Installing a weldless thermometer

These pictures show the front and sideview of one of Blichmann Engineering’s BrewMometer (TM) Stainless Bi-Metal Thermometer that I installed today on one of my keggles.

Blichmann Engineering's BrewMometer (TM) Stainless Bi-Metal Thermometer

To install it, I drilled a 3/16-inch pilot hole and then enlarged it to 1/2-inch with a step drill. The instructions don’t say it but it’s a good idea to use “cutting oil” to cool the bits and the metal you drill through. (A shout out to Daniel of Two Dudes Brew for loaning me the step drill bit and recommending the use of cutting oil. Good call!) I used 3-in-1 oil and it worked well. I stopped drilling anytime smoke started, reapplied cutting oil, and waited a minute to allow the bit and metal to cool. The step drill bit left a nicely chamfered hole free of sharp burs.

Side view of Blichmann Engineering's BrewMometer (TM) Stainless Bi-Metal Thermometer (Note the stainless washer on the outside)

After installation, it looked great on the keggle, but it leaked. After checking some chatroom threads, I found that fixing the problem required two metal washers–one on the outside (which the instructions call for) and one on the inside (which isn’t called for by Blichmann’s instructions, nor provided). The o-ring went on the outside within the stainless washer. The two washers, one inside and one outside, stopped the leak.

Now, I hope I haven’t installed it too close to the bottom. According to the instructions, “A minimum distance of 6″ from the bottom of the pot is recommended, but does not guarantee it will be below 140F.” We drilled the hole 7 inches from the bottom to stay off the rib of the keggle. However doing that puts the bottom of the dial face only 5 inches from the bottom of the pot. A heat shield may be in order. I plan to place the keggle so that flames don’t climb the side of the thermometer.

A piece of metal is placed below the thermometer to shield it from convective heat.

I found that a heat shield was needed. I put a piece of stainless steel under the keggle. That worked for awhile but, after 10-20 minutes it got hot to the touch and I crumpled  aluminum foil and wedged that just under the thermometer and that brought the convective/radiant heat hitting the bottom and face of the thermometer to almost nothing.

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