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Old 01-02-2011, 08:27 PM   #1
Copernicus
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Default My EVIL Thermometer

I brewed a pale ale yesterday, my fourth all grain batch, and was hoping this would be my smoothest brew day yet. My Evil Thermometer ("ET") had different plans.

I heated my mash water until ET said I hit the 165 deg F strike temp. After adding the mash water, ET told me I was around 156 deg F, not my 152 deg F target. I let it mash one hour with ET telling me it stayed between 156 and 154 deg F. Sparged with about 177 deg F water according to the Evil One. The trouble was undeniable when ET told me my boiling wort was 228 deg F. Now I'm no chemist, but...

I decided to calibrate Evil Thermometer today with the following results:
Put ET in an ice bath - 35 deg (3 deg high)
Put ET in boiling water - 224 deg (12 deg high)
Put ET back in the ice bath - 44 deg (12 deg high)



Even my trusty analog thermometer was off:
Analog in ice bath - 24 deg (8 deg low)
Analog in boiling water - 208 deg (4 deg low)



Bottom line
1) I have NO IDEA what temperatures I mashed and sparged at yesterday, and
2) I need a thermometer that...I don't know...tells me the temperature?

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Old 01-02-2011, 08:36 PM   #2
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I had the same problems. Go with the lab thermometers and always use TWO for a sanity check.


http://www.austinhomebrew.com/produc...15bba1d1e668da

This very basic thermometer NEVER fails me.

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Old 01-02-2011, 08:37 PM   #3
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Forget your thermometer. What's with the crazy purple stove?

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Old 01-02-2011, 08:38 PM   #4
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By the way, I should have mentioned that I had three other thermometers before the lab thermometer (Analog Dial, Digital Dial, and floating thermometer). None of them ever agreed with each other and none would ever calibrate correctly.

EDIT: One more note, you shouldn't use 212 degress F as your calibrated check point for boiling water if you're not at sea level. If you can find your exact elevation, you can make the necessary temp alteration.

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"There is no strong beer, only weak men"
"Pretty women make us BUY beer, ugly women make us DRINK beer" - Al Bundy
"Give a man a beer, he'll drink for a day. Teach a man to brew, he'll be drunk for the rest of his life."

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Notable Empties: Oaked Black IIPA, BBK I, Red IIPA, Burning Bush, Apophis "The Destroyer", Vanilla Porter
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Old 01-02-2011, 08:43 PM   #5
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I actually did the same thing and got that lab thermometer with my AHS order yesterday. It will at least let me calibrate my other thermometers and hit the right temp for my mash (1st AG coming up soon).

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Old 01-02-2011, 08:43 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jasonsbeer View Post
Forget your thermometer. What's with the crazy purple stove?
It's called the Light Saber Stovetop.

I WISH it looked like that in real life. I think the LED phone/camera flash made it funky in the pic. It's actually just a boring old orange-ish glow.
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Old 01-02-2011, 08:43 PM   #7
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I TOLD YOU SO. Well, not you, specifically. But every time thermometers come up I see people recommending these relatively cheap digital thermometers with that style probe. They work great for one or two batches but they go bad quickly if they get even a hint of moisture in them. They are simply not designed with brewing in mind.

I'll stick with my thermapen. Two years now with no problems, and it is super fast and accurate.

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Old 01-02-2011, 08:58 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by weirdboy View Post
I TOLD YOU SO. Well, not you, specifically. But every time thermometers come up I see people recommending these relatively cheap digital thermometers with that style probe. They work great for one or two batches but they go bad quickly if they get even a hint of moisture in them. They are simply not designed with brewing in mind.

I'll stick with my thermapen. Two years now with no problems, and it is super fast and accurate.
I calibrate everything using my Thermapen. It is good to have and dead accurate. But even still, if you are making great beer and your thermometer is off a few degrees, keep using it and make great beer! Otherwise as they say, a man with two watches doesn't know what time it is.
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Old 01-02-2011, 09:04 PM   #9
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I just purchased a thermapen Friday because of missing my mash temp on an important recipe.

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Old 01-02-2011, 09:05 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lonnie Mac View Post
I calibrate everything using my Thermapen. It is good to have and dead accurate. But even still, if you are making great beer and your thermometer is off a few degrees, keep using it and make great beer! Otherwise as they say, a man with two watches doesn't know what time it is.
Well when you miss mash temps by 10-20 degrees you will run into troubles. In fact, I realized MY crappy digital oven thermometer was on the fritz when I missed my gravity by like 60% on a batch.
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