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Old 06-03-2010, 09:17 PM   #1
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Default Leaving a thermocouple probe in fermenting beer?

I am going to do some ghetto fermentation temperature control this summer by putting my glass carboy into a cooler with ice water in it. I'd like to be able to read accurate temperatures from inside the carboy, so I though about just leaving my handy type-K thermocouple inside the carboy, and running the wire out beside the stopper. It's a really flat wire so I should be able to seal around it with tape really easily. That way I can attach my multimeter to it at any time and get a really accurate read.

My question is, will the acidic wort interact with the thermocouple? It's not shielded in any kind of copper or stainless steel sleeve, so the constituent metals (nickel, chromium, manganese, aluminum) will be exposed to the wort. Anyone know if this is a bad idea?

Here's a link to the probe in question:
http://us.fluke.com/Fluke/usen/Accessories/Temperature/80BK-A.htm?PID=55348

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Old 06-03-2010, 09:22 PM   #2
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I use the THS-113-372-T Heavy Duty Wire Probe from this page. I also use that probe in my mash tun to monitor temps.

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Old 06-04-2010, 09:14 PM   #3
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I use the THS-113-372 Heavy Duty Wire Probe from this page. I also use that probe in my mash tun to monitor temps.
Sorry for showing my ignorance, but I assume you plug that into a meter of some sort? Any recommendations? And you can submerge that wire probe with no problem? My meat thermometer HATES moisture and it's nothing but a damned headache.
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Old 06-04-2010, 09:53 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by scone View Post
I am going to do some ghetto fermentation temperature control this summer by putting my glass carboy into a cooler with ice water in it. I'd like to be able to read accurate temperatures from inside the carboy, so I though about just leaving my handy type-K thermocouple inside the carboy, and running the wire out beside the stopper. It's a really flat wire so I should be able to seal around it with tape really easily. That way I can attach my multimeter to it at any time and get a really accurate read.

My question is, will the acidic wort interact with the thermocouple? It's not shielded in any kind of copper or stainless steel sleeve, so the constituent metals (nickel, chromium, manganese, aluminum) will be exposed to the wort. Anyone know if this is a bad idea?

Here's a link to the probe in question:
http://us.fluke.com/Fluke/usen/Accessories/Temperature/80BK-A.htm?PID=55348
Do you have a meter to plug that into? Looks like it plugs into a digital multimeter.

Use a thermocouple like that, but get a therrmowell to put it into. Click pic for link. Just slide your probe down into the metal tube. You could probably make one like this yourself by 1) drilling a stopper, 2) crimping (maybe sweating) one end of a piece of 1/4" copper tubing, flaring the other end.


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Last edited by passedpawn; 06-06-2010 at 10:35 PM. Reason: Changed type - 1/2" should have been 1/4"
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Old 06-04-2010, 10:11 PM   #5
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Sorry for showing my ignorance, but I assume you plug that into a meter of some sort? Any recommendations? And you can submerge that wire probe with no problem? My meat thermometer HATES moisture and it's nothing but a damned headache.

Yes, it's a type-k thermocouple which is sort of a standard that many meters will accept. I personally use one of these, but if you wanted to automate it at some point in the future, you can find plenty of temperature controllers that take type-k connectors as well.
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Old 06-05-2010, 09:12 PM   #6
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I wouldn't worry about it at the pH of a normal beer. Stainless is generally only susceptible to strong mineral acids, not the weaker organic acids present in beer.

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Old 06-06-2010, 04:56 PM   #7
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Haha I think this thread has gotten a little sidetracked. I'm actually trying to avoid buying a stainless thermowell, and I was wondering if the k-type thermocouple itself is susceptible to breaking down in the wort. If nobody knows I might just try it and see what happens.

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Old 06-06-2010, 10:14 PM   #8
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2) crimping (maybe sweating) one end of a piece of 1/2" copper tubing, flaring the other end.
According to this podcast, copper is a no-no during fermentation.

http://thebrewingnetwork.com/shows/Brew-Strong/Brew-Strong-09-29-08-Metals-that-Affect-Your-Beer
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Old 06-06-2010, 10:14 PM   #9
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Haha I think this thread has gotten a little sidetracked. I'm actually trying to avoid buying a stainless thermowell, and I was wondering if the k-type thermocouple itself is susceptible to breaking down in the wort. If nobody knows I might just try it and see what happens.
The thermocouple I linked above is perfectly fine for extended time in the fermenter, and is a k-type.
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Old 06-06-2010, 10:33 PM   #10
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According to this podcast, copper is a no-no during fermentation.

http://thebrewingnetwork.com/shows/Brew-Strong/Brew-Strong-09-29-08-Metals-that-Affect-Your-Beer
Wups, you're right. Good during boil, bad during fermentation. Thanks for that!
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