Extract Brewing--Temp Measurement/Control

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bluespook

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I have an 8 gallon SS pot with spigot that I want to use for extract brewing. It has a welded threaded outlet/hole for a thermowell (I guess that's what it's for) that is capped with a threaded plug. Is there any reason not to put in a gauge with thermowell to measure temperatures? I know I could also use a thermometer or temp meter, but wouldn't a gauge work just as well?

Also, I've got a couple of used Ashcroft gauges with thermowells that I bought off a guy that are dirty as the bottom of an ol' barn boot...rust in spots and black grimy stuff that I suspect is caked-on wort and some plumber's tape that has become something else ugly. Any ideas on how to get it clean? I've tried a brass brush and soaking in oxy, but it isn't coming off getting softer. Do you think WD40 might help?
 
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