Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > All Grain & Partial Mash Brewing > The moment you realize your thermometer is broken....
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Old 05-25-2012, 01:14 PM   #1
exhumedatbirth
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Default The moment you realize your thermometer is broken....

Did a batch of Kolsch for an upcoming contest, and ended up a full point lower thant my estimated OG...ok I figured I must have made a mistake somewhere, but it'll be a session beer rather than a comp entry..Last weekend made a second batch of a saison recipe I've been working on..AGAIN much lower OG than my estimate..so did a calibration test on ye olde thermometer..and it was not just a few degree off..but like 15-20 degrees...sad panda here...


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Old 05-25-2012, 01:20 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by exhumedatbirth View Post
Did a batch of Kolsch for an upcoming contest, and ended up a full point lower thant my estimated OG...ok I figured I must have made a mistake somewhere, but it'll be a session beer rather than a comp entry..Last weekend made a second batch of a saison recipe I've been working on..AGAIN much lower OG than my estimate..so did a calibration test on ye olde thermometer..and it was not just a few degree off..but like 15-20 degrees...sad panda here...
I have suspected problems with my equipment and tested them as you have. Sadly, my equipment is perfect. It's my brewing that needs fixing!


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Old 05-25-2012, 01:29 PM   #3
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I thought it could have been my brewing after the Kolsch failure...after the Saison where I was insane about the details I knew something was up with the temps...now I'm still going to drink these beers...and enjoy them..much like I'm enjoying the 2% lager I made when I forgot to shut off my HLT once the boil kettle was full...
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Old 07-18-2012, 01:19 AM   #4
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I just discovered my thermometer was off too, by about 15-20 F as well. I've been wondering why my numbers were off and the beers were sweet, I'd been mashing WAY too high. Out to get a new one. (fingers crossed)
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Old 07-18-2012, 01:48 AM   #5
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Haha...I just finished fiddling w/ 4 thermometers...maybe they are all wrong by the same variance. I like having at least two sitting on the counter next to each other...I read both as a check occasionally.

Ordered a digital stick recently direct ship from china on ebay...it reads a few tenths low in my estimation but not bad at like $3.89 to the door.
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Old 07-18-2012, 11:54 AM   #6
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I also have experienced this problem....ruined an Oktoberfest! I was sad!
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Old 07-18-2012, 12:02 PM   #7
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Last weekend I learned my bimetal thermometer was off by about 10 degrees too hot. I normally use my glass thermomter, but this time I used this other one. Luckily I checked before the mash in or I would have had 140F water instead of 150F.
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Old 07-18-2012, 12:32 PM   #8
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What do you use to "check" the thermometer? If you use freezing and boiling you only have 2 setpoints. Not sure if a thermometer is going to be "off" a consistent amount across the entire temp spectrum. To the smarter people here: would a liquid filled thermometer (such as mercury or red alcohol) be more reliable for calibrating electronic thermometers? I would not risk putting a glass thermometer in my beer, but calibration is a different story. I have a thermopen oven thermometer, 3 bimetallic thermometers and a Taylor oven thermometer. Learned that the Taylor is junk, and the others are pretty much consistent with each other. Doesn't mean ANY are correct, but I'm hitting my target OG so I assume I'm OK.
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Old 07-18-2012, 12:47 PM   #9
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I do not like digital thermometers. I've had several and the temps would jump around. For example, I would measure a temp in a particular spot and the thermometer would read 155 degrees and the next moment it would read 145 degrees. It would never find a consistent temp. I went back to my original glass thermometer, you kmow, the one you get with your first ever homebrew kit. I tested it out at freezing and boiling and found that thermometer read 4 degrees hotter than it should at both ends. I have two set points, both off the same amount and I feel comfortable assuming my glass thermometer is consistantly off throughout the measured temperature ranges. Since switching I've been hitting my OG numbers more consistently and I can better predict if I'm going to have a dry beer or a beer with body.
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Old 07-18-2012, 03:59 PM   #10
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I checked my thermometer by simply reading it in the mash, then using a 'known good' glass thermometer. I usually stick the glass thermometer in the mash and 'stir' it around while watching the temp. If it jumps up in one area, I stir the mash to try to normalize the temp.


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