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They all LIE! or, thermometers are EVIL! (rant)

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Zymurgrafi

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I hates 'em, I hates the blighters!


Damnnit!


AAAAaarrrrgh! The bane of my existence!

I calibrate the ones I can (insta-read probe type) but still they lie! I adjust boiling point for elevation and barometric pressure with a boiling point calculator.

I also calibrate at the other end with crushed ice and water in a glass to set the freezing point. Still they are farkin' farked!

I bought a lab type "calibration" spirit thermometer from More Beer. Assumed it was accurate and used that for a while. Checked it on a whim yesterday before brewing. In boiling water it only reads 204F!!! The current boiling point yesterday at my elevation and the barometric pressure was 210.5F. In freezing water it was like 34F!?!

What the HELL! So I used 6 thermometers in my mash. How many different reading do you think I had?

That's right 6! With about a 10 degree variance!

If I cannot trust a lab thermometer which is supposed to be used for calibrating others what can I trust?




Smegging hell! I think they were perhaps better off in the days before thermometers!
 
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Brother you need to RDWHAHB!!! But more than that get yourself some good equipment and just brew Brother just brew.
Here is hoping you make it through the day :mug:
Cheers
JJ
 

BrewBeemer

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This isn't good. Remember the saying "trust no none?" but in your case trust no thermometer. Heck you can almost use your finger to guess test these lower temps within those 10 degree differences your getting. I would locate someone that sells those non contact hand held infrared thermometers, go thru a bunch of 'em just to see if they all read the same then buy one. They are not that expensive, just what you wanted to hear more money out for another thermometer. Use it to calibrate the ones you have that repeat their temps accurately.
 
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Zymurgrafi

Zymurgrafi

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heh.

You must be recalling my thread from yesterday. :ban:

Believe me, I had many a homebrew then. That was all in fun (or was it? :cross:)

This is a more serious rant ;)

Now, don't get me wrong. I love making beer and do have fun. I do make good beer too. I just want to make even better beer. Master the skills. I cannot do that if I have an accurate way of measuring things like mash temperatures. So it is a bit irksome and cause for steam blowing off...

ah well, time to go drywall the brew room.
 

Revvy

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Don't get me started on thermometers either....I've burned through 6 different types in the last year or so...I still haven't found one that was accurate, didn't break, or just worked sufficiently for me. I've modded and waterproofed the digital ones like the plans on this site have shown...I've bought water proof digitals that the minute the steam from the kettle hits it the led blinks out...Yadda yadda yadda....

Oops I think I did get started... :D

This is probably the only issue I have come up in brewing, that I haven't been able to rdwhahb about...a good, accurate thermometer that doesn't cost an arm and a leg...
 

k1v1116

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honesty those floating non-digital thermometers have been the most accurate for me, the draw back is the slow adjustment and difficulty in reading the fine lines marking single degrees. all of my thermos have proven accurate when calibrated, the issue is no matter how well I stir my mash I have temperatures varying 10f or more depending on where I hold the thermo. the floating thermos seem to take a good average of the whole mash so thats what I use for my main temp reading.
 

BrewBeemer

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I still depend on my Fluke 52 which specs within +/- .05%, .5 degree F.
Use as a test standard against other temp meters, gauges and temp dials.
Same with electrical use a Fluke 87 meter, they have never failed on me.
 
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Zymurgrafi

Zymurgrafi

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honesty those floating non-digital thermometers have been the most accurate for me...
I break those left and right. In fact I had just bought one and broke it before it ever got used!

:mad:

I too have tried just about every kind out there. They all SUCK!
 

BrewBeemer

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Would that be from heavy handed or just butter fingers causing breakages?
I can break any small digital camera by dropping if handled under a half hours use. Heck my cell phone is now dead due to high "G" drops of over 20', one went into the swimming pool the other into the bay salt water. I now have a spare battery collection.
 

Revvy

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Would that be from heavy handed or just butter fingers causing breakages?

Nope...I've had the floating kind simply break internally during boils....

I'm had digitals just go haywire...I've had adjustable dial types just give up the ghost and refuse to accept calibration. And I've had some of those "wateproof" ones not be steam proof at the led...

NONE of mine have broke because I was "heavy handed," if it was operator error I wouldn't be bitching about the thermometers, I would be bitching about my klutziness....And I'm pretty sure the OP would say the same thing as well...
 

T-Hops

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I would agree that it has to be one of the most frustrating parts of brewing. My answer may not be the answer for everyone, but it works for me. I purchased a glass lab thermometer and use it as my constant. I calibrate the rest of my thermometers off this one at mash temps. I know that it may not be exact, but it should be off by the same amount every time and it should be close. I adjust my mash temps based off my lab thermometer. My brewing consistency has improved since I started this.
 

Evan!

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I've had great luck with this NIST Traceable digital thermo. I went through one of them because the wire simply pulled away from the readout, but that very well might've been my fault---I don't know. But my second one seems very accurate, and I have not had any problems with steam screwing up the readout or any of that mess. Now, of course, I'm knocking on wood over here, but, yeah, I've checked this one against several others and it's accurate within a degree or two.

I also have one of those floating analog thermos, but it's strange: it will take a good reading, but if you leave it in there for awhile, the reading continues to rise. I put it into my mash tun, and the digital one said 154F. I put this one in, and it read about 154 too. I came back 20 minutes later, the digital one still said 154, but when I pulled the analog one out, it said something like 185. I'm not sure why it does this...maybe it's the steam pressure inside the tun?
 

GilaMinumBeer

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I went to an actuall labaratory supply. For less than what it cost with an online supply I got a certified stick thermo. I use it to calibrate the others but, I don't trust anything else for the mash. So far it has survived me.
 

Revvy

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I also have one of those floating analog thermos, but it's strange: it will take a good reading, but if you leave it in there for awhile, the reading continues to rise. I put it into my mash tun, and the digital one said 154F. I put this one in, and it read about 154 too. I came back 20 minutes later, the digital one still said 154, but when I pulled the analog one out, it said something like 185. I'm not sure why it does this...maybe it's the steam pressure inside the tun?
Did the temp on it ever change, or did it stay stuck at 154? That happened to me, and upon closer inspection, the internal glass tube (or whatever it is called, where the "liquid" rises in as the temp rises) had snapped.
 

JVD_X

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When I worked in the restaurant business we needed to calibrate our instant read thermometers weekly. It only took a minute and one ice bath could calibrate them all at once. I think the issue that is brewing isn't a daily activity for most of us so it takes a while to build up a routine - which by the time you HAVE a routine is completely changed because of the latest brew equipment or technique!

Have you incorporated a calibration routine into your brew plans?
 

BrewBeemer

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Today I had to run a test between my old Fluke 52 against a 5 year newer Fluke 52-II meter using a gallon milk container in the fridge and a two gallon aluminum pot of water in the oven. On the fridge at 38*F the difference was .2*F, the oven water pot at 172* the difference was .3*F between both meters. Switching temp probes the difference this time was .1*F at 38*F and .2*F at 172*F. All within factory meter tolerances. There may be different readings again with other Fluke 52 series meters and probes but I know no one else with this series meter and probe to compare against. As stated above use a good known accurate meter to calibrate the others but if those other brewing meters do not repeat the correct temps your screwed they need to be replaced.
 

BrewBeemer

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Nope...I've had the floating kind simply break internally during boils....

I'm had digitals just go haywire...I've had adjustable dial types just give up the ghost and refuse to accept calibration. And I've had some of those "wateproof" ones not be steam proof at the led...

NONE of mine have broke because I was "heavy handed," if it was operator error I wouldn't be bitching about the thermometers, I would be bitching about my klutziness....And I'm pretty sure the OP would say the same thing as well...

MADE IN CHINA?
 

knowltonm

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On the rant of thermometers I don't have the luxury of several to choose from. I have one lab thermometer that I use and have calibrated with ice water. My question today, is why the hell it reads 151F when I put it in the mash, but 160F when I set it in there with only an inch sticking above the liquid?
 

Coastarine

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BeerPressure

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I haven't been trusting my regular dial thermo lately for taking mash temps. It isn't accurate unless you are moving the probe around in the water, otherwise it will just stay at a temp and not move.

I am in the market for a digital thermometer and I am just bookmarking all the ones people say they like and deciding later.
 

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