Thursday, September 2, 2010


I do not like it in
I do not like it in

I do not like them when they're wet
I do not like how slippery they get

I do not like it when they shatter
I hate to clean the mess that scatters

I do not like them in my wort
If one breaks there the wort is dirt.
Not to mention - you could get hurt!

Two things broke yesterday. The first was a standard, $6 floating thermometer. I set it in the sink to wash it, and the tip gently shattered. After a brief flash of happiness (when I realized that the nightmare that is cleaning broken glass wouldn't happen this time -- I could wash the few tiny pieces down the drain) I realized something else broke as well: my will to be cheap.

Now let me explain. I made my first homebrew when I was 19. I dabbled until going full-bore four or five years ago. My attitude towards equipment has always been dictated by the practicality of limited resources: get the cheapest equipment that gets the job done.

Over the last 5 years, I have owned 4 floating thermometers, 2 "lab" thermometers, and 2 hydrometers. All but one of the hydrometers have died tragic deaths, often ending in explosions of glass shards. And I'm sure that the surviving hydrometer's days are numbered.

So when the last glass thermometer I owned broke the other day, I decided it would be the last glass thermometer.

My new philosophy is simple: get the cheapest equipment that you can make work for the longest time possible. Wake up and realize nothing is going to last forever. And if it's essentially a tool that's made out of glass, it will break sooner rather than later. Do the math and figure out how long it must last to make it money well spent. And when choosing your brewing equipment, don't buy anything that will turn into shrapnel when its time is up.

My new instant-read digital thermometer should be here in a couple days.

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