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.