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Old 04-01-2008, 01:26 PM   #1
dirtymike1
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Default Cooling the Wort

Ok so I will fisrt say, I am a n00b to home brewing. I've got 1 brew under my belt and it was a blast. But the question is when the directions say to "rapidly" cool the wort after boil, how fast is rapid. It was a chilly winter night when I did it so I put it outside for a while, maybe 30 minutes, and did not see any reall drop in temp. Then I put it in a sink full of ice water and that seemed to do the trick after about 25-30 minutes, maybe a little longer. I've seen the wort chillers, the bent copper tubing, and was wondering if this is truely needed? My brew came out great, so I don't think it cool to slowly. But how fast should it be cooled?

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Old 04-01-2008, 01:38 PM   #2
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Welcome to HBT!

Rapidly cooling the wort is good for several reasons- one is that you cool it out of the "danger" zone for bacteria to infect ASAP, and also you'll get a great "cold break", where coagulated proteins drop out of the wort. That will help you get clear beer in the end.

Rapidly means within 20 minutes or so. A good way to do that with extract brewing is to stick your brewpot in an ice/water bath in the sink, and add more ice and cold water as needed. It doesn't work as well outside, because the moving ice bath conducts the heat away better.

Those wort chillers are great- and I recommend one. You don't need one though, if you are boiling less than 3 gallons or so usually. You can cool your brewpot to under 90 degrees, add that to the fermenter, and top up with cool water to your 5 gallon amount. That will get you to 70 degrees pretty quickly, and it works great.

When you boil more than 2-3 gallons, though, you really would find a wort chiller more necessary. It's almost impossible for me to get 5.25 gallons of hot wort to pitching temperature quickly without one.

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Old 04-01-2008, 01:39 PM   #3
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The faster you cool the better! Chillers work well and are easy to use. Ice baths will also work but are not as convenient and usually not as effective. Depends on the size of the chiller vs. size of the bath???

If you progress to all grain brewing where you are trying to cool a min. of 5-6 gallons of wort, a chiller is preferred due to the quantity of ice and size of bath required.

It's really up to you, some people love equipment, some keep it simple.

Additionally, during cooling, it helps to stir both the hot wort and thecooling water.

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Old 04-01-2008, 01:53 PM   #4
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Ok so 20 minutes. I want to start my next batch in a bout a week, but sometime this summer I'll build myself a wort chiller. I've seen the designs and they aren't that hard to build. And I think I can get away with the sink for now, it's pretty deep and stainless steel, so I think that get me by for now. Will slow chilling affect flavor/taste at all? Anything besides clarity?

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Old 04-02-2008, 03:29 PM   #5
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I just bought a True Brew starter kit. As I read through the booklet included, the directions call for boiling only one gallon and pouring it into three gallons of cold water. But I see in other places that I should get a 36 quart SS pot and a chiller etc. What gives?

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Old 04-02-2008, 03:40 PM   #6
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Another thing to consider is that if you are using pilsner malt you want to cool down fast to reduce DMS production. That is the sweet corn flavor you get in some lagers. Also a reason not to cover the brewpot when boiling.

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Old 04-02-2008, 06:33 PM   #8
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Although I am going to make a chiller this summer, I have great results with dumping ice into the kettle. 2 bags in a 3 gallon boil seem to work wonders. I can get temps down to under 100 degrees in less than 15 minutes.

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Old 04-02-2008, 06:35 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elundgren
I just bought a True Brew starter kit. As I read through the booklet included, the directions call for boiling only one gallon and pouring it into three gallons of cold water. But I see in other places that I should get a 36 quart SS pot and a chiller etc. What gives?
I always have understood that to get good hops utilization, you need at least 2.5 galloons in the boil. Under that, there is not enough liquid to properly extract the oil from the hops. 3 gallons is even better.
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