Four and a half years ago, I was so excited about getting a new kettle that I blogged about it. It seemed a solid piece of kit and had variable temperature control with a good range of settings. Sadly it came to its end of life at the start of this week with a definite leak around the temperature control knob; it had already been suffering from sometime with intermittent illumination of the power light and a lid that didn’t always smoothly latch closed. The company that produced it is still in business but doesn’t mention kettles on its site, even in the spares section, so we’re back to the old Homebase kettle that was its predecessor and which we still had in the loft.
What the old kettle doesn’t have is temperature control but, from looking a few months ago when the lid started to get cranky, the current market for variable temperature kettles seems to be dominated by expensive items with quite variable reviews. Instead, I decided to use it as an opportunity to get an Inkbird temperature controller. I’ve seen these praised on homebrew forums. They provide a temperature reading and two output sockets which can be used to plug in heating and cooling devices.
I’m currently cooking up a homebrew that I’ve christened 3Bird, using the same Arkell’s 3B recipe that failed in my last attempt (3B2: lesson learned – I’ve booked time in my diary to bottle it as well as brew it). It doesn’t control the stove top but it gives a clear read out and sounds alarms so I’ve got the probe in the mash and am keeping it between 64.5°C and 67.5°C, with a nominal steady temperature of 66°C. This is much better than getting up every few minutes to check with my instant read thermometer. I will also use it to control the brewbelt over the coming week – my Raspberry Pi temperature monitor will still give me a log but this will be much better than trying to guess how to set the plug timer I’ve been using so far. In theory, I could use the Pi to turn sockets on and off but, given that the brew belt plugs into the mains supply, I feel more comfortable plugging into the Inkbird which, so far, has proved to be a brilliant bit of kit.