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I am trying to get a good reference thermometer for gauging.

The thermometer I was going to order is backordered until November. The vendor offered another option available, but I am not sure if it will work.

My plan is to use a digital reference thermometer and calibrate a "work horse" glass thermometer.

This is the thermometer I wanted: ThermoWorks Reference Thermometer

This is the recommended thermometer: Splash-Proof Reference Thermapen Thermometer | ThermoWorks

Here is the workhorse glass thermometer: Digi-Sense Precision Liquid-In-Glass Thermometer; 30 to 124F, 76mm Immersion, Organic Liquid Fill from Cole-Parmer (coleparmer.com)

Are there any other recommendations that y'all have?

How long does a reference thermometer last for with TTB standards? I can get it certified for 60 months at a local place.

 

All help is appreciated!

Charles

 

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If they are going to use a digital and analog system, most people use the digital as the "work horse" (typical daily use in the distillery) and use the analog as the calibrated reference to make sure that the work horse is properly calibrated for use.

Kessler Scientific makes really nice equipment, and they have options when it comes to stem type and precision digital, they also can calibrate them for you if you are interested. It never hurts to have multiple calibrated hydrometers/thermometers.

https://kesslerusa.com/product-category/digital-thermometers/k800/

https://kesslerusa.com/product-category/digital-thermometers/precision-digital-thermometers/

 

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Thank you  @Kindred Spirits

How long does a reference cert last? Can it last 60 months?

22 hours ago, Charles Brungardt said:

Is this an ok thermometer? 

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8 minutes ago, Charles Brungardt said:

Thank you  @Kindred Spirits

How long does a reference cert last? Can it last 60 months?

Is this an ok thermometer? 

I would call up cole-parmer to see how long their certification lasts.

That looks to be a fine thermometer to use with one note. The temperature range is a little big, I recommend something with a range more like this one.

https://kesslerusa.com/search-product/?search_query=1322c&wpas_id=short-form&wpas_submit=1

 

Steve

 

 

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On 6/30/2022 at 9:37 AM, Charles Brungardt said:

Thank you  @Kindred Spirits

How long does a reference cert last? Can it last 60 months?

Is this an ok thermometer? 

As far as I can tell, the code of federal regulations is silent on the topic of exactly how frequently you have to recheck your instrument calibration.  For the special case of a mass flow meter, it says "every 6 months".  For Density Meters, you are supposed to zero on DI/distilled water every time you use it.

But for Hydrometer & Thermometer, it is more vague: "... must have accurate instruments... for determining proof" and "Proprietors must frequently test their hydrometers and thermometers to ensure their accuracy".

I really dislike wording like that.  How often is "frequently"?  Surely, it depends on how heavily they are used?  I've heard that some TTB agents simply state that you must recertify annually.

The question of "how long does a reference cert last" is therefore unanswerable.  The certificate is just a piece of paper issued by a lab.  It should satisfy a TTB agent for a period of time, but certainly not forever.  It will last until the next instance of "frequently".

My advice?  Since the Reference Thermometer is out of stock, I'd just buy and use the single Reference Thermapen, as it also includes a calibration cert and has an RTD sensor with good accuracy.  Take good care of the instrument and especially the probe, and it will easily last a year.  After a year, buy a new one and use it to calibrate the old.  Now the old is your "workhorse".  This strategy balances cost & compliance to my personal satisfaction, but you have to make your own choice for your business.  You can also hire a lab service to calibrate your existing instrument against their standard, but the cost of that usually exceeds the cost of buying a new one with a new calibration cert included.

I recommend a similar strategy for Hydrometers.  But, due to their cost & fragility, I would suggest buying a calibrated standard (~$200-300) and a workhorse upfront ($50-100).

In a very simple case where you only bottle Vodka & Whiskey and you are a non distilling producer, you will still need to spend around $2k upfront for three pairs of hydrometers (75-95pf, 105-125pf, 185-206pf) and a reference thermometer.  Then, you have an annual rebuy expense of around $1200.  Considering that a used density meter can be had for around $8k, I really recommend thinking about that option, because it's so much faster and easier to use than hydrometer/thermometer.  

CFR citation follows.

§ 19.188 Measuring devices and proofing instruments.

(a) General. A proprietor of a distilled spirits plant must have accurate instruments and equipment at the plant for determining the proof and volume of spirits.

(b) Instruments. The hydrometers and thermometers that a proprietor uses to gauge spirits must show subdivisions or graduations of proof and temperature as specified in part 30 of this chapter. Proprietors must frequently test their hydrometers and thermometers to ensure their accuracy. If an instrument appears to be in error, the proprietor may not use the instrument until it is tested and certified as accurate by the manufacturer or another qualified person.

(c) Meters. A proprietor may use an accurate mass flow meter to measure the volume of bulk spirits. A mass flow meter used for tax determination of bulk spirits must be certified by the manufacturer or other qualified person as accurate within a tolerance of plus or minus 0.1 percent. A mass flow meter used for all other required gauges of bulk spirits must be certified by the manufacturer or other qualified person as accurate within a tolerance of plus or minus 0.5 percent. The proprietor must make corrections for the temperature of the spirits being measured in conjunction with the volumetric measurement of spirits by mass flow meter. The proprietor must also test mass flow meters at least every 6 months to ensure that they are accurate within the required tolerances.

https://www.ecfr.gov/current/title-27/chapter-I/subchapter-A/part-19/subpart-G/subject-group-ECFRe31d95ad7581d87/section-19.188

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thank you @SCLabGuy for all the information. That is extremely helpful! It is a lot cheaper to do it that way.

We are a non distilling producer for now. We receive alcohol at 192 proof in 270 gallon totes. I know I have to gauge it upon receipt. Do I need a mass flow meter for that or can I use the receipt from the supplier to prove that I have 270 gallons? I saw another way to measure it by weight. Is there a way where I don't need extra equipment?

What density meter do you recommend? It's hard to find one that cheap that is TTB approved.

Why do you need a 105-125 proof hydrometer?

The density meter satisfies the need of a hydrometer and a thermometer right? I think it does but I'm just checking.

Is there a checklist of everything we would need somewhere?

 

Thank you,

Charles

 

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