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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Equipment/Sanitation > Broken Thermometer Question
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Old 08-21-2006, 01:33 AM   #1
Johnny5
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Default Broken Thermometer Question

Greetings all. New poster here so thanks for any input you might give.

If a floating thermometer bottom breaks off into the wort as it's chilling down, is the batch ever OK? Yesterday, we were using a typical floating thermometer (10" with the orange, plasic top to tie strings on) and the bottom inch or so broke off into the wort along with the metallic balls (the red, inner part remained intact).

We siphoned the wort into the primary very carefully by pouring through not only a fine, mesh hops bag, but also another fine strainer. Also, we left the metallic balls in the bottom and the kettle and the glass broke off in mainly one chunk, so we're not concerned about ingesting the balls or glass.

Any idea if this brew is at all still drinkable? I can't find any difinitive answers about the thermometer's contents online except it doesn't seem like those types contain mercury. If there's any doubt, we'll ditch it to be on the side of safety, but if there's any way we can save this otherwise very delicious sounding Chimay clone, we'd love to hear about it.

Thanks!

John Couture

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Old 08-21-2006, 02:26 AM   #2
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Not sure what the metallic balls were - if they were solid or if the liquid inside the thermometer was a color other than silver, then it probably wasn't a mercury thermometer. Most bulb thermometers these days use colored alcohol (not sure what kind). As long as you can be sure it wasn't mercury, you're probably OK.

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Old 08-21-2006, 02:35 PM   #3
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Yuri,

Thanks so much for your answer about the thermometer. I'll do a bit more checking to try to ensure the batch's safety before proceeding with it. Any more input is welcome.

John

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Old 08-21-2006, 03:21 PM   #4
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The balls are probably steel shot, just because it's cheap and totally safe. Since the inner part didn't break, no worries there, regardless of what the red stuff is.

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Old 08-21-2006, 07:55 PM   #5
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Like David said, the balls used to keep the thermometer floating upright may be steel shot. On the other hand, they may be lead, in which case I would not drink it. See if you can check with the manufacturer of the thermometer to find out what the balls are made of.

John

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Old 08-21-2006, 08:51 PM   #6
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Was the thermometer a candy thermometer? If so I would be willing to bet that they wouldn't put anything too harmful in it. And, a mercury thermometer will not have red inside, it will be silver. If the little line that you read is red, it is alcohol.

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Old 08-22-2006, 12:24 AM   #7
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Thanks to everyone for the responses. Not sure what a candy thermometer is, but this looks pretty darn close to the one we were using:

http://www.homebrewhq.com/ProductDet...productID=1082

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Old 08-22-2006, 12:35 AM   #8
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Default Balls are probably lead

I just checked with a local brew store and it looks like the balls are most likely lead -- so unless I find out that siphoning them out will alleviate the danger, I'm not chancing it.

Rats! I'm going to cry as I pour out an otherwise perfect Chimay clone...

Thanks again for the input.

John

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