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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > General Techniques > Importance of Thermometor Calibration
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Old 11-16-2007, 04:59 PM   #1
Reverend JC
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Default Importance of Thermometor Calibration

When i first started AG brewing i would use a glass candy Thremometor for the strike, rest, and sparge water and a meat Thermometor for the mash. I would always get a really high strike, always miss my target termp and have to add cold water to get it to the proper temp.

Then i started just using the meat Thermometor and without even thinking about it i began hitting my temps and I thought, man i have this down!!!

At that point i started missing my normal Eff. of 75-82% range. I started getting into the 60 to 65% range. And i would always get my beers down to 1.010 or 1.09 and i would think, wow, uh, this is supposed to have some residual sweetness. oh well, goes down good.


My Eff. was suffering because my sparge temp was always around 164 and not hot enough to really loosen up those sugars and help get them into the wort. The beer was always dry because my supposed 152 temp was always around 146.

For eveyone who has not calibrated your thermometors i suggest you do so, it is the easiest thing to ensure a constant factor to rely on in the brewing process. None of my beers were bad, they just were not as good as they could have been.

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Old 11-16-2007, 06:10 PM   #2
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I am having an issue getting my mash and sparge temps right and I want to invest in a decent thermometer. I am also currently using a candy thermometer and a turkey fryer thermometer for the mash. both of which you can't calibrate really...just adjust to boiling water.

what do you use for a thermometer or what would you recommend? (I use a 5 Gal cooler MLT...if that changes a recommendation).

Thanks,

Uncle Argyle

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Old 11-16-2007, 06:35 PM   #3
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They make bewing thermometors that are inexpensive and will do the trick but those too need calibrated when purchased.

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Old 11-16-2007, 06:57 PM   #4
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Is there a debate between digital and analog thermometers? Anyone have strong feelings one way or the other. Currently I use an analog but have been thinking about going digital but not sure if its worth it or not.

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Old 11-16-2007, 07:08 PM   #5
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I use both. I calibrate the analog to ice water and to boiling water. Then I check the analog against the digital. I never rely on only one thermometer.

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Old 11-16-2007, 09:44 PM   #6
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I finally figured out the other day I've been having the same problem, but in the other direction. My last two batches have refused to ferment lower than 1.028, and after checking my thermometer, it appears I've been unintentionally mashing in the 162-167 degree range, leaving lots of unfermentable sugars. After getting rid of this one, I will be joining the two thermometer club. The odd thing is, it used to be reasonably accurate, and now it's waaaaay off.

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Old 11-16-2007, 11:50 PM   #7
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Google "Traceable Thermometer." Lots of Brewers on this board have one, I love mine.

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Old 12-17-2007, 02:54 AM   #8
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I have very, very little experience with thermometers.....Yet,....

I do know the importance of accuracy in brewing. I have one analog thermometer with about a 6 inch probe. I would like to pick up a cheap digital to check my mash tun temps with.

Can digital thermometers be calibrated to ice water & boiling water?

Any suggestions on a cheap digital?

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Old 12-17-2007, 03:04 AM   #9
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Target has a yellow one on their website that is waterproof and calabratable for only $15. I bought two.

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Old 12-17-2007, 04:18 AM   #10
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VWR or Control Compay have a good water proof digital thermo. You can get a lollipop style or a remote probe. Both are certified and traceable. I think they have two different grade of accuracy. I have a lollipop style, got it for about $28.00 shipped. Good customer service. I busted the battery cover, sent an e-mail, and had a new cover sent in a week, no charge. - Dirk

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