Author Topic: Thermometer Recomendations  (Read 548 times)

Offline BrodyR

  • Brewmaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 523
  • Philadelphia, PA
    • View Profile
Thermometer Recomendations
« on: February 10, 2019, 06:25:35 PM »
I've been using an inexpensive basic thermometer but it seems to be getting out of wack.

If I calibrate it to a boil it reads too low when in ice water. If I calibrate it in the ice water it reads too high in the boil. It's the second one I've had this happen to after a while.

I was curious if anyone has some thoughts on why that happens, how to fix it, or recommendations on a better thermometer in general?

Offline denny

  • Administrator
  • Retired with too much time on my hands
  • *****
  • Posts: 20607
  • Noti OR [1991.4, 287.6deg] AR
    • View Profile
    • Dennybrew
Re: Thermometer Recomendations
« Reply #1 on: February 10, 2019, 06:38:24 PM »
I have a number of different thermometers, but the one I trust to be always right is the Thermapen.  Not cheap but frequently on sale.
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

www.dennybrew.com

The best, sharpest, funniest, weirdest and most knowledgable minds in home brewing contribute on the AHA forum. - Alewyfe

"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts." - Bertrand Russell

Offline hopfenundmalz

  • Global Moderator
  • I must live here
  • *****
  • Posts: 9249
  • Milford, MI
    • View Profile
Re: Thermometer Recomendations
« Reply #2 on: February 10, 2019, 06:41:15 PM »
I have a Thermapen classic, really like it. Bought it on sale. There are more affordable thermometers on their site.

https://www.thermoworks.com/Thermapens
https://www.thermoworks.com/Pocket-Digital

Jeff Rankert
Ann Arbor Brewers Guild
AHA Governing Committee
BJCP National
Home-brewing, not just a hobby, it is a lifestyle!

Offline Robert

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 3561
    • View Profile
Re: Thermometer Recomendations
« Reply #3 on: February 10, 2019, 06:50:07 PM »
I was having thermometer troubles too.  As I now understand it, both liquid filled (including mercury as well as alcohol) and bimetal types are inherently inaccurate, both slow to respond and difficult or impossible to calibrate across the full range.   The best thermometers are those relying on electroconductivity to measure temperature,  which is what most modern digital instant read thermometers are.  (Infrared thermometers are inaccurate when reading certain materials or reflective surfaces, so no good for taking the temperature of your fermenter, among other things.)  I've been using this one for all my kitchen and brewing applications,  and the fact that my invert syrup as well as everything  else comes out perfect now indicates to me that it is very accurate.  Just an example,  there are plenty of  others like it.  Lavatools Javelin PRO Duo... https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01F59K0KA?ref=ppx_pop_mob_ap_share
Rob Stein
Akron, Ohio

I'd rather have questions I can't answer than answers I can't question.

Offline BrodyR

  • Brewmaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 523
  • Philadelphia, PA
    • View Profile
Re: Thermometer Recomendations
« Reply #4 on: February 10, 2019, 06:57:04 PM »
Appreciate all the feedback. Is that Javelin as good as a thermapen? Look's similar. I'm fine dropping a few $ since it will get a lot of use between brewing and the kitchen.

Offline BrewBama

  • Brewmaster General
  • *******
  • Posts: 2394
    • View Profile
Re: Thermometer Recomendations
« Reply #5 on: February 10, 2019, 06:57:53 PM »
I have a Thermopen and a Chefs Alarm. I use the Chefs Alarm for brewing most often. I set the base on the shelf and lower the probe into the BK, start the induction cooktop, and go about milling grain and weighing minerals. It tells me when I reach a certain temp to mash in. I also use the timer to tell me when mash steps are complete and when to add additions to the boil. Finally, I check cooling temps before I transfer to the fermenter.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
“From man’s sweat and God’s love, beer came into the world.” — St. Arnold

Brewed in the Tennessee Valley. Rocket City — Huntsville AL

Offline Robert

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 3561
    • View Profile
Re: Thermometer Recomendations
« Reply #6 on: February 10, 2019, 07:09:54 PM »
Appreciate all the feedback. Is that Javelin as good as a thermapen? Look's similar. I'm fine dropping a few $ since it will get a lot of use between brewing and the kitchen.
Can't give you a side by side.  My understanding is that the important thing is the principle they work on, and that all the good quality instant read digital ones made in the last several years use the same principle.   A really old digital or dial thermometer you find in your kitchen drawer probably doesn't.   If I'm wrong it's mostly Alton Brown's fault.  ;)


One other thing.  Some have a stepped down, very thin tip.  This will give a much quicker response than a thicker probe with more thermal mass, but I don't know how critical this is.   It makes me feel safe when making syrup, probably irrelevant in the mash and such.
« Last Edit: February 10, 2019, 07:14:04 PM by Robert »
Rob Stein
Akron, Ohio

I'd rather have questions I can't answer than answers I can't question.

Offline narcout

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1955
  • Los Angeles, CA
    • View Profile
Re: Thermometer Recomendations
« Reply #7 on: February 10, 2019, 07:16:08 PM »
Thermapens are fantastic.  I'm never going back to anything else.
"It is often difficult to look at the world through anything other than an apocalyptic prism and in doing so, simply despair." - Nick Cave

Offline BrodyR

  • Brewmaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 523
  • Philadelphia, PA
    • View Profile
Re: Thermometer Recomendations
« Reply #8 on: February 10, 2019, 07:27:50 PM »

Offline chezteth

  • Brewmaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 581
    • View Profile
Re: Thermometer Recomendations
« Reply #9 on: February 10, 2019, 07:30:34 PM »
I have the Thermoworks RT600C. It doesn't respond as fast and isn't quite as accurate as the Thermapen. However, it's only $24. After having it for 5 years it still works well.

Sent from my Pixel 2 XL using Tapatalk


Offline mabrungard

  • Brewmaster General
  • *******
  • Posts: 2583
  • Water matters!
    • View Profile
    • Bru'n Water
Re: Thermometer Recomendations
« Reply #10 on: February 10, 2019, 08:54:33 PM »
I have the Thermoworks RT600C. It doesn't respond as fast and isn't quite as accurate as the Thermapen.

Thermoworks is the Thermapen manufacturer, so you have some assurance that their less expensive products are still pretty good. In my opinion, buying Thermoworks' less expensive products are virtually equivalent to buying a Thermapen. I have several of their less expensive thermometers and check them regularly with my NIST-certified mercury thermometer and they are rock solid.

Save your bucks and buy the less expensive units. They are actually truly worth it.
Martin B
Carmel, IN

BJCP National
Foam Blowers of Indiana (FBI)

Brewing Water Information at:
https://sites.google.com/site/brunwater/

Like Bru'n Water on Facebook
https://www.facebook.com/Brun-Water-464551136933908/?ref=bookmarks

Offline hopfenundmalz

  • Global Moderator
  • I must live here
  • *****
  • Posts: 9249
  • Milford, MI
    • View Profile
Re: Thermometer Recomendations
« Reply #11 on: February 11, 2019, 12:49:05 AM »
One other comment. After many years of abuse my Thermapen stopped working. If was repaired and recalibrated for $30.
Jeff Rankert
Ann Arbor Brewers Guild
AHA Governing Committee
BJCP National
Home-brewing, not just a hobby, it is a lifestyle!

Offline brewsumore

  • Brewmaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 645
  • Spokane, WA
    • View Profile
Re: Thermometer Recomendations
« Reply #12 on: February 11, 2019, 01:17:27 AM »
Wahl TM-500 Thermocouple Thermometer, with an 18" stainless steel probe from McMaster-Carr.  I do believe it has been discontinued though.

Offline Robert

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 3561
    • View Profile
Re: Thermometer Recomendations
« Reply #13 on: February 11, 2019, 01:21:19 AM »
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VwoyEZYDq58

Pretty solid overview
Whew! Glad to see my Javelin came in second only to the Thermapen at half the price.  I trust these guys, didn't think to check them while researching.  Thanks for posting this link.

EDIT BTW their only criticism of the Javelin seems to be that one button controls multiple functions.   This has never  bothered me because the only function I use is reading the temperature.   I'm not even sure what other functions there are.  ::)
« Last Edit: February 11, 2019, 01:29:57 AM by Robert »
Rob Stein
Akron, Ohio

I'd rather have questions I can't answer than answers I can't question.

Offline brewsumore

  • Brewmaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 645
  • Spokane, WA
    • View Profile
Re: Thermometer Recomendations
« Reply #14 on: February 11, 2019, 02:00:57 AM »
I have the Thermoworks RT600C. It doesn't respond as fast and isn't quite as accurate as the Thermapen.

Thermoworks is the Thermapen manufacturer, so you have some assurance that their less expensive products are still pretty good. In my opinion, buying Thermoworks' less expensive products are virtually equivalent to buying a Thermapen. I have several of their less expensive thermometers and check them regularly with my NIST-certified mercury thermometer and they are rock solid.

Save your bucks and buy the less expensive units. They are actually truly worth it.

Thanks Martin.  I got one of the RT610B-24's.  $39 + tax + $4 shipping.  I need the long probe for my set-up, especially the 20-gal kettle.