If you have ever brewed your own beer at home you will have become at least somewhat familiar with the concept of cooling down your “wort”. Chilling down the wort is vital to the clarity of beer, and provides several other benefits to the finished product and the brewer.
For those that aren’t familiar, Wort is “beer starter” — comprised of malt extract (from grain mash) and water. That’s it. Generally, brewers will take it to the next level with their preferred flavorings and different kinds of hops. via FoodRepublic
Chilling down the wort is basically the last major step on brew day before adding the yeast and waiting until primary fermentation is complete. Anyone who has done the process of brewing beer without having a proper way to cool down the wort can attest to the lack of clarity and the amount of extra time they were forced to spend brewing. Faster chilling of the wort increases protein coagulation in the sweet mixture, and generally is what lead to clearer beer. Another crucial benefit of getting this whole process including pitching the yeast done faster is that it will leave far less room for contamination assuming that you have proper practices and procedures down.
If you have a relatively small container of hot wort, or a relatively big outer bucket available then you can easily cool the wort bu placing it inside another container full of ice and water. This is not optimal as it may take an hour to get down to the desired temperature, but its cheap and easy to do in a pinch.
A better way is to use an in-wort chiller referred to as an immersion chiller. This method works best for many homebrewers. It’s basically a long copper tube with hose attachments on the ends wound in a way to be submerged in the hot wort. Then simply run cold water through the copper tube until the wort is at the desired temperature for pitching yeast.
Another method that is used by homebrewers is to buy a long copper tube rig it into a giant coil inside a large bucket. Attach hoses to the ends and make sure the bucket plugs at the bottom. Fill the bucket with ice and some salt to drop temps, all around the coils to the top and add some water to distribute the cold from the ice. Simply run the wort through the coil and out into the fermenter and the wort shouldn’t be too far from optimal temperature.
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