Author Topic: Broken thermometer in Wort  (Read 1299 times)

Offline james_cornell

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Broken thermometer in Wort
« on: November 07, 2014, 08:01:19 AM »
I think I handled this right but I wanted to double check...

So when cooling my Wort in an ice bath I was having trouble with the drain stopper underneath my pot in the sink and losing my water and ice.  While fussing around underneath the pot I somehow managed to break the bottom of my floating thermometer.  At this point it hade been about 30-40 min and my wort wa at about 80 degrees. It's a floating thermometer labeled as mercury free.  The part I broke was the very bottom and it had a bunch of blue dots that were now in my wort.  I quickly siphoned the Wort into my fermenting bucket leaving a little at the bottom in the hopes that the glass and little dots would stay. Then, because I wanted to be extra sure, washed and sanitized my hands and upper arms and reached into the fermenting bucket to feel for any that might have gotten in.  Sure enough there was a little so I siphoned it into another fermenting bucket and again left some at the bottom. I believe I got it all but you never know if a little made it into the next bucket.

Everything I use was sanitized but it was all done it a hurry and got a bit messy.  I obviously couldn't take the temp anymore but I had to add 2 gal of room temp water to the what was 80 degree wort and I aerated by shaking the bucket for about 4 min so I believe the wort temp will be okay for the yeast but I am concerned when things get this sloppy that I could have accidentally ruined my beer, either by pitching the yeast at a high temp, accidentally letting something unsanitized touch my wort, or having anything left from that thermometer in my wort.

Does it sound like I have anything to worry about? Also, In about a week I plan on transferring from a primary to secondary fermentation bucket, is there anything I can do at that time to be sure the beer is okay?

Thanks

Offline klickitat jim

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Re: Broken thermometer in Wort
« Reply #1 on: November 07, 2014, 08:16:02 AM »
Since theres now way for anyone here to know what was introduced into your beer, and probably the thermometer was made in China with balast material from who knows where or what, then I would say... probably its fine.

I would weigh out the risk vs reward factor. Risk being anywhere from none to slow death, and reward being probably an average home brew since you are pitching at who knows what temp. If an average homebrew is worth slow death, I say go for it!
« Last Edit: November 07, 2014, 08:18:25 AM by klickitat jim »

Offline klickitat jim

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Re: Broken thermometer in Wort
« Reply #2 on: November 07, 2014, 08:39:02 AM »
Dateline: February 2018

Home brewer's family wins!
Minkman Manufacturing, makers of floating thermometers and rubber dog poo, were ordered to pay the heirs of a homebrewer 2300 yuan in a local district court. Spokesmen for the family say they plan to wait until the Yuan to Dollar exchange rate reaches an even .2 rather than the current .19... The company was also ordered to place a warning sticker on their thermometers indicating that the unknown substance inside is not for human consumption.

The company's attorney still claims that his client did nothing wrong. "My sister eats those things like they were Slim Jims" said L Franklin Daggat, "and they never hurt her a bit."

Offline 69franx

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Re: Broken thermometer in Wort
« Reply #3 on: November 07, 2014, 11:58:31 AM »
Thanks Jim, I'm awake now. Rest of the family is staring at me over my uncontrolled laughing fit, but I'm awake!
Frank L.
Fermenting:
Conditioning:
In keg:
In Bottles:  
In the works: Hopefully brewing 10 gallons of Pilsner tomorrow for a family reunion in July, then back to IPA and  a barleywine to age

Offline jeffy

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Re: Broken thermometer in Wort
« Reply #4 on: November 07, 2014, 12:39:31 PM »
Back to the question, only time will tell if the beer will taste good.  I've had worse things happen to a brew.
 
Dang, Jim, are you trying to scare off a first time poster?
Jeff Gladish, Tampa (989.3, 175.1 Apparent Rennarian)
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Offline Stevie

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Re: Broken thermometer in Wort
« Reply #5 on: November 07, 2014, 12:45:21 PM »
The items in the thermometer should all be safe. I'd be worried about tiny bits of glass making til the end.

Offline klickitat jim

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Re: Broken thermometer in Wort
« Reply #6 on: November 07, 2014, 01:03:05 PM »
Mr Cornell,
Please accept my apology if any harm came from my attempt at humor. I think it would be best to dump it and start over. This time get a $5 digital thermometer and skip the floater.

By the way, you'd really help me out if this isn't your last post. The other members will tar and feather me.

Offline reverseapachemaster

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Re: Broken thermometer in Wort
« Reply #7 on: November 07, 2014, 04:29:33 PM »
Can you even call yourself a homebrewer if you haven't broken one of those floating thermometers?
Heck yeah I blog about homebrewing: Brain Sparging on Brewing

Offline Stevie

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Re: Broken thermometer in Wort
« Reply #8 on: November 07, 2014, 04:43:38 PM »
Can you even call yourself a homebrewer if you haven't broken one of those floating thermometers?


I'm on my third. I use it less now that I have a faster lab thermometer.

Offline Slowbrew

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Re: Broken thermometer in Wort
« Reply #9 on: November 07, 2014, 05:00:01 PM »
I've broken at least 1.  Maybe 2.  It never even occurred to me to worry about what it might be adding.  I transferred it to the primary and went blindly on my way.  That was years ago and so far no ill effects. 

I admit the 3rd arm comes in handy when working on the car though.   ;D  8)

Paul
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Offline WDE97

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Re: Broken thermometer in Wort
« Reply #10 on: November 07, 2014, 05:39:35 PM »
I've broken a lab thermometer in a beer before and just dumped it. My friends who have had that happen also dumped their beer. It's just not worth missing that one little chunk of glass that somehow ends up in a bottle or keg. The stuff inside the thermometer should be okay, but why risk it? IMO it's not worth one batch of beer. On the bright side, you get to brew again!
Robert H.

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Offline james_cornell

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Re: Broken thermometer in Wort
« Reply #11 on: November 07, 2014, 05:53:07 PM »
Well the thermometer says mercury free and the little balls stuck to a magnet so no lead. Im not super concerned about glass or what not getting into the beer since I siphoned it twice and both times left a little at the bottom.  In retrospect the thermometer still worked and the damaged was already done so I should have continued to cool the wort then put a coffee filter on the end of my siphon - which I will do when I transfer from my primary to my secondary.

I am concerned about the temperature of the wort when I pitched the yeast and any possible contamination from all the fussin around.  So I have two questions still:

I had about 3 gallons of wort at about 80 degrees and added about two gallons of 70 degree water so I'm ballparking the temp when I pitched at 76.  I used a yeast starter that I had prepared just under two days before and had spent the last few hours in the fridge and I aerated by swishing the fermenting bucket around with its lid for approx. 4 min. The instructions I was following said wait until the wort was 65 before pitching. How could this temp difference affect the yeast?

Also, is there any way to check the beer for contamination when I transfer it from my primary to my secondary.

Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Broken thermometer in Wort
« Reply #12 on: November 07, 2014, 06:01:10 PM »
that's too warm and you will likely get high esters and possibly some phenols and fusels. Infection is a worry, no matter how well you washed your hands/arms you certainly introduced large quantities of bacteria to your wort. I would expect this batch to go south quickly which won't really give it time to age out the faults from a warm pitch and warm ferment.

don't transfer to secondary. there is no reason to do so unless you are going to age it in bulk for a long time which is a bad idea with the contamination issues. You may luck out and it will be fine, you may luck out and get that rare good spoiled batch. My money is on something not good but that's no reason to dump it right away.

On filtering when you do transfer, I would use a grain bag instead of a coffee filter, the paper won't taste good in your beer and I suspect it will aerate the beer which is not good to do to finished beer.
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Offline james_cornell

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Re: Broken thermometer in Wort
« Reply #13 on: November 07, 2014, 06:53:25 PM »
How soon do you normally start noticing signs of contamination? And is the only real way to tell by taste?

Offline Slowbrew

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Re: Broken thermometer in Wort
« Reply #14 on: November 07, 2014, 07:19:19 PM »
You may see over carbonation first but off flavors show up early too.

As for time?  If your yeast gets a good strong start they will mostly out compete the bacteria.  After you've bottled and all the easily fermentable sugar is gone the bacteria will start working on it.  You probably have 2 to 3 months before any major problems show up (maybe less, maybe more).  Your best bet is let it finish, bottle/carb and then chill it and dirink is ASAP.

Paul
Where the heck are we going?  And what's with this hand basket?