Author Topic: Thermometers  (Read 5230 times)

Offline denny

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Re: Thermometers
« Reply #15 on: November 08, 2012, 09:34:18 AM »
Is there a step somewhere I'm not doing where the extra 15-20 seconds is critical? Seems like it takes that long for my 2-metal thermos to read. If you just left a glass thermometer in whatever you were measuring, you would get reasonably reliable and rapid reads, right?  Am I missing some critical piece of experience?


What you're missing from my point of view is that glass breaks.
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Offline mpietropaoli

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Thermometers
« Reply #16 on: November 08, 2012, 07:32:18 PM »
My view on thermometers:  you can spend a ton of dough over a bunch of time I a bunch of junk that clutters up your house, drives your wife crazy for cluttring up the house, DRIVES YOU crazy because they never agree....or you could spend the same amount in one shot, skip all the other nonsense, and buy a thermapen that will give you accurate temps for years on mashs and standing rib roasts. 
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Offline Delo

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Re: Thermometers
« Reply #17 on: November 09, 2012, 07:43:14 AM »
My Thermapen is one of the best purchases I’ve made..  I love it. I use it for everything I need to measure the temperature of…..well almost everything..the end is pointy.  I signed up for the Thermoworks email list.  You automatically get entered into their monthly win a thermapen drawing and you get emails of their current sales.  When the thermapens(refurbished) went on sale I bought mine.... and it came with some Jelly Belly jelly beans.  Its been a while since the refurbished have been on sale so they are probably due soon.

Online mtnrockhopper

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Re: Thermometers
« Reply #18 on: November 09, 2012, 08:57:23 AM »
Is there a step somewhere I'm not doing where the extra 15-20 seconds is critical? Seems like it takes that long for my 2-metal thermos to read. If you just left a glass thermometer in whatever you were measuring, you would get reasonably reliable and rapid reads, right?  Am I missing some critical piece of experience?


What you're missing from my point of view is that glass breaks.

Also - When I'm measuring a mash temp after adding strike water, I want a quick read so I can move the thermometer around to look for hot/cold spots. If I find them I keep stirring.
 
Though I have seem people use a thick candy-style thermometer on a string. They seem much more durable than a thin lab-style thermometer.

I have this one. It is almost as fast as thermapen and also has an IR thermometer. The IR is not that useful for brewing (though it can read the temp of wort in a carboy) but it is fun.

http://www.amazon.com/Taylor-Professional-9306-Thermocouple-Thermometer/dp/B000XS7WTG/ref=sr_1_15?ie=UTF8&qid=1352476705&sr=8-15&keywords=food+thermometer+digital
« Last Edit: November 09, 2012, 09:00:35 AM by mtnrockhopper »
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Re: Thermometers
« Reply #19 on: November 09, 2012, 09:52:37 AM »
You don't have to spend a fortune to get a decent digital lab thermometer either. http://www.arborsci.com/digital-thermometer
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Offline Mark G

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Re: Re: Thermometers
« Reply #20 on: November 09, 2012, 11:04:50 AM »
You don't have to spend a fortune to get a decent digital lab thermometer either. http://www.arborsci.com/digital-thermometer
I use this exact same one. Works great, and it's waterproof feature is handy. Mine sat submerged in my HLT for half an hour last batch with no ill effects.
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Offline stadelman

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Re: Thermometers
« Reply #21 on: December 01, 2012, 08:57:27 AM »
Check out the CDN DTQ450X.  It's not a lab grade thermocouple, but it is a solid brewing thermometer at a great price. 

I have a hands on review here... http://www.homebrewfinds.com/2012/11/hands-on-cdn-dtq450x-quick-read.html

Offline HydraulicSammich

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Re: Thermometers
« Reply #22 on: December 01, 2012, 10:12:38 AM »
http://www.thermoworks.com/products/handheld/mtc.html

Check this out.  I own a splash proof and use it for mash and food.  Perfect for both.  I use the hand held with a four foot waterproof probe for my internal carboy temp.  Measures precisely the wort temp after chilling.  I adjust my chiller flow accordingly so I am exactly at pitching temp when finished.   
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Offline michaeltrego

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Re: Thermometers
« Reply #23 on: December 01, 2012, 11:09:33 AM »
Thermoworks also sells a type-k thermocouple version, which can accept various probes including a waterproof wire probe.  I use this and leave it in the mash tun and HLT for getting a constant read on temperature.

http://thermoworks.com/products/handheld/therma_k.html

Wire probe (model 113-372): http://thermoworks.com/products/probe/tc_wire.html

Ditto - love my MTC with long 372 probe - very versatile!

Offline DaveR

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Re: Thermometers
« Reply #24 on: December 03, 2012, 08:15:28 AM »
Getting mashing temps right was a big challenge for me for the longest time. I used to take readings after mash in. Didn't matter which what type of thermometer I used, or how expensive it was, it was hard to get a good, stable reading. Sometimes I'd add hot or cold water to the mash to compensate. I'd overshoot or undershoot.

These days I focus on getting the strike water at the right temp based on a mashing calculator. After the mash has settled my temps are always right on (within 1 degree F of my target).

Since I measure water temp before it goes in the mashing tun I don't need a super fast thermometer. I use a Blichmann Brewmometer -- hand held, not built into the tun. It's a bit slow compared to digital thermometers. It takes 25 seconds to get a reading rather than 5. But I find the dial very easy to read. Plus it's solidly built. I've dropped mine several times and it hasn't broken...yet. Finally, it's not a big deal but there are no batteries to deal with. I've had other dial thermometers but they rust out inside fairly quickly. Not the Brewmometer. It's not that expensive -- less than $40, I think.

My process is to use this calculator to determine the strike water temp.
http://www.rackers.org/calcs.shtml
I have two mashing tuns -- one for small batches and one for larger. When I pour the strike water in I know it will drop 3 degrees F in one and 4 degrees F in the other, so I get the water temp in the kettle enough over to compensate for the drop. Once the strike water temp is right in the tun I mix the grain. At that point I can take mash readings and the temp will vary. I don't even do that any more because all it does is make me nervous. If I come back in 15 or 20 min -- after the mash has settled -- and take a reading it's always within 1 degree F of where I want it to be.

Mashing used to be the most stressful part of brewing for me. Not any more. I've even done several decoction mashes where temps came out just right. I'm always surprised how well thermal mass equations work!



Offline neemox

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Re: Thermometers
« Reply #25 on: December 04, 2012, 11:26:21 AM »
So when you strike, you just account for the heat loss to your MT instead of pre-heating it? Seems like that could take a little experimenting, but save a lot of time.

I ended up getting a relatively cheap commercial digital thermo. I was totally happy with it when I brewed this weekend, but now I understand the desire for fast. I have always left my dial thermometers in whatever I was measuring, so response time wasn't an issue, and I can't do that with this little one (as easily) means I lost another degree or two in my mash due to checking temperatures.

Just signed up for the thermapen e-mail list. Great suggestions. Thanks.

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Re: Thermometers
« Reply #26 on: December 04, 2012, 11:34:04 AM »
So when you strike, you just account for the heat loss to your MT instead of pre-heating it? Seems like that could take a little experimenting, but save a lot of time.

If you do a reasonably good job of measuring the mass of the tun, and you know what it's made of, you should be able to get close on the first try.
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Offline denny

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Re: Thermometers
« Reply #27 on: December 04, 2012, 11:54:07 AM »
So when you strike, you just account for the heat loss to your MT instead of pre-heating it? Seems like that could take a little experimenting, but save a lot of time.

That's exactly what I do.  Took me 2-3 batches to dial it in, but then no more preheating.  Even those 2-3 batches were darn close to the temps I wanted.
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Offline euge

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Re: Thermometers
« Reply #28 on: December 04, 2012, 08:14:51 PM »
It will be helpful to keep your cooler in a temp stable place. One that has been kept in a garage that fluctuates with the seasons will yield different results as to heat loss. So it might help to bring it inside overnight year-round before a brewing session.
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Offline DaveR

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Re: Thermometers
« Reply #29 on: December 05, 2012, 07:45:22 PM »

That's exactly what I do.  Took me 2-3 batches to dial it in, but then no more preheating.  Even those 2-3 batches were darn close to the temps I wanted.

That's my experience, too. The temp of the the cooler doesn't seem to affect the the strike water drop, or lack thereof, much. Grain temperature is a different story. A temp difference in the grain can have a impact on how far the strike water adjusts. I used to guesstimate the grain temp. After several unwelcome surprises I put a thermometer by my grain storage area. I used that for grain temp in my calculations and I'm always spot on.

I probably shouldn't have said that. Now I'll probably get a surprise when I brew this weekend.  :o