IR Thermometers

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IR Thermometers

Postby brewmeisterintng » Tue Jan 23, 2007 7:29 am

Has anyone used one of these gadgits for brewing?
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Re: IR Thermometers

Postby billvelek » Tue Jan 23, 2007 12:44 pm

brewmeisterintng wrote:Has anyone used one of these gadgits for brewing?
Meaning of "IR" wasn't immediately apparent to me, so after a google ... duhhh ... Infra Red Thermometer. Interesting idea. I took a look and it seems to me that they are designed for VERY hot, hazardous, or difficult to reach applications. Might work though. My concerns would be ... 1.) accuracy, since the tolerance on a few I randomly checked was like plus or minus 2 degrees celsius (3.6F), and ... 2.) I'd be concerned with whether it is primarily registering surface temp or if it somehow reads all the IR being emitted from the mash, including bottom and middle, too. Seems sort of expensive, too, but if you've got the bucks, maybe this is a good idea.

Cheers.

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IR Thermometers continued

Postby brewmeisterintng » Tue Jan 23, 2007 5:55 pm

I was just wondering if someone out there had used one. I too though it might only read the surface temperature and steam might effect the reading. I did some shopping around and you can find cheaper ones but then again, you might get what you pay for. My focus would be to measure the mash temperature. Right now I use a digital probe thermometer that I got from Wal-Mart. It works pretty well. It takes about five seconds to get a reading.
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That's what I use ...

Postby billvelek » Tue Jan 23, 2007 7:04 pm

I use a cheap digital probe thermometer, too; it is made for checking the temperature of candy. Well, beer is candy to me. :D

I do wish mine would be a bit quicker in reaching its final reading -- I've not timed it but I'm sure it takes perhaps as long as ten seconds, but then again I'm pretty anal and I move the probe around (sort of swirl it) for better temperature exchange (like wind chill factor and to get a more general readout for that spot), and I always give it a good three seconds or so when it seems to settle to a particular temperature. But I calibrated it, and it seems to be pretty much "spot on". Been awhile, but it might have been off a mere fraction of a degree F in both ice slush and boiling water. Good enough for me. But if you find an IR that allows you to 'pull the trigger' and get an instantaneous and accurate readout of the mash temp, be sure to let me know. 8)

Cheers.

Bill Velek
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IR is good, but maybe not worth the $$

Postby akueck » Tue Jan 23, 2007 8:32 pm

I use some IR thermometers at work. They're measuring the intensity of light at 1 or 2 frequencies (usually in the IR) and comparing that to your standard black body radiation. The higher the intensity, the higher the temperature. IR thermometers can be pretty accurate, but things like surface curvature and absorption by air, steam, etc can give skewed readings. The 2-frequency ones are nicer because they don't depend on intervening media (like steam) that can decrease the intensity and give incorrectly low temperature readings. So if you get one you would probably want to work with it and your regular thermometer for awhile, to see what it's actually reading and how it compares to the "real" temperature. We recalibrate ours at work every so often at work doing exactly that.
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