Is your thermometer lying to you?

Really thermometer? I thought I could trust you… but no. You lied to me when I depended on you the most.

As most off you know, temperature is so important in homebrewing. Whether you’re mashing, steeping grains or fermenting, being in the right temperature range is critical. And sometimes being off by a few degrees can make a big difference. After some off results from the last few batches, I started to question my thermometer readings. As it turns out, I’d been getting horribly wrong readings from my thermometer.

I did some research and found this handy guide to calibrating your dial stem thermometer. To summarize:

  1. Fill a large glass with finely crushed ice.
  2. Add clean tap water to the top of the ice and stir well.
  3. Immerse the food thermometer stem a minimum of 2 inches into the mixture, touching neither the sides nor the bottom of the glass.
  4. Wait a minimum of 30 seconds, then adjust your thermometer to 32 degrees.

So how do you actually adjust your thermometer? It’s simple actually… there’s a screw on the back of the dial that lets you manually change the position of the needle.

It’s also a good idea to do a similar test with a pot of boiling water and making sure the needle reads 212 degrees.

Please take a few minutes before your next batch to check your thermometers and make sure they are calibrated correctly. Don’t just trust that it’s correct… it might just be lying to you, too. It’s easy to do and might just save the life of your next batch.

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