Regardless of how good you think your brewing methods are, it doesn’t mean anything if the yeast can’t work their magic in a happy environment, and one such factor of this is a steady temperature. For anyone getting into brewing achieving this is a relatively inexpensive way to increase the quality of your finished beer.
For the last few years both amateur and professional brewers alike have favoured the STC-1000 temperature controller, but these things require a bit of electrician skill to wire up and a few extra costs, such as plug sockets and a project box to mount it all in. Whilst there is some satisfaction gained from building your own kit, sometimes it’s just nice to be able to purchase things that just work out of the box. And so this is where Inkbird comes in. These guys produce all kinds of smart electrical products, including a range of temperature controllers, they even have their own version of the above mentioned STC-1000. The one that has caught brewing folks attention recently is the ITC-308, a neatly packaged controller that comes with sockets and a temperature probe fitted as standard. What’s more you can find them online for less than £30, which was a damn sight cheaper than the last STC I cobbled together.
I won’t got through all the individual specs, instead you can check them out on Inkbird’s site, but feature wise this natty device beats the old STC-1000 hands down. Things that stood out for this long time STC user were the .3 of a degree C temperature resolution (instead of the .5 degree that the STC employs), the alarms for min and max temperatures (the STC only alarms when there’s an error) and the dual display (so no having to press fiddly buttons to see what your target temperature is set to). The 5 cm thermometer probe comes with a 2 metre cable, so plenty of give if your fermentor is situated away from plug sockets, and should you need a longer probe Inkbird have you covered with a 12 inch version.
If you don’t require cooling, there’s a slightly cheaper cut down version, the ITC-306T, that offers everything but a cooling relay. Which for a lot of people will be fine as brewing on a smaller scale cooling isn’t a major problem as fermenters as the ambient temperature usually does a good job of that.
In action this controller worked an absolute charm, I’ve got no complaints there. If I were to nit pick my only issue with the device would be that the sockets are a bit ungainly, making fastening it to the wall a bit of a messy affair, but it’s a minor issue which is most definitely outweighed by the features and convenience.
Inkbird ITC-308 available from BrewUK