The difference between an award-winning brew and a funky mess is how the brewer controlled the temperature during the entire brewing process.
Making beer is not easy, but the concept is, you just let yeast convert your sugary wort into beer. A proper wort, though, with the right extraction of fermentable sugars, can only be achieved with a controlled boiling process. Yeasts are picky too and will only do their magic when the temperature is right.
You must monitor the temperature in your strike water, sparge water, mash and cooling wort.
And then you must keep an eye on your fermenting beer.
That means you need the right thermometers.
The good news is that thermometers are mostly inexpensive, and you can never have enough of them.
Thermometers for Brew Day
Brew day is game day. The rest of the process is just about letting things take their course.
You’ll want to be sharp on brew day, particularly with your temperatures.
You’ll need a thermometer that can take the heat, and one that will allow you to work fast because timing is everything. Check these thermometers out.
1. Home Brew Stuff 12″ SS Dial Thermometer
- 12" long
- Stainless clip to clip to brewing kettle
- Appropriate brewing range (0-220 degrees F)
This one is a classic.
A reliable and precise dial tool by Home Brew Stuff. The silver-colored 12″ thermometer has a 2-inch diameter, meaning it’s relatively easy to read with a quick look.
The thermometer comes with a handy stainless clip that allows you to place it tightly in your kettle. It is also useful to monitor your strike and sparge waters’ temperature, which should be around 167° F (75° C) to set the mash.
This beauty reads temperatures up to 220° F (104° C) in two degree increments, so you can also use it to monitor your grains’ temperature as they steep and your cooling wort after the boil.
2. Lavatools The Javelin Digital Thermometer
- 3-4 second ultra-fast response time with an accuracy better than ±0.9°F.
- Large 1.4" easy-to-read display and IP65 splash-proof construction.
- Integrated magnet for convenient storage on refrigerators or ovens.
- Meat thermometer also perfect for oil fryers, bread, candy, coffee, and homebrews.
- NSF certified superior build quality like nothing else on the market. Backed by an industry-leading 3-year limited warranty.
This one is more than your basic digital thermometer. According to the good folks at Lavatools, The Javelin is the ‘gold standard for all digital thermometers’ and standards are good if you want consistent results.
With a 1.4-inch, easy to read, digital display, the splash-proof and beautifully designed thermometer offers ultra-fast readings in 3-4 seconds and has an astounding accuracy better than ±0.9°F.
This model is heat resistant, so much you can use it as a meat thermometer, but it shines the most in the brewery. It is NSF approved for commercial and professional use and can survive over 4,000 hours of continuous use on a single battery.
A magnet in the back allows you to place your thermometer on sight on any surface. Oh, and it’s totally food safe and built to last. What’s not to love?
The downside? You have to get real close to use it, and you’ll need a steady hand. Still, this is a no-brainer for a versatile digital thermometer to have around.
3. CDN Waterproof Thermometer – Long Stem
- Measurement Range: -40 to +450°F/-40 to +230°C
- NSF Certified; BioCote technology; member of the ProAccurate professional line
- 2.5 mm reduced tip with 8"/20.3 cm stainless steel stem with heat shield and exclusive adjustable stainless steel clip
- 6 second response
- One-button field calibrationy; IPX7 waterproof rating - protected from water up to 3 feet for 30 minutes; 5-year limited warranty
For measurement tools, CDN is a reliable source. Incredibly precise, what makes this one a standout is the long stem that allows you to monitor your wort safely without having to reach out.
We’re talking about a 2.5mm reduced tip with an 8″ stainless steel stem held in place by a stainless steel clip. With a six-second response time and a measurement range between -40 to +450°F (-40° to 230° C), CDN’s thermometer is just ideal for brewing. I guess you can use it to measure the temperature of a large roasted bird as well.
This beauty is NSF certified, and it has an impressive waterproof rating, it withstands up to thirty minutes immersed. You don’t have to worry about accidentally dropping this one into the tank.
The DTW450L is a tool of precision, a fantastic thermometer that will fine-tune your brewing, especially if you’re into digital thermometers. This one won’t disappoint.
4. Taylor Precision Products Digital Panel Mount Thermometer
- This thermometer measures temperatures from -40- to 150 degrees Celsius (-40- to 300-degrees Fahrenheit), with an accuracy of +/ -1.8 degrees Fahrenheit from 14- to 212-degrees and +/- 3.6-degrees outside this range.
- An immersible air/liquid temperature probe is waterproof and is attached by a 10-foot cable.
- A 10-second sampling rate provides quick, accurate results.
- Suitable for use in laboratories, factories, and other temperature-sensitive environments.
- Requires one (1) AAA battery (included).
With 150 years in the tool precision business, Taylor is an All-American brand delivering premium products, and their 9940N Digital Panel Mount Thermometer is no exception.
This battery-powered thermometer measures temperatures from -40 to 300 degrees Fahrenheit (-40° to 150° C), with a reliable accuracy of ±1.8 degrees F.
It comes with an immersible probe at the end of a 10-foot cable that reads temperatures in ten seconds. The long probe in incredibly versatile, as it adapts to any kettle, container or tank. Just unroll it and probe, and with astoundingly reliable results.
You’ll find scientists using this thermometer in labs, but also pro breweries; this one is serious business, the most adequate digital thermometer for the most obsessive brewers.
Keep in mind the thermometer itself is not waterproof, and the readings might not be as reliable at long distances. If this one works for your brewing set-up, you’ll love it.
Thermometers for Fermentation Temperatures
Once the rush of boiling the wort is over, counting down the minutes to add your hops and checking the temperatures of cooling wort like crazy, time slows down.
Fermenting beer is all about patience, but temperatures matter too. Yeasts are picky creatures, and you want to make sure they’re comfortable.
Here are some thermometers that are ideal for keeping your fermenter in check.
5. Propagate Pro Stick On Thermometer Strip
- 10 Piece vertical Set in Resealable Bag - Also in Horizontal Version B07DFW3Z9M
- Dimensions: 4.75 x 1.0 inch / 120 x 25 mm
- Measuring range: 10~32 Degree C (50~90 Degree F)
- Adhesive on the back, just peel off the tape and attach to the outside surface, One time use
- Color Changing Highly Accurate Temperature Readings
Keeping your temperature in check shouldn’t be complicated, and it’s easier than ever with Propagate Pro’s sticker thermometers — it’s as easy as thermometers come.
With a 4.75 x 1.0 inch dimension, these handy, and somewhat fashionable thermometer stickers can measure ranges between 50° and 90°F (10° – 32° C) and they come with both Fahrenheit and Celsius markers.
The thermometer changes its color to show the current temperature. Being as easy to install as stick-and-peel, you’ll find keeping your temperature at the right levels easier than ever.
We should mention these are not precision thermometers, but they will give you an average, just to make sure your fermentation tank is not far from your desired temperature.
These are onetime-use thermometers, though, but you get ten stickers per pack, so you can use one in your aquarium if you want to.
No, really, they’re quite versatile and very visual. If not entirely precise, the sticker thermometers certainly solve a few problems.
6. Inkbird Smart Thermometer and Hygrometer
- 【Accurate & Fast Response】Use the new generation of France HTU21D temperature and humidity sensors. Power consumption will be lower, and working life will be longer. (Humidity and Temperature accuracy is±2%RH and 0.5°F)
- 【Measuring Range】Monitoring Range: 30 meters / 100ft (No Obstructions). Temperature Range: -40~140°F/-40~60°C (Inner Sensor), -40~212°F/-40~100°C (External Probe). Humidity Range: 0~99%RH
- 【Probe & Mode】Inside and external probe are supplied. Inside probe can monitor spatial range T&H such as indoor and outdoor, while external probe can only monitor liquid temperature. °C /°F mode and with magnet.
- 【Data Storage & Sampling Interval】Hold data for 20 days if the sampling interval is 1min, and the max date storage is 30000 points. Different sampling interval can be setting.(10s/ 30s/ 1min/ 2mins/ 5mins/ 10mins/ 30mins) The saving data time will be different if you choose different sampling interval.
- 【Convenient APP & Multiple Devices】Free APP (Engbird) can be applied to IOS and Android system, which supports multi-language. History and immediacy data can be remotely checked through Bluetooth. One mobile phone can monitor more than one sensor, and one sensor can be monitored by more than one mobile phone.
When sticker thermometers just don’t make the cut, you can always rely on technology to solve your temperature measurement problems.
The Inkbird thermometer is more than it looks, it’s an app for your phone.
It all starts with a state-of-the-art new generation temperature and humidity sensor powered by a battery. It has an adequate accuracy of ±2%RH and 0.5°F, so you can make smarter decisions.
The thermometer has an astounding range of up to 100 feet, so you can monitor the temperature of an entire room, greenhouse, cigar humidor or the basement where you ferment your beer.
You can take readings in the range between -40 and 140°F (-40 to 60° C) with the inner sensor, and between -40 and 212°F with the external probe. The thermometer has a 20 day memory, too, so you can see the big picture while keeping up with your beer’s progress.
The app is free and supports both IOS and Android. It connects to the thermometer via Bluetooth, and it’s incredibly reliable.
For app-based thermometers, the Inkbird is a great choice, especially for its usability and versatility. It wouldn’t be strange if you had a couple of these around the house.
7. Tilt Digital Hydrometer and Thermometer
For the meanest, most reliable and cool looking thermometer, we’re pulling out the big guns with the Tilt Digital Hydrometer and Thermometer. This bad boy is a free-floating measuring tool designed specifically for brewing. It is a real-time gravity-testing hydrometer and a thermometer simultaneously, and you can keep it inside your fermentation vessel during the brewing process.
There’s more. You don’t have to reach out to check your measurements, the gadget will send them to your phone, even though thick-walled fermentation vessels. The thermometer also stores its data on a Google Sheets file on the cloud, and the app is free. This might just be the finest brewing thermometer today.
Forget about sampling your wort to check on its gravity levels, you can check your measurements from anywhere, which means less exposure to oxygen and contaminants because you won’t be disturbing your brew. It also means more precise brews because you know how much sugar is left with a quick look to your phone.
Incredibly precise, this beauty has an accuracy of ±0.002 in the density range of 0.990 – 1.120. The thermometer is accurate, too, with an precision of ±1 degree Fahrenheit.
Here it is, get yours now!
Last update on 2021-03-01 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API