1 Posted: Tuesday, January 10, 2017 8:27 PM

I've read claims about the thermometer strips being up to 5 degrees out, in an effort to improve QC, I'm looking to upgrade to something more reliable.

I'm on a very tight budget, if I spend $3.85 on a digital thermometer from HK, am I going to be disappointed?

Serious question, because before today I took for granted that the thermometer strips were reasonably accurate.

2 Posted: Tuesday, January 10, 2017 8:49 PM

Just fill your FV with water, take a reading with the stick on, then take a reading with a standard kitchen thermometer. You will see what the difference is then be able to compensate for the variance. I can't imagine a $3 thermometer being much better than what you have so I would keep your money

3 Posted: Tuesday, January 10, 2017 8:52 PM

Well, I guess the first step is to get an accurate thermometer to see how accurate the strips are…..

I don't have one, so how much should one spend for something that's at least accurate to 1 degrees.

4 Posted: Tuesday, January 10, 2017 8:56 PM

I actually bought one from a kitchen shop at DFO today for $8. It was just one of those milk frothing thermometers. I assume they sell them in Big W or similar for not much more.

5 Posted: Tuesday, January 10, 2017 9:38 PM

I have two cheap digital thermometers… both cost around $5. According to them my FV temperature strips are reading about right… as best as you can tell. The strips are really just a rough guide though - the one's I have are in 2ºC increments, so obviously it's impossible to get precise readings. However, most of the time I don't need to… if it looks like it's somewhere around 18 - 20ºC for example then that's good enough as far as I'm concerned. I don't care, and certainly don't believe it makes any detectable difference at the glass if my fermentation is 18.4º, 19.8º or 20.6ºC! Some people however are a lot more particular and perhaps believe otherwise, but I reckon if you're within +/- a degree or so of target range then… no worries.

6 Posted: Tuesday, January 10, 2017 10:16 PM

Get a $1-2 dial thermometer from ebay, maybe two if you have to (must be able to adjust it). Calibrate it/them, plenty of vids on youtube, that's what I used to set my mash thermometer and hlt thermometer.
Its as simple as using iced water and boiling water.

7 Posted: Tuesday, January 10, 2017 10:24 PM

micka80:

Get a $1-2 dial thermometer from ebay, maybe two if you have to (must be able to adjust it). Calibrate it/them, plenty of vids on youtube, that's what I used to set my mash thermometer and hlt thermometer.
Its as simple as using iced water and boiling water.


Of course, this makes perfect sense, 0-100

8 Posted: Tuesday, January 10, 2017 11:12 PM

I use a long glass one I got at my LHBS for $10, measures -10 to 100. Good enough for what we do.
Nothing you buy can be garenteed to be more accurate than +/- 1 unless its stated and calibrated to a standard.
The best thing you can do is get something that you know is going to read the same every time, for me I feel a glass one was the best option.

9 Posted: Tuesday, January 10, 2017 11:34 PM

Glass lab thermometers are the best ones for measuring as well as calibrating other thermometers. I have a couple of them that I sometimes use to measure the mash temp, but unfortunately they're about 50 years old so they measure in Fahrenheit . Otherwise, I have a digital probe thermometer that cost about $80 or something, which I normally use for the mash because I can dangle it over the edge of the urn and leave it in there for the whole mash. I also use it to measure the temp while it's coming up to boil, mainly just so I know how much time I've got before it does come to the boil.

I use the STC controller probe for the ferment temp since I have a fridge to ferment in, although I do have a stick on thermometer on the FV as well. I just calibrate the probe with either one of the lab thermometers or the digital one; all three of those read pretty much the same as each other.

The thing with measuring devices like that is that you often get what you pay for. In other words, something that costs a few bucks probably isn't gonna be all that accurate and/or consistent compared to something that costs more.

I do agree with Blacksands as well, in that you're not likely to notice much difference between a brew fermented at 18C vs. 20C, provided the temperature is kept stable. My STC probe was reading about 1.5C too low for a few batches, but I couldn't notice any difference in the glass.

Cheers

Kelsey

10 Posted: Tuesday, January 10, 2017 11:59 PM

I guess my concern with the cheap digital kind I'd that they are only battery powered and probably not water proof.
Any change in valtage or resistance in the circuits due to low battery or water ingress could cause off or inconsistant readings. But I think all that can go wrong with a good glass one is that you drop it.

11 Posted: Wednesday, January 11, 2017 12:01 AM

Yeah I've had the digital one play up when the batteries got low, it went haywire measuring all these weird temps from a hydrometer sample. I always keep the battery casing/screen part away from any liquids, only the probe goes into the wort/beer or whatever I'm measuring.

12 Posted: Wednesday, January 11, 2017 6:37 AM

I'll have a look around, hopefully I can find something decent for little money.

13 Posted: Wednesday, January 11, 2017 6:58 AM

Stick strip that came with my FV seems pretty close in my case at least , fridge was set at 18 C and strip shows same
For my mash temps i bought a meat thermometer , i put a small hole in unused tupperware bowl for probe to go through and now it's a floating thermometer …. checked the calibration at mash temps with a borrowed lab unit and it's close enough and only cost me $8

Last edited by Mark D Pirate (Wednesday, January 11, 2017 6:58 AM)