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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Beginners Beer Brewing Forum > thermometer off?
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Old 06-07-2009, 08:58 PM   #1
lnb001
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Default thermometer off?

Brewed my second batch today. With my first batch I used a meat thermometer and it would not read the wort below about 80 degrees. I went to LHBS and picked up a proper thermometer and still it did not read below 80 degrees, even after an ice bath and sitting in my house (~74) for about 1.5 hours. Just wondering what I do about this as this throws off my gravity readings. My cerveza had an OG of 2.2 and my stout had an OG of 1.4. These are without temperature corrections as I do not accurately know what the temperature is. Should I assume my beer is around 74 degrees since that is what my house is? Thanks.

-Lucas

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Old 06-07-2009, 09:15 PM   #2
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Brewed my second batch today. With my first batch I used a meat thermometer and it would not read the wort below about 80 degrees. I went to LHBS and picked up a proper thermometer and still it did not read below 80 degrees, even after an ice bath and sitting in my house (~74) for about 1.5 hours. Just wondering what I do about this as this throws off my gravity readings. My cerveza had an OG of 2.2 and my stout had an OG of 1.4. These are without temperature corrections as I do not accurately know what the temperature is. Should I assume my beer is around 74 degrees since that is what my house is? Thanks.

-Lucas

OG of 2.2 and 1.4? What are you using to measure the OG? That isnt SG, that isnt Brix and certainly not Plato.
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Old 06-08-2009, 12:57 AM   #3
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OG of 2.2 and 1.4? What are you using to measure the OG? That isnt SG, that isnt Brix and certainly not Plato.
I used the hydrometer that came with the kit I got. At first I thought I was reading the wrong gauge because the hydrometer has 3 different things you can read off of but I double checked and that is what it said 2.2
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Old 06-08-2009, 03:26 AM   #4
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Almost every dial thermometer I've seen has a hex-nut behind the dial. You calibrate it by holding that nut with a pliers or wrench, and then turning the dial. In a glass of ice water, you simply turn the dial 'til it reads 32deg.

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Old 06-08-2009, 01:34 PM   #5
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I've learned that in whenever I get a new thermometer, to calibrate it vs boiling and freezing. The last glass one I picked up was about 12 degrees low, and a couple degrees off. Meaning I needed to calibrate it vs a new scale. When I mash at 155, I really need the thermo to read 146. 150 will read at 142.

Not sure what the deal is with the hydro. Are you reading Alcohol percent, instead of specific gravity? A "typical" ale will start with a specific gravity around 1.050 and finish with 1.010.

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Old 06-08-2009, 01:40 PM   #6
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It sounds like you have a "triple scale" hydrometer, like I do. This has the Balling scale, potential alcohol, and SG scale. Winemakers tend to use the Balling scale and PA scale, but homebrewers usually use the SG scale. There are numbers from .990 to about 1.140 with thick lines at the "10" levels. You put the hydrometer in the sample jar with enough wort to float the hydrometer (that's very important) and then don't let the hydrometer touch the side. Then, read at the level of the liquid.

Like this:



No one is trying to give you a hard time. Just that 2.2 isn't even possible, and isn't even on the hydrometer. Make sure you're looking at something just like the picture. I had trouble the first few times, too. It's not very intuitive, but it's simple and you'll find that it gets much easier with a little practice.

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Old 06-08-2009, 02:26 PM   #7
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I knew 2.2 was too high just couldn't figure out whether I was reading it wrong or not. I think I figured out my problem. The SG scale on my hydro starts at the top with 990 then the next mark is 1000 then it goes from there in increments of 10. So with my first batch, the wort was at the 20 level but I think it must really be 1.020. It confused me because there are no decimal points on the readings. Thanks for the help guys.

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Old 06-08-2009, 02:42 PM   #8
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1.022 and 1.014 would be outrageously low original gravities. Could he be reading degree Brix? A 14 would be about 1.054 SG, which would be right on for a stout. But, 22? That would be 1.092! That's pretty high. lnb001, can you post a recipe and a brief run down of your procedure?

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Old 06-08-2009, 04:59 PM   #9
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how do I post a picture of the SG scale on my hydro without putting it as a link? The Cerveza recipe was a can of LME, bag of DME, packet of hops and the yeast. The Stout recipe was the same, a can of LME, bag of DME packet of hops and the yeast. For both batches I did partial boils. I got my water to close to boiling then poured in the LME and DME, boiled for 5 minutes then added my hops and finished the boil for 40 minutes. For the Cerveza I did not strain the wort when I poured it into my carboy. For my Stout I got a fermentation bucket and a strainer bag and poured my wort through that into the dilution water. For the Cerveza I took a hydro reading at what I believed to be 85 degrees and for the Stout I took a hydro reading at what I belived to be 80 degrees. If someone can tell me how to post a pic I can get one up of my SG scale to figure out whether or not I am reading it completely wrong. Thanks.

-Lucas

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Old 06-08-2009, 05:53 PM   #10
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I think the readings you got were 1.022 and 1.014.
I also think the reasons they were so low was you didn't thoroughly mix the wort with the top off water with the boiled wort before taking the readings.
I wouldn't worry about it. With extract brews, you cannot mess up the original gravity, and everything will be nicely mixed up by the yeast by the time you need to check the final gravity, so you should get some accurate readings.

-a.

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