Author Topic: Extendo-mometer?  (Read 622 times)

Offline el_capitan

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Extendo-mometer?
« on: February 10, 2014, 07:02:30 PM »
I've really been enjoying brewing smaller batches, now that I've stepped down to 3-gallons.  One thing that's not so smooth though is that I'm using my 10-gallon Polarware. 

The Brewmometer placement is such that I have to have about 3 gallons in the kettle in order for the probe to hit the liquid.  Most of my batches are calling for just shy of 3 gallons strike water.  I was trying to think of some ways to extend the probe without making any modifications to the kettle.

The only thing I could think of was wrapping some thick copper wire (maybe 12 gauge) around the probe, and then extending that down into the kettle.  Do you think that would work?  I guess I could give it a shot on my next brewday and report back. 

Any other ideas?

Offline jamminbrew

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Re: Extendo-mometer?
« Reply #1 on: February 10, 2014, 08:39:52 PM »
Copper is a good conductor of heat, I would think that would work.
Is your 10 G polar ware for mashing, or boiling? If it's for mashing, you could add something to the bottom to raise the level to hit the probe, like a water bottle filled with hot water, or maybe some other solid object in a sealed plastic bag?
Let us know if the copper wire works, please!
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Offline Jeff M

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Re: Extendo-mometer?
« Reply #2 on: February 10, 2014, 09:01:10 PM »
why not plug the old hole and put in a new one?
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Offline ranchovillabrew

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Re: Extendo-mometer?
« Reply #3 on: February 10, 2014, 09:23:42 PM »
I have the same issue with a small amount of water.  Why not heat more then transfer only the needed water to the mash tun?

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Offline euge

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Re: Extendo-mometer?
« Reply #4 on: February 10, 2014, 10:24:26 PM »
All good solutions. Why not get another smaller pot since you scaled back? Sell, retire, lend, mothball the Polarware...
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Online Jimmy K

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Re: Extendo-mometer?
« Reply #5 on: February 11, 2014, 06:34:55 AM »
My guess is that it will work to an extent, but it won't be completely accurate. The copper will loose some heat in the transfer between water and probe. I just don't know if it's significant. It's also going to depend on how well the copper wire transfers heat to the thermometer probe. Air gaps between the wire and probe will impact that.
 
The killer would be that accuracy will now depend on the distance between water surface and the probe (the greater distance the copper must transfer heat, the greater the loss of heat). That means accuracy will depend on how much water you're heating.
 
That said, like many things. You'll probably never know until you try it yourself. Just have a reliable thermometer to check the actual water temperature and compare.
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Offline kramerog

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Re: Extendo-mometer?
« Reply #6 on: February 11, 2014, 07:39:42 AM »
Is it possible to bend the probe so that it goes in the water?  Cons:  1. You could break the probe.  I don't know enough about how probes to work to have an opinion about the feasibility of bending the probe. 2.  Even if the probe touches the water it might not be somewhere that gives a representative value without mixing.

I bet if you went to McMaster Carr you could find a thermometer that is already bent.

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Offline weithman5

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Re: Extendo-mometer?
« Reply #7 on: February 11, 2014, 09:08:17 AM »
i use a thermometer that i use to cook roast.  it is on a long cord so that it comes out of the oven to the instrument.  just put it in and clip the cord to the top of the pot at the level you want. 

FWIW i brew about 1.5 gallon batches and use a 4g electric kettle
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Offline euge

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Re: Extendo-mometer?
« Reply #8 on: February 11, 2014, 09:29:55 AM »
You have to be careful of those as they are not usually waterproof. I ruined a couple probes just from the steam off a boil by suspending them into the wort.
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Offline weithman5

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Re: Extendo-mometer?
« Reply #9 on: February 11, 2014, 12:09:10 PM »
no wonder i over cooked the last roast 8)
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Offline el_capitan

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Re: Extendo-mometer?
« Reply #10 on: February 11, 2014, 07:31:02 PM »
I'm really just using the Polarware to heat up my mash water.  I guess the best bet would be to pick up a 5 or 6 gallon kettle and use that.  I like boiling in my Polarware because even with a 3-gallon batch, there's enough wort to hit the probe (post-boil) so I know when to stop chilling. 

I could just use a smaller kettle to heat up my strike and sparge water. 

I had my system pretty dialed in for 5-gallon batches and now I'm kind of rejiggering things to figure out the new system.  With this extended cold weather I haven't really wanted to spend a lot of time out in the garage streamlining the new gear.  So for now I'm just kind of making it work. 

Thanks for the suggestions.  I've been annoyed with that brewmometer from day 1.  The 3" probe sticks straight out into the kettle, which makes it a pain to whirlpool, etc.  I could just pull it and install the plug, but that's not ideal. 

Time to do some searching for a bent-probe thermometer.  I will still do the copper coil test and let you all know what I find out. 

Offline weithman5

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Re: Extendo-mometer?
« Reply #11 on: February 12, 2014, 12:45:40 PM »
when i started going small, i was able to put my 4 gallon kettle right in the refrigerator overnight, then the next day i pour it through a strainer into the ferment bucket. i quit worrying about a chiller.
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