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Old 06-21-2010, 05:27 PM   #1
Rafae
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Default Broken Glass - Thermometer and Hydrometer

Brewed up a batch over the weekend and ran into some very frustrating glass instrument issues.

First, thermometer broke after taking a reading of sparge water @170 and dropping it in room temp sanitized water. I originally thought this was due to shock. So I put the brew on hold and ran to my LHBS to buy a new one. Spent the $10, got home and dropped (figuratively) it in the sanitizer. When i was ready to cold crash, i pulled it out of the sink and noticed MORE black beads at the bottom. I have no idea how this second thermometer broke and am now skeptical about shocking the first one. It didn't bang around in the sanitizer with anything other than vinyl tubing and a racking cane.

I went through two of these in one hour: http://www.austinhomebrew.com/popup_...es.php?pID=997

On top of that, I noticed the glass at the weight end of my hydrometer is also broken. I'm not sure if this is the reason my reading was off when i calibrated room temp water (maybe 60 degrees, hard to tell without a thermometer) with a reading of .99. I then took a FG reading of a batch i was bottling to get a reading of 1.00. Now this seems much too low for an OG of 1.055. When i adjust for calibration +.01 and the possibility that the water temp was ~67, i get a reading of 1.011. What do you think?

Anyone else have concerns about the flimsy glass casing these tools are made of?



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Old 06-21-2010, 05:36 PM   #2
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Weird - are you physically "dropping" the thermometer in? You've gotta be careful with these guys. Maybe try buying an all-glass thermometer. They don't need calibration, they're the cheapest at homebrew stores/science supply stores, and they're either broken or not, no sneaky beads coming out. I keep a coupe on hand for emergencies. They ARE extremely delicate, though - I've broken two, luckily by dropping them on the counter and not in my beer. Don't use them to stir the mash!

Your other option is an electronic thermometer that doesn't use these bead weights. They're a little more expensive, so decide if the investment is worth it, but looking around some homebrew shopping sites may be worth it if for some reason the other kind keeps breaking. What does the kind you're using look like?


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Old 06-21-2010, 09:10 PM   #3
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You know, I've always wondered why home brew kits always come with those glass milk thermometers. There useless other than to check the temp of your wort once you've already started to cool it down. You would think someone would have thought to sell a digital instant read thermo or even a stainless dial thermo with a kit. They are less than $10 to buy at any mass retailer.
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Old 06-21-2010, 10:03 PM   #4
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Go get a digital instant read thermometer. Those glass ones break way too easy, and one bulb full of that crap into your beer and it's done as far as im concerned.

As far as hydrometers......just be careful! I have broken them, and it always sucks...so now I keep two on hand at all times.
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Old 06-21-2010, 10:10 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JJL View Post
You know, I've always wondered why home brew kits always come with those glass milk thermometers. There useless other than to check the temp of your wort once you've already started to cool it down. You would think someone would have thought to sell a digital instant read thermo or even a stainless dial thermo with a kit. They are less than $10 to buy at any mass retailer.
Do you mean the floating thermometers? I put one in my mash and leave it in there, so I can do quick temperature checks without having to leave the lid off any longer than I need to. An instant read thermometer would work, too, but a floating thermometer works fine.
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Old 06-21-2010, 10:27 PM   #6
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There have been enough threads on this forum, and enough people chiming in on those threads, to demonstrate that the standard hydrometer (and certainly a glass thermometer wouldn't be much better) is a very delicate appliance. I still have my original hydrometer, because it is used only for checking ambient wort for FG. My suggestion for a thermometer is to bite the bullet and buy quality. Last year I bought a Thermapen, and am delighted with it.
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Old 06-22-2010, 04:25 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by shanecb View Post
Do you mean the floating thermometers? I put one in my mash and leave it in there, so I can do quick temperature checks without having to leave the lid off any longer than I need to. An instant read thermometer would work, too, but a floating thermometer works fine.
Yeah...the glass floating ones. They do work, but they're far from being all purpose. Being that they are glass, they are susceptible to all of the problems glass poses. The 2 main problems being that they are fragile, and they don't handle quick changes in temp very well - which is a particular problem since their main purpose is to measure temperature. I'm just saying a digital read or dial thermometer should be an option with brewing kits. They're basically the same price.

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Old 06-22-2010, 05:44 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by JJL View Post
Yeah...the glass floating ones. They do work, but they're far from being all purpose. Being that they are glass, they are susceptible to all of the problems glass poses. The 2 main problems being that they are fragile, and they don't handle quick changes in temp very well - which is a particular problem since their main purpose is to measure temperature. I'm just saying a digital read or dial thermometer should be an option with brewing kits. They're basically the same price.
Oh I agree! I was just saying that they do work okay for a mash, since there should (hopefully) not be any quick temperature changes
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Old 06-22-2010, 06:08 PM   #9
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Oh I agree! I was just saying that they do work okay for a mash, since there should (hopefully) not be any quick temperature changes
I'm like the some of the guys above, the first time I broke one I swore them off for good. Thankfully mine didn't break in my beer.

I just wish there was an economical alternative to the hydrometer that that isn't made of glass.


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