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Old 01-02-2013, 09:59 PM   #1
SilverZero
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Default Calibrate Your Thermometers!

So I'm getting ready for a double-batch brew day on Friday, and since the brew shop is closed today I decided to do some of the little things I've been meaning to do. I just got my hands on a Johnson controller, plus I have a digital probe thermometer I wanted to play with, so I got them together along with the analog dial thermometer I've been using since Day 1 (about 16 months ago). Boiled some water, put in the dial thermo, and it was reading 211F just like I expected . . . but the Johnson and my other probe both read 207. Since I'm at 3500 feet, it finally occurred to me to try to look up how much of a difference there might be between my boiling point and sea level.

As it turns out, water here SHOULD be boiling around 205F-207F, depending on the barometric pressure. In this case, I'm trusting my digital probes over the dial thermometer, and I calibrated it accordingly.

Of course, this also means I've been mashing up to 5 degrees cooler than I thought I was, striking and sparging with slightly lower temps than I wanted, and maybe even fermenting my last batch at 60F instead of 65F. It's better this way than being hotter than I thought, but hopefully I'll be even better off now.

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Old 01-02-2013, 11:23 PM   #2
PtreeCreekBrew
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I'm gonna go right on ahead and assume that you meant that the digital read 207, not 107...?

That said...yes...calibration is important!

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Old 01-02-2013, 11:24 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by PtreeCreekBrew View Post
I'm gonna go right on ahead and assume that you meant that the digital read 207, not 107...?

That said...yes...calibration is important!
Huh... Maybe I should calibrate my keyboard, too.
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Old 01-02-2013, 11:44 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SilverZero
Of course, this also means I've been mashing up to 5 degrees cooler than I thought I was, striking and sparging with slightly lower temps than I wanted, and maybe even fermenting my last batch at 60F instead of 65F.
Probably, but not necessarily. I preach having a different thermometer for each stage of brewing. A thermometer that is calibrated correctly at freezing and boiling may still be off in the middle.

Use a thermometer you trust and calibrate your HLT to 170, MLT to 150, and BK to 60. Or whatever temperature you tend to use the most in each.
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