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LittleJohn
02-29-2016, 11:09 PM
I'm getting really confused during my acquisition of tools. I've got most of the basics covered, but I'm having issues picking out a good thermometer and ph tester. There are plenty available on amazon and such, but I get put off by bad reviews. So I'm reaching out to all of you. What brands do you find to be worth the money? What have you had the best luck with?

Thanks so very much!

LittleJohn

EbonHawk
03-01-2016, 01:34 AM
I use this pH meter and it works fine.
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01AI10NQ6?keywords=etekcity%20ph%20meter&qid=1456809755&ref_=sr_1_3&sr=8-3

What type of thermometer are we talking about? Regular red-alcohol floating version, a digital probe type (flexible and non-flexible versions), or an infrared type?
I've been using this digital infrared thermometer for a couple of years now, and I never knew how many things around my house that I enjoy knowing the temperature of...and it works great for homebrewing too. No need to sterilize anything. Yeah, occasionally I have to get a little creative with some of the readings. It doesn't like to take the temperature of a reflective surface like the top of boiling wort too well, so I just aim at something that's been submerged in the wort (like my stirring spoon) and I get an accurate reading. I can shoot the side of a fermenter and know within a tenth of a degree what temperature my fermenting brew is. No need to open it up. I still have a digital probe type one with a temperature alarm on it, like for keeping an eye on my mash-water temps while the water is heating up, but 99% of the time I use my IR one for everything else. Works very reliably.

http://www.amazon.com/GXMT55-Non-Contact-Infrared-Thermometer-Targeting/dp/B00GM7KAR8/ref=sr_1_1?s=kitchen&ie=UTF8&qid=1456810240&sr=1-1&keywords=B00GM7KAR8

LittleJohn
03-01-2016, 02:13 PM
Thanks EbonHawk, thats the kind of info I'm looking for. On the thermometers, I'm wanting to go with a probe. I have used IR before, but would prefer to temp my must internally as opposed to surface temping it.

Thanks!!

jdranchman
03-01-2016, 04:58 PM
Per my experimentation, unless you are fermenting a barrel size or larger, there hardly is a temp difference between the surface on a carboy and right down in the middle 5" away (moving/still air and ambient temps are more critical for small fermenters absent any other temperature control). IMHO the only real benefit of a probe is to leave it in a thermowell and attach it to something electronic. With my simple tests only in carboys, I've been sticking to my IR thermometer for readings as it is quick and easily done for many fermenters. For larger than a barrel size, I'm relying that information on what I've discovered with my visits to various cideries and meaderies and what they do for temperature measurement and control for various sizes of vessels.

If your must could be damaged by a temperature difference, say due to a floating fruit cap, then you should have a good protocol of keeping that cap punched down as often as necessary during the fermentation period so you don't have a temperature spike under it and cause undue stress to our single cell friends.

LittleJohn
03-01-2016, 06:20 PM
Thank you for that information jdranchman. I will be using the 6.5gal big bubbler for primary and a 6gal glass carboy for secondary. I wasn't sure if my surface temps would be the same as the middle and bottom or even close. I think I will go with the IR since there shouldn't be a big difference from the surface. I will definitely keep the fruit cap information in mind when I start experimenting.

Thanks again!!

LittleJohn

Mazer828
03-01-2016, 06:42 PM
I may be stuck in grade school according to some, but I'm a big fan of the adhesive temperature strips you just stick on the outside of the carboy. I have no need or interest in knowing temp down to the 10th or 100th of a degree. Ballpark is fine. They're cheap and reliable. Have one on every carboy.

LittleJohn
03-01-2016, 07:14 PM
I never even thought about those strips! I have them on all of my terrariums and aquariums and I'm pretty sure I have some spares.

Thanks for the tip!!

LittleJohn

pwizard
03-01-2016, 07:53 PM
Do those strips work on plastic (like the outside of a primary pail)?

EbonHawk
03-01-2016, 08:34 PM
Do those strips work on plastic (like the outside of a primary pail)?
Yes, I've got several on different fermenters and they're close enough for brewing, certainly.

jdranchman
03-02-2016, 10:51 AM
I have tried the temp strips on my better bottles and they worked fine the first time. The only problem I had was when I cleaned the bottle with the strip on. Water and PBW destroyed them all. A few others in my brew club found out the same thing before me. I should have listened I guess but I'm an engineer and I need to do it myself...

BTW - I make cheese and cider and use two different pH meters - both Oakton. A pH Tester 30 and a Spear. I've had them for years and like them both. The 30 has auto temperature compensation. The very basic EcoTestr 2 Pocket pH Tester might be the best starting unit they make - about $65.

Maylar
03-02-2016, 11:09 AM
I may be stuck in grade school according to some, but I'm a big fan of the adhesive temperature strips you just stick on the outside of the carboy. I have no need or interest in knowing temp down to the 10th or 100th of a degree. Ballpark is fine. They're cheap and reliable. Have one on every carboy.

Me too. But not appropriate for checking temp of rehydrating water. For that you need either an instant read digital (think BBQ) or an infrared. I use my infrared for a boatload of stuff around the house and workshop.

Crowing
03-02-2016, 02:30 PM
I may be stuck in grade school according to some, but I'm a big fan of the adhesive temperature strips you just stick on the outside of the carboy. I have no need or interest in knowing temp down to the 10th or 100th of a degree. Ballpark is fine. They're cheap and reliable. Have one on every carboy.

I second this. The fermometer stickers work on at least up to 7 gallons, through plastic or glass, in my own testing always within a degree of actual temperature at center of liquid. That's a better margin than most household thermometers anyways, definitely good enough for me. Just don't use caustics on the outside of your fermenters, or even put clear tape over the stick-on to protect it.

LittleJohn
03-02-2016, 10:04 PM
Thanks so much all of you. I've decided to add the adhesive strips to my carboys, but will still get a probe for yeast re-hydration. I think I will also look into acquiring that Oakton EcoTestr.

Thanks again!!

LittleJohn