Temperature Measurement with BIAB

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A1sportsdad

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I have been doing extract brews for the past 2 years. They have all turned out great, but I really want to start into all grain so I am setting up to do BIAB. Since I now have to make my wort, I’m wondering how precise I have to be with temperature measurement. For the extract brews I was able to get away with just using the dial temperature gauge on my pot because I was either just doing a short grain steep or into the one hour boil. Do I need to use something more precise here with BIAB for creating the wort.

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brewbama

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I’ve seen a bazillion home brewers use an analog dial thermometer. Just test it in an ice bath and in boiling water so you’ll know if you’re in the ballpark. If your intended mash in 152*F and you hit anywhere from 148*F-154*F you’ll be fine.

FWIW: I never can tell the difference in a beer mashed 148*F vs one mashed at 154*F. Barley wants to be wort. Crush it and get it in warm water and it will.
 

wilserbrewer

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You can use your kettle mounted thermometer, but some prefer to use a digital hand held thermometer.

Just be warned to be sure to push your bag clear of the kettle thermometer when removing the bag.

Sounds obvious, but more than a few have insisted on pulling harder, or getting a friend to help rip the bag on the kettle thermometer [emoji855]
 

IslandLizard

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Wrap a thick blanket or sleeping bag around the kettle (and lid!) during the mash to reduce temp loss during the hour mash.
No open flame with that cover though!

After several years using an OK-working $16 digital thermometer from Amazon, which had a kinda slow response, I finally splurged on a Thermoworks Thermapen Mk4. $80 during an open box sale. So wish I had bought one sooner. I use it in the kitchen and with the grill too. Of all the presents one could get...
 

LittleRiver

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I've been using the Thermoworks ChefAlarm thermometer for a few years. I really like the temp alarm functions, I use them every brew day. For initial heating I set the alarm a few degrees below my strike temp then go grind grain and do other things. Same thing when ramping up to a boil, I set an alarm for a few degrees below boiling temp, then go prep my hops, etc. I use the built in timer function to monitor my mash and boil times.

I use it with the optional 12" straight probe and a simple holder I made from some aluminum flashing.

IMG_20180209_165901_660.jpg

The probe to wire junction is not supposed to get wet, so I encased it and the wire with some high temp shrink wrap, using a water proof adhesive on the plastic body of the probe. It has never given me any problems.

It's also a great thermometer for baking or grilling.
 

brewbama

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Nice little stand you made as well. Very clean.

I have the same alarm with the Waterproof Needle Probe.
 

LittleRiver

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Nice little stand...
Thank you. Here's better pics of it. The black cord is elastic, it stretches enough to allow the thermometer to be installed or removed.

IMG_20180208_135249_948.jpg IMG_20180208_135857_571.jpg

I also have a brew area setup under the shed roof on the side of my shop building. There I attach the thermometer to the wall using the built-in magnets, which grab very securely onto a couple of bolt heads.

IMG_20190901_155228_340.jpg IMG_20190511_085123_331.jpg
 
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A1sportsdad

A1sportsdad

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I've been using the Thermoworks ChefAlarm thermometer for a few years. I really like the temp alarm functions, I use them every brew day. For initial heating I set the alarm a few degrees below my strike temp then go grind grain and do other things. Same thing when ramping up to a boil, I set an alarm for a few degrees below boiling temp, then go prep my hops, etc. I use the built in timer function to monitor my mash and boil times.

I use it with the optional 12" straight probe and a simple holder I made from some aluminum flashing.

View attachment 650105

The probe to wire junction is not supposed to get wet, so I encased it and the wire with some high temp shrink wrap, using a water proof adhesive on the plastic body of the probe. It has never given me any problems.

It's also a great thermometer for baking or grilling.
Thermoworks looks like a winner. Accuracy to 1.8 degrees and the ability to calibrate it if you find your freezing and boiling points off. Like it.
 

LittleRiver

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Thermoworks looks like a winner...
Great choice, I love mine. The probe that comes with it will work well for baking and grilling.

For the large kettles that are typically used in brewing, you'll need an additional probe. Either the Waterproof Needle Probe @brewbama mentioned above or the High Temp 12" Probe will work. The upside to the Needle Probe is that it has a waterproof junction between the cable and the probe tip. The downsides are that the probe is so short the junction has to be close to the surface of the wort, and it's intended for use in water not acidic wort (strive to keep the junction out of the wort and you'll probably be fine). The upside to the 12" Probe is that the cable to probe junction can be positioned well above the surface of the wort. The downside is that the junction cannot be allowed to get wet.

Before I bought mine I called Thermoworks and talked to them about this. They recommended the 12" probe for use with wort. I took the additional precaution of waterproofing the cable and probe junction (details in this post).

You may also need to make a probe holder that fits your kettle. As mentioned above, I made mine from a scrap piece of aluminum roof flashing material. All you need is a pair of tin snips and a drill. The bends can be made by hand over the edge of a table.

...the ability to calibrate it if you find your freezing and boiling points off...
I was initially not pleased with the boiling point accuracy -- it was too low. Then I remembered I'm 1,500ft above sea level. Once I factored that in I found the factory calibration to be spot on. I've been using it over 3years and have never had to calibrate it.
 
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