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Old 11-25-2013, 04:01 PM   #1
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Default Need advice on thermometers for Rubbermaid 10 gallon coolers

Hi, I'm fairly new to all-grain. I have 10 gallon Rubbermaid coolers for my MLT and HLT. I'd like to add thermometers, so I don't have to open the lids to check temp.

My MLT has a domed false bottom that is already tricky to get in and out under the bulkhead, and I don't want to complicate that when I do this.

Should I get threaded weldless thermometers like those on bargainfittings.com, drill through the cooler, waterproof with o-rings, and plan on removing the MLT thermometer when taking the false bottom in and out?

Is there a better way to do through the wall thermometers that will still reach near the center of the mash without interfering with insertion/removal of the false bottom?

Should I drop a probe in from the top on a lead? Is there a best practice for that?

Thank you all for any help.


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Old 11-25-2013, 04:05 PM   #2
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My advice would be you don't need one.


Pre heat your tun, hit your mash temp, close the lid...go away for 60 minutes.

The cooler will hold your temp very well for 60 minutes...and extremely well for the 15-20 minutes that actually matter.


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Old 11-25-2013, 04:19 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Xpertskir View Post
My advice would be you don't need one.


Pre heat your tun, hit your mash temp, close the lid...go away for 60 minutes.

The cooler will hold your temp very well for 60 minutes...and extremely well for the 15-20 minutes that actually matter.
This would also be my advice for the mash tun. I occasionally check the temp after 60 minutes and the most it has dropped is 1 degree.

As for the HLT, drill a hole in the lid and stick the probe down through it.
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Old 11-25-2013, 11:02 PM   #4
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Agree 100%. My Rubbermaid cooler usually doesn't even drop 1 degree over a 60 minute mash. Unless you really, really want one, you don't need it. Spend the money on something else!
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Old 11-26-2013, 03:19 AM   #5
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This would also be my advice for the mash tun. I occasionally check the temp after 60 minutes and the most it has dropped is 1 degree.

As for the HLT, drill a hole in the lid and stick the probe down through it.
I'm probably over-reacting to noob problems. First time, I got my mash water up about 10 degrees higher than strike temp, as recommended, but got impatient waiting for temp to drop, and added cold water. Naturally, mash temp didn't stay where it needed to be.

Second time, I pre-heated the MLT and was patient on temp--no temp problems in the MLT. But my HLT was just holding sparge water too long, I guess, and it fell below temp. Maybe because it took so long to recirc until the wort ran clear.

The reason I'm interested in thermometers is so I can know if there is a problem *before* the point when I need things to be at a certain temp, especially in the HLT.
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Old 11-26-2013, 03:23 AM   #6
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Old 11-26-2013, 03:40 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trippel-A View Post
Hi, I'm fairly new to all-grain. I have 10 gallon Rubbermaid coolers for my MLT and HLT. I'd like to add thermometers, so I don't have to open the lids to check temp.

My MLT has a domed false bottom that is already tricky to get in and out under the bulkhead, and I don't want to complicate that when I do this.

Should I get threaded weldless thermometers like those on bargainfittings.com, drill through the cooler, waterproof with o-rings, and plan on removing the MLT thermometer when taking the false bottom in and out?

Is there a better way to do through the wall thermometers that will still reach near the center of the mash without interfering with insertion/removal of the false bottom?

Should I drop a probe in from the top on a lead? Is there a best practice for that?

Thank you all for any help.
I just drop in the probe from my stc 1000 and close 'er up. The wire is plenty thin enough to allow the lid to close well. As the others have said, its not really necessary with a single infusion mash. I still prefer to have it in there for the peace of mind though.
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Old 11-26-2013, 12:07 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trippel-A View Post
I'm probably over-reacting to noob problems. First time, I got my mash water up about 10 degrees higher than strike temp, as recommended, but got impatient waiting for temp to drop, and added cold water. Naturally, mash temp didn't stay where it needed to be.
Use a brewing software that will tell you exactly what temp your strike water needs to be. Then there's no waiting for temp to drop or adding cold water.

Quote:
Second time, I pre-heated the MLT and was patient on temp--no temp problems in the MLT. But my HLT was just holding sparge water too long, I guess, and it fell below temp. Maybe because it took so long to recirc until the wort ran clear.
Take the money you're going to spend on thermometers and get another burner and pot for the HLT. You then have full control over the strike and sparge temps. IMO using a cooler for a HLT is asking for problems.
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Old 11-27-2013, 03:57 PM   #9
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Use a brewing software that will tell you exactly what temp your strike water needs to be. Then there's no waiting for temp to drop or adding cold water.
I used Brew Smith 2 for the first time, and I couldn't find a place to say whether I'm preheating the MLT or not. I'm going to continue to aim high and patiently wait for my water to hit strike temp until I've got more experience under my belt.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bja View Post
Take the money you're going to spend on thermometers and get another burner and pot for the HLT. You then have full control over the strike and sparge temps. IMO using a cooler for a HLT is asking for problems.
If I could get another burner and a pot for the same price as a thermometer I'd be a happy camper. Major cost differential there.
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Old 11-27-2013, 04:07 PM   #10
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Thanks, Bobby, very helpful!


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