Hands on Review: Blichmann Engineering BrewVision Thermometer!

blichmann engineering brewvision review

This review is by Homebrew Finds Contributor Brad Probert.  Brad is an engineer, expert homebrewer and experienced reviewer.  Grab a link to Brad’s website at the end of this review.

Blichmann BrewVision Thermometer

There is a wide array of homebrew gear out there. Most anything you buy has options or comes in various designs. Specific to this review, there are tons of different thermometers. But one of Blichmann’s offerings sets itself apart by coupling some very useful software with its digital thermometer. The BrewVision has been on the market for 5-6 years, but just recently they lowered the price substantially, making it even lower than their analog dial-gauge thermometer.

The BrewVision comes in two configurations based on the length of the temperature probe you need in your particular setup. It has a standard ½” NPT thread to screw into a female NPT fitting, paired with their weldless bulkhead fitting, or coupled with their TC mounting flange. The package contains the probe and the threaded installation collar, and a large sealed transmitter housing that contains 2x AAA batteries, the on/off button, and the Bluetooth transmitting hardware.

The power of the BrewVision lies in the software interface you install on your phone. It doesn’t require the latest smartphone (compatible with even the 2010 iPhone 4, or any Android phones) to run their software. You can run the software with whatever level of sophistication you want. At its simplest, your phone functions as the pressure readout gauge. There is no display on the body of the BrewVision itself, so it requires you to have your Bluetooth smartphone paired and running the Blichmann app. While this might seem like a hassle to some, the benefit is you no longer have to be right next to your thermometer to know the temperature, you just have to be in Bluetooth range. Stay in your comfy chair relaxing while your strike water heats, or dodge the winter weather during your mash while you sit inside with the heat on.


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That is the most basic software feature. But it also contains brew day timers for your mash schedule or your boil addition timeline. For these mash times/temps or hop additions, you can either program them in manually within the app or import them automatically from BeerSmith Cloud (if you use BeerSmith Cloud). Once these timers are running, the App will sound off notifications when you are getting close to your target temperature, and if you stray from target temperature. How tight of a band you want for the target temperature alarm is customizable, as well as how often you want it to remind you if you’re out of that band.

Contents of Package

The BrewVision is wireless, and it runs on standard-sized batteries, which are spec’d to provide 120 hours of runtime. The probe is waterproof, so it doesn’t require a separate thermowell. There are also two different models, depending on the probe length you want (3” stem or 3/4″ stem). It has a 1/2” Male NPT thread for you to use to connect to your brew system, and includes a weldless bulkhead with o-rings. There are some other available accessories of a heat shield (if you’re using it over propane-fired kettle) or a high temp USB cable (if you want to separate the unit and have the readout/Bluetooth transmitter located away from the kettle).

Disassembled Weldless Bulkhead Sealing

Hands on Review

I tried out a few of the 3/4″ stem units in different parts of my brew setup. I tried it on the mash tun at the height of the middle of the grain bed, and in my electric boil kettle as well. My Spike kettles have 1.5” TC ports that were in the right spot for this. I used the weldless fitting with nuts & silicone o-rings together with a 1.5” TC blanking plate with a hole in the center. This was easy to screw together and gave me no issues with leaks at all. And of course the benefit of TC fittings for disassembly/cleaning was ideal.

BrewVision Attached to TC Plate

Pairing to the App was simple and successful (which is the way you want these things always to go!). I had no issues with connectivity or other quirks between the Bluetooth sensor and the App during my trials. I was running Android 11 on my smartphone.

Installed on 10-Gallon G2 Mash Tun


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I initially set it up to run both the mash tun and boil kettle in the multi-sensor configuration. The App does some fancy things like switching between the mash tun sensor and the boil kettle sensor if you have a recipe loaded/programmed with mash steps and boil steps. If you don’t have a brew day timer app you use, this is cool to make it feel automated somehow, even though you’re just monitoring and all the control of the temperature and transfer is of course manual.

Plot of Mash Temperature Control

I use Brewfather’s brew day timer, though, so I didn’t have a need for the one in the Blichmann app. I was most interested in the temperature logging feature. You have to choose if your brew session is going to be running the temperature data logging feature in the App, or the temperature monitor/brew day timer. The temperature logging feature was cool, and I used it to keep track of my grain mash bed temperature and saved the log to a file. It would’ve been ideal if it was possible to integrate into BrewfatherReview, but I couldn’t find a way to do that. So for now, it’s a matter of collecting the data files and storing them with a useful filename in case I want to go back to troubleshoot or try to recreate a particular mash. I used the BrewVision to monitor my grain bed during a multi-step mash using my RIMS system. My RIMS is controlled via a temperature probe on the output flow from the RIMS for best temperature stability, but it was interesting to be able to see the temperature of the actual mash during the process.

Conclusions

The BrewVision was easy to integrate into my brew system, and super-fast/easy to connect to Blichmann’s App. If you’re brewing all grain on a propane, or non-controller system, the monitor system would provide great feedback to your manual inputs in a real-time, dynamic way. If you are a data nerd and want to log temperature of a batch for historical purposes, this is also a nice and easy way to do that. Lastly, as a money-saving tip, if you buy the BrewVision directly from Blichmann’s website, it runs 50% cheaper than the various online brew stores. I don’t know the reason for that, but it’s been going that way for several months, so check it out before something changes!

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More Photos

Short Probe Stays out of Way for Stirring MashPlugging Probe into Bluetooth TransmitterInstalling BrewVision into Mash Tun

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Special Thanks to Blichmann Engineering for providing the unit used for evaluation in this review.

By Brad Probert.  Check out Brad’s website – beersnobby.com

Make sure the components you use are compatible and rated for your intended application.  Contact manufacturer with questions about suitability or a specific application.  Always read and follow manufacturer directions.

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