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Old 12-13-2012, 06:15 PM   #1
Mpez
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Default All my recent (Brewtroller) beer has sucked

Late this summer I upgraded my brewing system to run on the Brewtroller DX1. Since then all of the beer I have made has been below par. Basically ever batch has been plagued with a tannin wine like flavor. At first I thought it was due to an infection, but I feel like I have ruled that out.

The flavors seem consistent with what I have read about either over sparging, or allowing the mash or mash out temps to get too hot. However my process has not changed at all. I mash in , and do one single batch sparge. So it leads me to believe that the problem is temperature based. During my last brew session I used 4 different temperature reading devices. The brewtroller was anywhere from 5-10 degrees under the other temp probes.

Has anyone had any issues similar to this? Has anyone tried calibrating their 1 wire temp probes?

This weekend I plan on brewing with my old PID and will go from there.

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Old 12-13-2012, 06:59 PM   #2
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Not knowing what your setup is, I'd suggest running water through a cycle (to discount temp stratification) and compare the temp probe to known thermometers. If it is off, the probe should be replaced since they are calibrated at the wafer level when produced.

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Old 12-13-2012, 07:12 PM   #3
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I have seen differences of up to a couple degrees (C) between some of my DS18B20's. I now compare them all to my calibrated digital thermometer and note the appropriate correction factor or just discard the "bad" sensor.

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Old 12-13-2012, 08:24 PM   #4
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I don't know anything about Brewtroller but ...

I had same issues on my own system, my problems were related with the placement of mash-temperature sensor. It was in a thermowell and that created a huge lag in the mash temperature reading that my controller received -> way too hot mash temps especially during the mash out. My sensor is now on the top layer of the mash, straight in the grains, no thermowell, just the sensor in a thin ss-capsule. No more issues.

I've bought over 20 ds18b20's and they all have been very accurate and super linear. Maybe I've been lucky. They all have been +- 0.2C from each other. I calibrate them simple by adding or reducing the amount needed on my Arduino sketch.

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Old 12-13-2012, 08:32 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vesku View Post
I don't know anything about Brewtroller but ...

I had same issues on my own system, my problems were related with the placement of mash-temperature sensor. It was in a thermowell and that created a huge lag in the mash temperature reading that my controller received -> way too hot mash temps especially during the mash out. My sensor is now on the top layer of the mash, straight in the grains, no thermowell, just the sensor in a thin ss-capsule. No more issues.
Thanks for the reply. I have been wondering about this. I use a thermowell which is attached to ball valve of my kettles drain. I was thinking of moving it to my sparge arm, but maybe I will look into something more like you are doing. No thermowell.
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Old 12-13-2012, 08:41 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mpez View Post
Thanks for the reply. I have been wondering about this. I use a thermowell which is attached to ball valve of my kettles drain. I was thinking of moving it to my sparge arm, but maybe I will look into something more like you are doing. No thermowell.
That's possible the worst place for a sensor. The valve acts like a heat sink and cools the sensor below the actual temperature (laminar flows, turbulence etc.). I've done a lot of testing and it seems to be almost impossible to measure flowing liquids. Check out this thread http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f51/herm...ml#post4674359
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Old 12-14-2012, 05:36 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mpez View Post
Thanks for the reply. I have been wondering about this. I use a thermowell which is attached to ball valve of my kettles drain. I was thinking of moving it to my sparge arm, but maybe I will look into something more like you are doing. No thermowell.
If this is on your mash tun, I think you'd find a huge variance between this temp and one in the middle of the mash tun.

I use a 20 gallon Blichmann and have two 12" probes (that I average) at about the 1/3 and 2/3 mark.

One of the best things I did was build an "aux" probe that I keep connected on a long cable and can use for ad hoc temperature checking throughout the session.
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Old 12-14-2012, 01:29 PM   #8
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My system is HERMS with the temperature measured at the return to the mash tun. I initially had a tee with a thermowell and I saw a 4 degF lower temperature and a lot of latency. I took account for this by setting my mash temp 4 degF lower and setting the firmware options to say there is a 4 degF temp loss between the HLT and MT. I recently switched to a compression fitting and a new probe with a SS end and it now measure spot on with my thermapen.
I don't think my beer would suffer if I didn't account for the temperature offset. I typically mash at 150-152 degF so my FG would just be slightly higher.

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Old 12-14-2012, 05:16 PM   #9
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If you are going to use a thermal well you need to use thermal paste in the bottom of your well to allow for good heat transfer through the well to the temp sensor. You can buy this stuff from most electronics distributors like Digikey and mouser.

I've seen a 4F offset without thermal paste go down to a 0.1F offset once thermal paste was added.

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