A good thermometer

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by jmcnamara, Mar 31, 2016.

  1. jmcnamara

    jmcnamara Well-Known Member

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    so i've had a few different thermometers now, and i can't seem to find one to suit my needs. I BIAB if that makes a difference. My one big problem is that by the time the thermometer reads that i've hit my strike water temp, the actual water temp has already overshot that by a bit. a recent batch was in the mid to upper 160s by the time I was all mashed in.
    The floating ones are kinda nice because you can just leave them in, but they require a certain amount of liquid to stay off the bottom of the kettle / mash tun. plus, i've already broken one of those in a mash.
    I also have a digital one, which is nice but seems to take a little bit to get a reading. Plus, the probe is relatively short, so I can't really stick it to far into the mash / wort.

    Ideally, i'm looking for something digital with an alarm or beep when i hit a set temp. (maybe even a 2nd alarm if I fall below another set temp.) of course, water proof or at least water resistant is almost a necessity.
    any ideas? I've got $75 in amazon gift cards, and i don't mind spending a little bit more if it's on a good quality thermometer that's going to last.

    what do you guys use?
     
  2. Ozarks Mountain Brew

    Staff Member

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    I use very good but not cheap pt-100 mounted in my pot directly then a quick connect to a display on my control panel, your wanting a portable one Im guessing, but you can make one up from relatively inexpensive parts from ebay, you need to be a diy kind of guy and have knowledge of electronics and soldering, I just made one up for my self with a 12 inch probe, counting up all my parts I think I had $75 in the whole thing, I have 2 3 inch dials in my parts box you could mount in your pot but they are rather slow too, other than that thermal pen or a copy is the easiest but not very long
     
  3. jmcnamara

    jmcnamara Well-Known Member

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    yeah, guess i should have clarified a portable one.
    i am a bit diy, but don't trust myself with electricity and hot metal :D there's a reason i bought my ferm temp controller pre-wired...
    I think my biggest "need" for this is the alarm part of it. inevitably, a pot of water heating up doesn't keep my attention for long and i get distracted with other stuff while waiting.
    thanks for the quick response sharing your setup though, gives me ideas for when i upgrade past my 5 gal kettle
     
  4. jeffpn

    jeffpn Well-Known Member

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    I feel your pain, brother. I ultimately got a short probe digital thermometer too. I experience the same thing you describe; temps rising when I hit my strike temp. I don't know that that's the thermometer's fault. I've wrestled with those theories myself. I think it's more or less the same issue as using a chest freezer to refrigerate - when the cabinet reaches the set temp, there's still enough subfreezing air in the cabinet to continue chilling the beer another few degrees. I've resigned to turning off my heat when it's about 3° shy of the strike temp. It usually puts me close. Then when I need to reheat, I only have a very low flame on for about 60 seconds. Stir for a minute, then check.
     
  5. MrBIP

    MrBIP Active Member

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    I've purchased two different digital thermometers and been dissapointed both times. Still using the $12 dial long stick thermometer. It might be slow to read, but it's been calibrated and I trust it.
     
  6. PZ

    PZ Member

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    http://thermoworks.com
    This company makes high quality products, including probes and alarms. I now use the thermapen which registers in a second or two. I also went through a few that were slow AND wrong. What I do with the water is turn it nearly off as it approaches strike temperature so the thermal mass stabilizes. Once you get into the rhythm of it you might not need anything more sophisticated than a hand held thermometer. The alarm is only useful if it tells you exactly when to shut off the gas.
     
  7. jeffpn

    jeffpn Well-Known Member

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    CDN DTQ450X Digital ProAccurate Quick-Read Thermometer-NSF Certified https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0021AEAG2/re ... .wb5M7KZJ9

    That's the one I bought. I thought it had a faster read time. It says 6-8 seconds. I found it interesting that you calibrate it by putting it in ice water. I have no reason to doubt its accuracy.
     
  8. jmcnamara

    jmcnamara Well-Known Member

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    i was thinking of setting the alarm for maybe 5 degrees shy of strike temp. More of a "hey idiot, you need to pay attention now" rather than a "hey idiot, I'm ready"

    now am i talking about beer or SWMBO? :lol:
     
  9. oliver

    oliver Well-Known Member

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    i still have the long glass mercury stick that comes with a kit. hard to get good readings, but i try and mash in at 150º because i know it always runs higher at the bottom of the kettle. I'd also like to get a newer thermometer with quicker reads,
     
  10. Hogarthe

    Hogarthe Well-Known Member

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    I have a thermo works digital thermometer. it was a bit spendy, but worth it.
     
  11. jmcnamara

    jmcnamara Well-Known Member

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  12. jeffpn

    jeffpn Well-Known Member

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    I like the idea of min and max holds. It'd tell me how much more careful I need to be for my mash.
     
  13. jmcnamara

    jmcnamara Well-Known Member

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    Ha, didn't even see that. Was too worried about what color to get

    That is a pretty nice feature though, think I'm gonna add this to the short list of new equipment
     
  14. jeffpn

    jeffpn Well-Known Member

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    You can save a few bucks if you buy 5 of them. Then you could send me one! :lol:
     
  15. Hogarthe

    Hogarthe Well-Known Member

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    That one has a timer too. It should be a good one. I've had my thermoworks thermometer for a couple years now and never had any issues, temp has always shown correct when I've checked it with boiling water or ice water.
     
  16. GernBlanston

    GernBlanston New Member

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    This. I also have dabbled in the digital wizardry of thermometers, and found them unusable. Too accurate, if that is possible. I have found the madness of trying to hit an exact temp frustrating at best. Switched back to the analog dial and have found true happiness.
     
  17. Head First

    Head First Well-Known Member

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    Sounds like accuracy is good (Hogarthe) but I don't see it listed. Most of the digitals list a + or - variable.
    I just check my others with the old reliable $6 glass lab thermometer.
     
  18. EbonHawk

    EbonHawk New Member

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    My wife bought me a "cooking" digital thermometer at Lowes, I believe it was, and with its wide range of temps from about 145 all the way up to 190, there is usually a temp in there somewhere that I can set the alarm to and when it hits that temp, it goes off, and I know to start watching for my desired temp. It's battery powered and has a long 4 ft cord and metal probe that attaches to a base, while the main controller and display is separate and wireless. It has worked fairly well for the price.
     

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