:47 AM »
Quote
Your thermometers were "off" compared to what? What was your reference temp?

Standard ice bath for 32f.

I'm willing to bet you don't mash at 32F!  I've found that using a freezing/boiling "calibration" can leave you way off the mark at mash temps.  I got a calibrated lab reference thermometer and use it to calibrate my brewing thermometers at 150F.
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Offline DrewG

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Re: Tired of crappy therm and hydrometer
« Reply #8 on: May 21, 2012, 10:12:32 AM »
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I'm willing to bet you don't mash at 32F!  I've found that using a freezing/boiling "calibration" can leave you way off the mark at mash temps.  I got a calibrated lab reference thermometer and use it to calibrate my brewing thermometers at 150F.

Thats a safe bet, no doubt. Where did you get the lab reference thermometer?
"Well, the Mexicans got a saying - what cannot be remedied must be endured."

-Barbarosa

Offline DrewG

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Re: Tired of crappy therm and hydrometer
« Reply #9 on: May 21, 2012, 10:46:57 AM »
I but the bullet and ordered a refractometer and a lab grade hydrometer from northern brewer.
"Well, the Mexicans got a saying - what cannot be remedied must be endured."

-Barbarosa

Offline denny

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Re: Tired of crappy therm and hydrometer
« Reply #10 on: May 21, 2012, 11:36:13 AM »
Quote
I'm willing to bet you don't mash at 32F!  I've found that using a freezing/boiling "calibration" can leave you way off the mark at mash temps.  I got a calibrated lab reference thermometer and use it to calibrate my brewing thermometers at 150F.

Thats a safe bet, no doubt. Where did you get the lab reference thermometer?


I bough it at William's Brewing many years ago.  I don't think they still carry them, but there are scientific supply places that do have them.
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

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Offline DrewG

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Re: Tired of crappy therm and hydrometer
« Reply #11 on: May 21, 2012, 11:47:17 AM »
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I bough it at William's Brewing many years ago.  I don't think they still carry them, but there are scientific supply places that do have them.

Thanks Denny, I'll google it and see what turns up
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Offline hokerer

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Re: Tired of crappy therm and hydrometer
« Reply #12 on: May 21, 2012, 12:22:16 PM »
Thanks Denny, I'll google it and see what turns up

Here's where I got mine...

http://cynmar.com/SearchByKeyword?word=nist%20thermometer
Joe

Offline PSUhomebrewer

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Re: Tired of crappy therm and hydrometer
« Reply #13 on: May 21, 2012, 12:51:18 PM »
Quote
I'm willing to bet you don't mash at 32F!  I've found that using a freezing/boiling "calibration" can leave you way off the mark at mash temps.  I got a calibrated lab reference thermometer and use it to calibrate my brewing thermometers at 150F.

Thats a safe bet, no doubt. Where did you get the lab reference thermometer?

Just know for a calibrated traceable reference thermometer from a scientific supplier, such as VWR or sigma, expect to pay alot. I had to order 3 for where I work and the total was somewhere in the $500 and above range.

Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Tired of crappy therm and hydrometer
« Reply #14 on: May 21, 2012, 12:52:31 PM »
Quote
I'm willing to bet you don't mash at 32F!  I've found that using a freezing/boiling "calibration" can leave you way off the mark at mash temps.  I got a calibrated lab reference thermometer and use it to calibrate my brewing thermometers at 150F.

Thats a safe bet, no doubt. Where did you get the lab reference thermometer?

Just know for a calibrated traceable reference thermometer from a scientific supplier, such as VWR or sigma, expect to pay alot. I had to order 3 for where I work and the total was somewhere in the $500 and above range.
Thanks Denny, I'll google it and see what turns up

Here's where I got mine...

http://cynmar.com/SearchByKeyword?word=nist%20thermometer

check that link, they are about 7 bucks each. I might just have to get me one. it doesn't say traceable but they are NIST certified.
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