Why you need at least 3 calibrated thermometers and should check them on Brew Day.

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Bad Bubba

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I have several Thermoworks thermometers and a couple of Inkbirds. I have a Thermoworks Smoke with an extra-long probe that I use on brew day in the kettle. I brewed the other day and I was waiting for my kettle to come up to temperature for the mash. The Smoke was reading 144 degrees F and all of a sudden I noticed the water in the kettle starting to boil. I quickly grabbed another thermometer and found the water was 200 degrees (boiling at my altitude). I was able to salvage the day by cooling the water to mash temps using my immersion chiller but I realized I narrowly adverted disaster. If the probe had been only 20 degrees off, I would of ruined the mash. Now I have added the step to my brew day to check my thermometers for accuracy...and I need 3 because is one is off you can identify it by comparing with the other 2.
 
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Bad Bubba

Bad Bubba

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Just curious: did you purchase the Thermoworks Smoke from the company, or on Amazon? I have read that counterfeits sometimes show up on Amazon. If it's a genuine Thermoworks thermo, maybe they will replace it.

Glad you saved your brew day.
I have purchased all of my Thermoworks stuff off of their website. I like their stuff because it is certified calibrated. I have had the smoke unit for several years and the long probe for about 4 years - it is all out of warranty. It is the probe itself that has gone bad, I put a different probe into the smoke and it read fine. It is not the first probe I have had go bad.

I have been using Inkbirds quick reads more lately. They appear to be as accurate at a fraction of the cost. But Inkbird does not appear to offer a long probe with a kettle clip on their units that are similar to the Smoke.
 

BrewnWKopperKat

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For my all-grain brew days, I use a Thermapen and a Chef Alarm.

I hadn't thought too deeply about how I use them until early last night. It ends up that I "cross check" them while I'm heating the strike water.

I'll add the water, take a quick measurement with the Thermapen, then program the Chef Alarm. When I get close to the strike water temp, I stop using the Chef Alarm & use the Thermapen to "dial in" the strike water temp. So it "feels like" I would be able to detect a failure in one of them.
 

Deadalus

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I have been working with this issue myself on my 3 vessel EHerms. I have temperature probes on the outlets of the HLT and MT connected to Inkbird Pids, all vessels have side mounted Blichmann thermometers, and then a little pocket dial thermometer (a couple actually). What I have found is that my PIDs and Blichmanns drift off. One of the little dial thermometers was off so I threw it out and what I want to do is get a well calibrated handheld of some sort to better adjust the PIDs and Blichmanns as needed. To correct recently, I boiled water in the HLT and set the HLT PID and Blichmann correctly. I also checked the pocket dial thermometer with the boiling water. I then adjusted the MT PID and Blichmann to coincide with the pocket thermometer using recirculating water. With no heating element on the MT I can't boil water in it and just throwing in boiling water will not work as the MT will absorb some heat.

There's no guarantee any one thermometer is working correctly though, so checking the calibrated thermometer against boiling water is helpful IMO. Also, be aware of how readings may be affected by how the temperature reading is being taken such as top and bottom of the vessel, comparisons between vessels, recirculation areas, etc.

My last two brews I was able to keep MT temps within 1 degree F without needing to fuss with changing the HLT PID and I was happy with that. I recently added a recirculation manifold to the MT that I think is very helpful.
 

Jim R

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Those Thermapens have a very tiny and fragile wire that goes through the folding seam. Eventually it will break with repeated opening and closing of the pen. I have gone through 2 of them so far and don’t really trust long term. I now buy the Inkbird ones instead.
 

BrewnWKopperKat

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Those Thermapens have a very tiny and fragile wire that goes through the folding seam. Eventually it will break with repeated opening and closing of the pen. I have gone through 2 of them so far and don’t really trust long term. I now buy the Inkbird ones instead.
Yet another reason for discussing ideas on how to quickly calibrate equipment before brew day or cross check equipment during the brew session.
 

day_trippr

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I still have an original Splashproof in Screamin' Yellow that gets used a ton - in the kitchen and with the grill and the smoker. Still works great, and if it ever fails they'll fix it for $35 including return shipping, nbd.

But it's too short for brewing - the only thing I use it for brewing-wise is to check my starter wort to see if it's cooled enough to pitch. On actual brew days I use a Thermoworks 24" RT610B. I can get the grain temperature from the middle of the buckets for strike temperature calculations and later poke all around my 20g kettles top to bottom to compare against the Brewmometer readings...

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Cheers!
 

CascadesBrewer

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I need 3 because is one is off you can identify it by comparing with the other 2
I have an inexpensive lab thermometer that I use for calibration on brew day. The thermometer is slow to read and a bit fragile for brew day use, but I am fairly confident it will be accurate from day to day.

My long stem dial thermometer would sometimes drift a few degrees and I would notice when I got up to boiling. No big deal as I could just tweak it then. One day I must have knocked it and I mashed 10F too high. That is when I added a calibration step BEFORE the mash to my regular cycle.
 

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