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Old 07-25-2009, 12:32 AM   #1
Edcculus
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Default The science behind No Chill

This thread isn't meant to be a discussion on whether the No Chill method works or doesn't. I haven't tried it, but many members and home brewers on more than on continent have proven it to work.

So why does it? Why does this method that seems to go against everything we were ever taught work so flawlessly? Why aren't all the no chill brewers drinking hazy beer that tastes like cooked corn/rotten cabbage and infected with botulism?

My guess is that most of the brewing texts older homebrewers referenced (IE Papa Charlie and JP) were written based on commercial production. On top of that, they were probably written for the commercial production of light lagers. I'm sure chilling quickly on a commercial scale is extremely important. Can you imagine how long even 20bbls of wort would maintain near boiling temperatures? I bet it would take a month for all of AB's wort to cool to pitching temperatures.

I'm willing to bet that modern chilling methods are based on the fact that commercial breweries originally wanted to reach pitching temperatures as fast as possible for quicker turnaround.

Granted this is all based on speculation. I have not done research on the history of chilling. Its kind of a chicken and egg situation. I think that commercial breweries ended up finding a benefit on larger systems (<20gallons) of fast chilling. Maybe even when lagers became commercially popular in Germany.

What are your thoughts? Am I completely off?

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Old 07-25-2009, 12:41 AM   #2
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It makes sense. For thousands of years of brewing there was no quick way to chill the wort and they kept on drinking it. I would guess that the improvements have made the beer better and more drinkable, although if you look at an old(1600-1700) recipe book they don't sound really tasty either

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Old 07-25-2009, 12:41 AM   #3
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Edd,

There is probably some truth to what you are saying. I mean, really who knows. It is like so many other things, as knowlege, equipment and materials evolve, so does the process and the product.

Some would argue that no chill is hazy and tastes like cooked corn, you just arent seeing it or tasting it... I am serious.

Maybe someone should ask one of the grandfathers of HB text to weigh in on the subject in the face of so much practical experience flying in the face of convention.

So, we need someone with a brewing science background to weigh in on this.

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Old 07-25-2009, 01:07 AM   #4
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Are you saying that DMS is therefore, a boogeyman made up by commercial breweries, to justify the practice of quick chilling? I'm not buying it.

I am alternately convinced that DMS and slight haze are viewed by no-chill brewers as an acceptable, even desirable, "house" characteristic. Similar to certain commercial breweries who use clear glass bottles and whose customers expect a slight level of skunking, especially when counteracted by a slice of lemon or lime, or others who cultivate a small amount of diacetyl to achieve a buttery mouthfeel.

I am not really trying to be contentious here. Only a small percentage of tasters are able to pick up low levels of DMS anyway. And before it becomes distinctly corn tasting it actually adds a hint of malty sweetness to the brew. A plus in many circumstances or completely unnoticed in others, as in a very malty or hoppy brew. I had a training class where we added DMS drop by drop to a tasting glass of regular Budweiser and it actually improved the flavor at first. The thing was, there were only two of us in this class of around 16 people that could even taste the DMS until suddenly everybody was tasting creamed corn in the beer.


If you boil for 90 minutes and filter or fine with polyclar I would bet that you nearly eliminate the side effects of no-chill unless you are doing very light low hopped lagers.
As far as beers that were produced before quick chill was an option we are talking about a distinctly different time. We really have no clue how much DMS was in their beer but we sure do know that it was served quite cloudy even at cellar temps and for that reason there was no push to find clear glass vessels to serve it in. Only after there was clear glass was there a push to eliminate haze from beer.

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Old 07-25-2009, 01:19 AM   #5
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I have to respectfully disagree with the cloudy "house" characteristic of no chill beer. Have you SEEN a no chill beer at 34F? There are a few photos here on HBT.

Have you ever brewed a no chill beer?

My no chills are EASILY just as clear as my IC'd beers of the past 4 years were. There is no "house" cloudiness. Then again, I have actually used the process.

Here is my cloudy "house character" beer

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Old 07-25-2009, 01:26 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Pol View Post
Then again, I have actually used the process.
snap.
I'm sure you were curious of how I got away with so few characters in the post. Pat yourself on the back for solving this mystery.
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Old 07-25-2009, 01:32 AM   #7
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Quote:
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snap.
I'm sure you were curious of how I got away with so few characters in the post. Pat yourself on the back for solving this mystery.
I didnt solve a mystery... Aussies have been brewing this say for a decade or more as a normal process.
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Old 07-25-2009, 01:32 AM   #8
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Having never used it I offer my opinion. No chill gives bacteria a longer time frame to inoculate the wort which in turn makes it harder for the slower growing yeast to get a strong foothold for healthy fermentation. It only makes sense to reduce the time spent in bacterias incubation temp range to reduce the chance of infection. I will not discuss Bigfoot.

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Old 07-25-2009, 01:36 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beerthirty View Post
Having never used it I offer my opinion. No chill gives bacteria a longer time frame to inoculate the wort which in turn makes it harder for the slower growing yeast to get a strong foothold for healthy fermentation. It only makes sense to reduce the time spent in bacterias incubation temp range to reduce the chance of infection. I will not discuss Bigfoot.
I have had IC'd ferments take 72 hours to start, my no chills start in less than 72 hours. My glass carboy was not heat sanitized, my no chill fermentor is. This could be debated, but I think the OP made the point that this was not to be a debate on whether it works or not.
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Old 07-25-2009, 01:36 AM   #10
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If it tastes good to you, no worries.

There are very well documented benefits of quick chilling, you can't really blame anyone for doing it.

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