But if you're gonna glance at the thermometer, why not just glance at the kettle to see how it's doing? The lack of a thermometer on my kettle has never interfered with my ability to judge when it's gonna boil.I can, and frequently do look inside the BK. But it's nice to be able to keep an eye on it from across the garage. It's not like I added a thermometer just so I can watch the temperature. My BK is a Blichmann so I'm just using what's there.
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Don't feel bad. I have Brewmometers on all three of my kettles. On cold brew days I don't have to blow steam out of the way to see if it's boiling yet. Plus it's handy for watching chill temps.
Having said that, I believe it is entirely possible to brew beer without any thermometer. All you need is a pencil for math and a way to accurately measure water. It's helpful to know what your well water temp is too.
So for me, 10 lbs room temp grain in 4 gallons (1.25 well temp + 2.75 boiling) equals about 150°. Prep sparge water the same way. Bla bla bla. But until Jonathan's thermometer eating zombies attack, I like my three brewmometers.