Monday, May 24, 2010

The Wort Hog and the 46 degree goal.

Remember the fermentation chiller I built about a year ago? I believe it's time for an upgrade. A $10 upgrade to be honest. I'm trying to lager a few beers this year and in order to lager I need the temperature of the fermenting wort to stay around 50 degrees for about a month, maybe more. Try as I may the Wort Hog 5 leaks cold air like a screen-doored submarine. I planned on building a cabinet around it to help seal the seams but w/o the time I needed to make one (did I mention I don't build cabinets? I'm a computer nerd -when I'm working) I bought some duct tape and went to town. I also filled some spare boxes that were lying around with shredded paper and put them inside to kind of fill the void. I built the thing for 2 carboys but since I'm only lagering one 5 gallon batch I wanted to cut down the space the warm air could fill. Oh and I covered it in a few thick blankets for extra protection. I'm not proud of it ok but it works and works well I may add.
On my first run of the upgrade I chilled the ambient air (68 degrees) inside the Hog to 50 degrees in about 3 hours. I was happy but needed to push it to 46. From past experience the wort inside the carboy is about 3 degrees warmer than the ambient air and I need the wort to be as close to 50 as possible. I went to bed hoping it would cool further. It did. I woke up to a 46 degree chiller. Outstanding.
I had to try it with a 68 degree carboy. My thought is it takes a lot more cooling to remove 18 degrees of heat from 5 gallons of wort than the ambient air. I was right. It took almost an entire day to bring the air to 51 degrees. It stopped chilling there. I need faster results and a colder chiller. I'm conducting my next "experiment" today. I'm putting 5 gallons of 68 degree water in a tub full of frozen juice bottles for 12 hours. It should give it a nice jump start. If I can pre-chill the carboy to the desired temperature and then put it in the chiller the unit should hold it there without a problem.
We'll see.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Homebrewing Update

I'm brewing the biggest baddest IPA I've ever brewed (once again ha ha ha) in two weeks. Be ready sucker. 1 pound of hops and 16 pounds of grain. Sweet Sophia this is gonna be a muther of a brew. I'll be brewing it on my burner and in my new stock pot. I'm very excited. Next week I'm making an American Lager. Much smaller but using 4oz of a very popular hops, cascade. I'm trying to get my fermenter chiller (let's call him the Wort Hog from now on) to chill and maintain a temp of 47 degrees for lagering the Pils. To be continued.....

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The Dead Weather - Are Friends Electric?

I really like this cover of the 79 Gary Numan release. I think I may get more of The Dead Weather in the coming days. Let me know what you think.