I've seen many a debate on the forums about ambient versus internal temps during fermentation so I decided to buy a thermowell for my lagers. When I lagered without it, I kept the ambient temp at 52. This produced some fine lagers but conventional wisdom for those on the interior temperature side of the argument would say that the temp in the middle of the wort was higher than the 52 on the outside.
Well, I have my Johnson Controller set at 51F +-1degree and the probe in the thermowell. It's either on 51 or 52 everytime I check. BUT, the ambient temp is 54F. I'm using the same thermometers that I used previously when I lagered without the thermowell, and they all were calibrated at 52F, including the Johnson controller.
I pitched a very healthy starter that had krausen coming out of the blow off tube in 2 days. It took off and is bubbling about as much as I've seen a lager bubble.
So, what am I missing in this little puzzle here? Shouldn't the internal temp be higher than the ambient temp if the rule that fermentation raises wort temp is true?
Or maybe I'm just clueless. Can someone set me straight or tell me what I am missing?