Better Bottle Thermowell

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PorterIV

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I love using Better Bottles (light, no breakage risk) but just got a digital Johnson temp controller with the stainless thermowell. It comes with a normal rubber bung for a carboy. OK, so I used a normal carboy with the first brew with it - did a great job regulating the temperature in my fridge. Fermentation was right on.

Now, I'd like to use the Better Bottle. So, what I did was take a #10 rubber stopper and drill a second hole (3/8 inch) in it for the thermowell. It is working OK, but I would love to be able to use the Better Bottle cap and dry tap or something that fits better than the #10 bung. The rubber bung is still a little slippery in the top of the BB and I worry about it popping out or pushing it too far in.

Any ideas? Anyone else run into this?

Thanks.
 

maida7

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What I do is tape the probe to the side of the Better bottle. Masking tape works great. I get very good temp control with this method.
 
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PorterIV

PorterIV

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Thanks for all the replies.

Raceskier - I like that setup and will probably try it with my next batch. On a related note, I haven't used the dry tap yet - how do you like it? Have you hooked up a blowoff tube to it?

I also have an extra carboy cap and will see if it is the kind that fits.
 

maida7

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Thanks for all the replies.

Raceskier - I like that setup and will probably try it with my next batch. On a related note, I haven't used the dry tap yet - how do you like it? Have you hooked up a blowoff tube to it?

I also have an extra carboy cap and will see if it is the kind that fits.
I'm very interested in the dry trap as well. Will it fit in a regular drilled stopper or is it only good in the VERY expensive BB brand stopper. I want one but I ain't paying 40.00 for a stopper and airlock.
 

raceskier

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AFAIK, the dry tap only fits the BB stopper. I suppose you could drill a blank rubber bung for it, but why when a conventional airlock works there? I use a 1/2" OD vinyl hose straight into the BB cap with the small o-ring as a blowoff. After things settle down and for secondary, I use the dry tap. I don't think the dry tap can handle the volume of yeast being expelled early in the primary fermentation. Now if there were a 7 gallon BB, with more head space, you might get away with it for a 5 gallon batch.
 

maida7

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AFAIK, the dry tap only fits the BB stopper. I suppose you could drill a blank rubber bung for it, but why when a conventional airlock works there?
The dry trap is attractive because the BB sucks in the liquid from a standard airlock every time you touch the sides. If you try to pick it up or just move the BB it will suck in the liquid as the sides flex. I use star san in the airlock but the dry trap looks to be a way better solution.
 

ArcaneXor

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The dry trap is attractive because the BB sucks in the liquid from a standard airlock every time you touch the sides. If you try to pick it up or just move the BB it will suck in the liquid as the sides flex. I use star san in the airlock but the dry trap looks to be a way better solution.
It only does that when you overfill the airlock or use a bubbler-style airlock. You only need enough liquid in the 3-piece for the floating piece to barely float. Any more than that, and the liquid can get sucked back through the center tube as you say.
 

maida7

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It only does that when you overfill the airlock or use a bubbler-style airlock. You only need enough liquid in the 3-piece for the floating piece to barely float. Any more than that, and the liquid can get sucked back through the center tube as you say.

I'll try that but it's sucking something. If it ain't sucking in the liquid it's got to be sucking in the outside air and that can't be a good thing.:(
 

ArcaneXor

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I'll try that but it's sucking something. If it ain't sucking in the liquid it's got to be sucking in the outside air and that can't be a good thing.:(
The air bubbles through the liquid, which (assuming the airlock is filled with alcohol or StarSan) will kill any microorganisms.
 

egurney

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The air bubbles through the liquid, which (assuming the airlock is filled with alcohol or StarSan) will kill any microorganisms.
If it bubbles through, not all the air will be in contact with the liquid.
Also, doesn't StarSan need 30 seconds of contact time?
 

Mose

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I just built a thermowell today for my BB. I use one of those orange carboy tops with a spot for a blow off tube and airlock. I took a piece of copper 1/4" ID tube about 18" long and soldered a copper cap on the bottom with no lead solder. I had to use a reducer and larger cap since my Lowe's didn't have the right size pieces.

Then I every so slightly enlarged the airlock hole with a 3/8" bit. I pushed the copper tube up through the hole from the bottom of the cap. It seems airtight at the cap. I might put a bead of silicone ther to make sure. But I like the idea I can easily pull it out and use it elsewhere...where I don't know. This also lets me pull it out and use an airlock once the blow off tube isn't really needed anymore. If nothing else, it looks pretty cool...so far, until it kills a batch a beer for me.

What I learned is I won't be doing any welding on any future project and could probably use a good tutorial in soldering, I'm worthless.

Edit: It cost $10. I needed flux and solder so that cost me an additional $6 but if you have that you're good to go.
 

Mose

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That is exactly what I just built but for 10, unless my soldering sucked and it falls apart in my beer
 

Stickshaker

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What I do is tape the probe to the side of the Better bottle. Masking tape works great. I get very good temp control with this method.
I bet if you use a couple layers of that puffy foam tape, it might work even better. R-values and whatnot...
 

samc

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From what I recall reading -Copper in the fermenter for long periods of time is not good. Someone with an actual chemistry background could probably give you good reasons but as I recall it reacts and causes copper sulfate which the yeast can't process fast enough.

I may be remembering this all wrong but I would check it out before using your thermowell. You don't see anyone selling copper thermowells or thermocouples for liquid immersion.
 

maida7

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Copper is toxic. The yeast will scrub out copper during fermentation but post ferment it could be a problem. Personally, I would not use a copper thermowell.
 

Mose

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Well....I guess I'll go back to the books and find that out before I stick it in the beer. Thanks for the heads up. If it won't work, at least it was cheap.
 

maida7

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Tape is also cheap and works great. Just tape the probe to the side. Regular masking tape works just fine.
 

Mose

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