Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Chiller

It's ugly but functional. I call it the Wort Hog 5. Not too bad for my first attempt. I am definitely not a handy-tool type guy. I learned a lot from this adventure so next time it'll be much prettier and have a higher efficiency.
OH. What the hell is it? It's a fermentation chiller. What's it do? It chills the wort (fermenting beer)to a set temperature using blocks of ice and a "hacked" thermostat. Ice (frozen plastic jugs) sit in the bottom chamber and when the temperature gets above a certain range set in the thermostat a small 12v fan (a computer fan I scavenged) starts blowing air across the blocks of ice forcing cold air into the upper chamber until the chamber reaches a set temp. Why do I want to keep fermenting beer at a certain temperature? It tastes better and I get to manage the flavor in each batch. Different temps make the little "Yeastie Boys" (what a cool name for a homebrewing club) produce different flavors. The example to the left is water only. It was a test run to see what the difference between the ambient air and the actual temperature of a 5 gallon container of liquid is. To my joy it's only 1. I found the plans for this online and after I fix some flaws in my work I plan on building another. The duct tapes gotta go. I'd love to make one out of wood.
I plan on utilizing this the first time come Saturday. The hefewiezen I'm making needs to ferment at 62 degrees. I made the same recipe a couple years ago fermenting at around 70. I can't wait to try this under controlled conditions..


  1. They're more expensive to run. This unit cost me about $35 to make and runs off of a 12v phone charger I found in my "box-of-the-unused". With a refrigerator there's so much more that could go wrong. When I started this project I looked at used wine chillers but they didn't provide the size I needed and generally weren't the price I was trying to stay under.