Extract brewing here:

After the boil, I put my pot into an ice bath to cool the wort before topping off. Generally I cool the wort to 100°F (37°C) before transferring to the fermenter. Today I cooled to that temperature as usual, then topped off, but found that the temperature read a few degrees higher than expected (76°F vs. 70°F).

Rewinding for a moment, I noticed that temperature readings near the outside of the pot tended to be warmer than those I took from the center -- usually by at least +10°F. So that being said...

Where is the "correct" place in the pot to take the temperature while cooling the wort?

4 Answers 4


It would help in a couple ways if you gently stirred the wort with a sanitized spoon as it cools. First, it will make it cool faster. Second, you'll get homogenous wort so you'll get an accurate temp reading no matter where you check it.

  • Follow-up question: is the advice re: stirring in conflict with other advice I've received re: keeping the lid on throughout the ice bath? Or is the advice about keeping the lid on just bogus?
    – founddrama
    Jul 8, 2015 at 11:10
  • Bogus. There's absolutely nothing wrong with opening the lid to stir occasionally. Just be sanitary about it.
    – Denny Conn
    Jul 8, 2015 at 15:41

There is one correct place: The same place that you used last time. :)

The critical part is that you take a reading at the same place as this will give you consistency in your process.

There is one "bad" place: the bottom of the kettle. Depending on your equipment you may get a high reading because the thick bottom is retaining heat, or showing a very low temp because the cool wort is lying on the bottom.

Swirl your pot a bit to get some movement in your pot. This will help you get a more homogeneous reading as well as helping your wort to cool down faster.


I don't know of there being a correct place.

You have a couple of options:

1) If you are seeing such a large discrepancy then I would take 2 reading one from centre and one from the edge and average them.

2) or you could take a reading between the edge and the centre.


If you stir everyplace is the correct place.

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