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Old 10-25-2011, 11:02 PM   #1
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Default Thermometer for Mash Tun or Brew Pot?

Hey guys,

I'm getting into AG after "Black Friday" (wonder why ), so I'm putting together a few pieces of equipment: 10 Gallon Cooler Mash Tun (using Flyguy's Guide), SS Brew Pot with valve, and a Counterflow Wort Chiller (using Bobby's Guide).

Now, I'm noticing all those weldless thermometers are running about high $20's each, + about another $10 for the bulkhead. My plan was to install one of these on the Mash Tun as well as the brew pot, but I'm seeing that's going to cost a pretty penny, considering all the investments I'm already making.

My question to you experienced AG brewers from here is:
Is it more convenient to install a thermometer on the Mash Tun to monitor my mash temp constantly, or to install it on the brew pot to get an accurate reading on the strike and sparge waters? I feel installing a fancy thermometer on both is redundant, and with that money I can brew another AG batch

Moreover, am I even looking at the most accurate weldless thermometers, or simply overpriced ones? (http://www.austinhomebrew.com/product_info.php?cPath=178_67_65&products_id=12727 &osCsid=993b74be4eb80beae601d3d1a06d5c0b)

If you know of better and cheaper ones, please let me know, thanks!

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Originally Posted by BierMuncher View Post

“Get your beer off the yeast cake on day 7 or your beer will crawl out of the fermenter and eat your youngest child”

“Your beer will be the equivalent of rhinoceros urine unless it sits on the primary yeast cake for at least 4 weeks.”
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Old 10-25-2011, 11:07 PM   #2
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Think about this- why do you need a thermometer on the brewpot? It's either boiling, or not. The temperature doesn't matter!

However..............if you're using your brewpot to heat sparge and strike water, then yes, you need a thermometer unless you're going to stand there with a hand held thermometer.

Do you need a thermometer in the MLT? My old MLT had one, this one does not. I don't need it, as I stir the mash and check the temp and walk away. But it's a cooler MLT so it holds temperatures well. If it was a keg or a pot, I'd want a thermometer on it for sure to monitor it.

My HLT has a thermometer probe and that is the only one I have. If you don't have an HLT, then the thermometer should go on the vessel that you're using to heat the water. Or skip it entirely.

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Old 10-25-2011, 11:12 PM   #3
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A thermometer in the brew pot is good if you use an immersion chiller, to know when you've gotten down to pitching temperature. Certainly not a "must-have", but definitely a "nice-to-have".

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Old 10-25-2011, 11:13 PM   #4
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My current brewpot doesnt have a thermometer. I have a 15.5 gallon keg that I am getting ready to convert into a brewpot. I am going to install one so I can watch the temp as I chill the wort.

If you have one installed on your chiller... that I agreee 100% with Yooper. Your boiling or your not.

Cheers

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Old 10-25-2011, 11:30 PM   #5
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Thanks for the quick replies! Sorry I didn't specify that I was planning on using my brew pot as my HLT (unless there are any objections?). I understand boiling is a definitive, either you're boiling or not, so the thermometer will have no use during the boil. But with that in mind, I see you all recommend putting the thermometer on the HLT rather than the mash tun. I can probably just throw in a dairy thermometer that i have sitting around inside the mash tun, and check that a few times during the mash.

Now any suggestions on an effective and accurate thermometer to install in the HLT?

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Quote:
Originally Posted by BierMuncher View Post

“Get your beer off the yeast cake on day 7 or your beer will crawl out of the fermenter and eat your youngest child”

“Your beer will be the equivalent of rhinoceros urine unless it sits on the primary yeast cake for at least 4 weeks.”
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Old 10-25-2011, 11:45 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cacaman View Post
Thanks for the quick replies! Sorry I didn't specify that I was planning on using my brew pot as my HLT (unless there are any objections?). I understand boiling is a definitive, either you're boiling or not, so the thermometer will have no use during the boil. But with that in mind, I see you all recommend putting the thermometer on the HLT rather than the mash tun. I can probably just throw in a dairy thermometer that i have sitting around inside the mash tun, and check that a few times during the mash.

Now any suggestions on an effective and accurate thermometer to install in the HLT?
Ok, you're using your brewpot as an HLT? That's fine, but where are you going to "store" your runnings during the sparge? Or are you doing a Brutus-type system? I'm just trying to picture what you're trying to do here, not interrogate you!

My HLT is overkill- a PID for my HERMS- so I don't think you'd want what I have!
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Old 10-26-2011, 12:02 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yooper View Post
Ok, you're using your brewpot as an HLT? That's fine, but where are you going to "store" your runnings during the sparge? Or are you doing a Brutus-type system? I'm just trying to picture what you're trying to do here, not interrogate you!

My HLT is overkill- a PID for my HERMS- so I don't think you'd want what I have!
No no, on the contrary! I need the interrogation to better my future system. I am going to buy a 8-10 gallon pot to serve as my brew pot and HLT. I currently have a 6 gallon SS pot that I would use for my extract batches, but not longer plan to use it. Maybe it would be a better idea to convert the 6 gallon pot into a HLT instead so that I could use the brew pot to store the runnings? And by convert I simply mean add a weldless thermometer
What do you think?

Thanks Yoopy!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BierMuncher View Post

“Get your beer off the yeast cake on day 7 or your beer will crawl out of the fermenter and eat your youngest child”

“Your beer will be the equivalent of rhinoceros urine unless it sits on the primary yeast cake for at least 4 weeks.”
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Old 10-26-2011, 12:55 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yooper View Post
Think about this- why do you need a thermometer on the brewpot? It's either boiling, or not. The temperature doesn't matter![...]
Well, yes, it actually does.

I have a thermometer on my BK, and when I'm cooking up a brew, when it gets up around 205°F I know to remove the lid, start dialing down the gas, and keep an eye on it 'til it starts rollin'. I've never had a boil over.

I also use an IC, and use the thermometer to know when I've hit pitching temperature...

Cheers!
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Old 10-26-2011, 01:37 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by day_trippr View Post
Well, yes, it actually does.

I have a thermometer on my BK, and when I'm cooking up a brew, when it gets up around 205°F I know to remove the lid, start dialing down the gas, and keep an eye on it 'til it starts rollin'. I've never had a boil over.

I also use an IC, and use the thermometer to know when I've hit pitching temperature...

Cheers!
Solid advice, however i plan on using a counterflow chiller, so I won't need one in that sense (maybe one on the output end of the chiller though).

Also, wouldn't a glass lid also resolve the risk of boil over? Or is there some kind of contraindication against glass lids?
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BierMuncher View Post

“Get your beer off the yeast cake on day 7 or your beer will crawl out of the fermenter and eat your youngest child”

“Your beer will be the equivalent of rhinoceros urine unless it sits on the primary yeast cake for at least 4 weeks.”
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Old 10-26-2011, 01:46 AM   #10
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Quote:
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[...]Also, wouldn't a glass lid also resolve the risk of boil over? Or is there some kind of contraindication against glass lids?
I consider a glass lid in a brewing environment to be a perishable item

In any case, you could stand there watching the pot with no idea how far off the boil is when you could be doing something more useful. A calibrated thermometer makes catching the hot break before it ends up all over the place pretty easy...

Cheers!
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