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How to Use Digital Thermometers: Digital Thermometers Equal Great Beer!

How to Use Digital Thermometers: Digital Thermometers Equal Great Beer!

GENEVA, OH, September 9, 2019

Ed note: From time to time, TEGAM writes about how our digital measuring instruments are of-service in "civilian," non-industry applications. This post looks at one of those uses.

Have you noticed that home brewing, small breweries and brew pubs are springing up everywhere? The business of brewing beer has grown because of the enjoyment and satisfaction one can get from making something truly unique, as well as from the DIY aspect that many brewers enjoy. And of course the results!

Whether you are a home brewer, a brew pub or a large commercial brewery, Temperature Measurement is the most critical measurement in the beer-making process! The science and natural processes involved in brewing beer are such that different temperatures result in different flavors and colors in the beer.

Beer-making starts with the best basic ingredients - barley, hops and water. Key measuring points in the process are during the “mash” and “decoction” processes. The mash is where the grains are soaked in hot water at a specific temperature to convert the starch to sugars - which obviously can result in different flavors depending on temperature and time. A good mash will extract ALL the available starch and sugar, which is ultimately converted to alcohol. Thus, you want a good mash process. The decoction process includes boiling and soaking the grains at different temperatures and extracting the enzymes and chemicals from the grain - which also affects flavor, texture and the color of the beer.

Some of these steps have a tight temperature range of ±1°F to be truly effective in order to produce the most flavorful, satisfying brews. To monitor these processes, one needs precision digital thermometers to get to the right temperature and to get the brew results you are expecting.

Finally, brewers must be aware that some yeasts are very sensitive to temperature. The temperature at which they are fermented will affect the flavor of the final product for consumption – so of course proper temperature monitoring is tantamount for success.

When making a sour beer, you have all the steps of making a traditional beer PLUS the additional souring process. One process requires that you hold the beer at 100°F for 24 hours. For this application, you may want to consider a datalogging digital thermometer for the monitoring and tracking aspects of the brewing process.

So, from making your wort, performing a decoction and a mash, and to the final fermentation stages, temperature plays a vastly critical role in beer making!

I’ve used many forms of thermometer when making beer - from glass thermometers to bi-metalics and finally, to digital thermometers. The best digital thermometer that I have found for beer-making is the Tegam 931B Datalogging Thermometer. It has high accuracy and logs up to 1000 points internally plus it has a free app and wireless Bluetooth connectivity to my cell phone so that I can monitor the beer temperature while I am doing other chores. This is a liberating and time-saving function that true beer makers will really appreciate! Also, the 931B has free Cloud storage so that I can easily download the data-logged points to my laptop in order to document and even analyze the entire brewing process. Thus, using the digital thermometer with datalogging capabilities, I can duplicate or change the process in the future to make subtle variations that affect the taste and body of the brew. Science and nature working together – what a concept!

If you have questions about how TEGAM digital thermometers can make your work and efforts more valuable, precise and repeatable, please contact us here to start a discussion. We'd love to hear from you - and thanks for reading this post.

Dan Jackson, Thermometry Products Manager

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