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Author Topic: Thermometers - Built in to the pot, or hand-held?  (Read 4291 times)

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Offline fRed Scare

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Thermometers - Built in to the pot, or hand-held?
« on: March 26, 2015, 10:20:52 AM »
Going all-grain.   :unsure:

Which do I want, and why?

Specific makes/models requested.
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I ended up drinking 9 times my body weight in beer, broke three glasses over my head, 7 over others, ordered up 17 hookers for a little afterparty, held a cabbie hostage while running his cab through the Madison capitol doors, and I grabbed gator's ass.

Offline howardf

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Re: Thermometers - Built in to the pot, or hand-held?
« Reply #1 on: March 26, 2015, 11:00:23 AM »
The problem with the built in models is that you have to have enough liquid to reach the probe.  On the Blichmann pots, you need 4-5 gallons just to be able to tell what the temp is, when you maybe only need 2-3 gallons of sparge water.  I have a generic hand held that i use for mash temps.

Offline ntz08

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Re: Thermometers - Built in to the pot, or hand-held?
« Reply #2 on: March 26, 2015, 11:08:33 AM »
i preferred to use a floating thermometer in the mash tun before we got the fancy rig. i think it gave more accurate readings than all the other crap we tried.

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Re: Thermometers - Built in to the pot, or hand-held?
« Reply #3 on: March 26, 2015, 11:27:37 AM »
I have one on my kettle and still use my thermapen.

Offline nchrist

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Re: Thermometers - Built in to the pot, or hand-held?
« Reply #4 on: March 26, 2015, 11:52:35 AM »
Depending on the insulation in your mash tun and the size, the difference in temperature can be significant between the center of the mash and the outsides. I don't know if you have a 3 vessel system or not, but on my system I use a floating thermometer in the HLT, and built in thermometers in the mash tun and boil kettle. I will at some point buy a built in for the HLT. It hasn't been a high priority, but it would be nice rather than getting up on the ladder to find out if I can cut the gas. But like Howie said, once you're below the level of the thermometer you need a backup as well.

Offline fRed Scare

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Re: Thermometers - Built in to the pot, or hand-held?
« Reply #5 on: March 26, 2015, 12:18:39 PM »
Great stuff.  Anyone else want to chime in?
Quote from: J-Rod
I ended up drinking 9 times my body weight in beer, broke three glasses over my head, 7 over others, ordered up 17 hookers for a little afterparty, held a cabbie hostage while running his cab through the Madison capitol doors, and I grabbed gator's ass.

Offline thickfreakness

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Re: Thermometers - Built in to the pot, or hand-held?
« Reply #6 on: March 26, 2015, 01:26:32 PM »
Great stuff.  Anyone else want to chime in?

I haven't brewed in forever, but I love my thermapen. I bought it for brewing originally, but now I use it in the kitchen.

Offline Jaysus

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Re: Thermometers - Built in to the pot, or hand-held?
« Reply #7 on: March 26, 2015, 08:54:23 PM »
Better get 3 of each to be safe. ;)

Offline Jaysus

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Re: Thermometers - Built in to the pot, or hand-held?
« Reply #8 on: March 26, 2015, 08:57:41 PM »
P.S. holy shit, Thermapens are EXPENSIVE. Better just get two of them


I'll sick to my $5 cheapo

Offline braconid

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Re: Thermometers - Built in to the pot, or hand-held?
« Reply #9 on: March 26, 2015, 10:20:25 PM »
I use both.  For me, the thermometer in the kettle allows me to know when I have hit my chill temperature without having to put anything in the wort to measure.  I still use a cheap digital thermometer to measure the mash temp, even though I know about where I am because I have my system dialed in pretty well.   

Offline fRed Scare

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Re: Thermometers - Built in to the pot, or hand-held?
« Reply #10 on: March 27, 2015, 10:22:00 AM »
P.S. holy shit, Thermapens are EXPENSIVE. Better just get two of them

$79 today for the brown model.
http://www.thermoworks.com/products/thermapen/
Quote from: J-Rod
I ended up drinking 9 times my body weight in beer, broke three glasses over my head, 7 over others, ordered up 17 hookers for a little afterparty, held a cabbie hostage while running his cab through the Madison capitol doors, and I grabbed gator's ass.

Offline Jaysus

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Re: Thermometers - Built in to the pot, or hand-held?
« Reply #11 on: March 27, 2015, 12:24:24 PM »
P.S. holy shit, Thermapens are EXPENSIVE. Better just get two of them

$79 today for the brown model.
http://www.thermoworks.com/products/thermapen/

I think I have purchased just one brewing related thing ever that cost more than that...

Offline skinnyguy

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Re: Thermometers - Built in to the pot, or hand-held?
« Reply #12 on: March 27, 2015, 04:16:05 PM »
The other problem with a lot of the built-ins is that the needle can get stuck every now and then. So you have to make a practice of tapping the face whenever you walk by.

Built-ins are most effective in the HLT, since the liquid is much more uniform in temp than the mash. I like having one in the mash as a rough indicator, but you'll want some sort of handheld (usually digital is the way to go). Testing near the walls and the center is key, since hot spots are easy to develop.

A built-in in a boil kettle may help tell you how close to a boil you are, but not too much help pre-chilling. If you are using a plate chiller, the built-in wouldn't help unless you recirculate. If you are using an immersion chiller, a built-in will give you a rough idea but you'll still have to use a handheld to check unless you are stirring constantly (not a bad idea, since you'll chill much faster).

Since we're on the topic of built-in accessories in kettles, avoid sight glasses in any vessel except the HLT. Handy to have there, but not in the mash or boil kettle. For a nice way to guage volumes, find yourself an exact measuring device that can do gallons. Then get a length of high temp PVC pipe. Measure your kettle 1-5 gallons at a time, depending on size. Put a bolt and nut through the pipe at each marker. Then you have a customized measuring stick that won't have ink rubbing off. For my large kettles, I have markers every 5 gallons. For my smaller kettles (under 15gal), I put them every 2 gallons.