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Old 05-01-2009, 10:20 PM   #1
Dr_Deathweed
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Default Exploring "no chill" brewing

UPDATE: Helpful posts and FAQ's
Explanation of "no chill: http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f13/expl...1/#post1299451
Hopping schedule chart: http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f13/expl...ml#post1542375
Winpack link:http://www.usplastic.com/catalog/pro...uct%5Fid=13648
5 gal jerrican link (for long term storage):http://www.usplastic.com/catalog/pro...uct%5Fid=14603


Original Post
I will be hitting a time crunch here in the next week an a half where I will not have time to brew for a couple months, however, I should be able to make time to rack/keg during this time. I do have a couple days off where I can brew before hand (which I fully plan on doing), but due to local temps and the finite amount of room in my fermentation chiller, I can only brew/ferment ~10 gallons at a time and maintain my quality standards. For these reasons I am looking into exploring no chill brewing.

The Plan: Brew 20-30 gallons next week. For this project I will plan to brew medium gravity, moderately hopped beers with fairly well modified grains (no pilsner) to be stored for a period of 6 weeks at the longest before pitching yeast. Chill and ferment 10 gallons like normal, but "no chill" and store the remaining 10-20 gallons to be fermented at 2-3 week intervals to keep the pipeline flowing.

Materials: I will purchase 2-4, 5 gallon HDPE water storage containers from walmart to store the "no chill" wort in.
Update: I went with the 5 gallon stackable jerricans in the link above. The wal-mart water storage containers have an air vent spigot which is not air tight so does not work for long term storage, thus does not meet my needs.

Potential issues:

-DMS: This issue has been discussed in other threads, but I will touch on it here. It has been claimed as a non-issue for "no chill" proponents, and a huge factor by the opposition. An extended boil of 90 minutes will remove the vast majority of DMS pre-cursors, with will help prevent formation of detectable levels during a slow cooling process. Now if we consider we frequently tell noobs to chill their wort w/in 30 minutes using the sink and ice method, you have a rough window of ~20 minutes to bring the wort below 180 deg to prevent any detectable DMS formation. This is roughly a 2 deg/minute heat loss over a surface area of 4-5 square feet (figuring a little less than a square foot per side of the container) with a temperature difference between wort and ambient of at least 100deg at the lowest temp of 180deg for the wort, and an ambient of 80deg. Now I am sure someone out there is willing to crunch the numbers on that, but from here it looks incredibly feasible and the formation of DMS would really be a non-issue.

-Spoilage: As above, I will be using a 90 minute boil which should kill just about everything, and add in a good sanitation of my containers with star-san, and allowing contact of all surfaces with boiling wort for ~10 minutes should reduce all chances of contamination.

-Botulism: Spores from C. botulinum can survive hours in boiling water and grow in room temperature substrates with a pH as low as 4.6, botulism is something we should be concerned with. Luckily we are dealing with wort here. According to some information in "Advances in Thermal and Non-thermal food preservation" By Gaurav Tewari, the synergistic action of low pH and boiling temperatures for extended times act to inactivate C. botulinum spores. Couple this with a U.S. Patent (#6251461) which claims "hop extract" as a preservative to prevent growth of C. botulinum spores. So I guess I will just have to hop my beers (at least three times ).

Conclusion: UPDATED 9/10/09
My no chill bitter is fantastic! I ended up waiting about 8 weeks between brewing and fermentation. Will try and post pictures when I next remember to do so. As is, I am calling this project a success and prod all nay-sayers to give this method a try!
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Old 05-01-2009, 10:25 PM   #2
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I would fill the containers with CO2, so that there is no chance of any airborne yeasts or bacteria. The big problem I would worry about is the wort sitting for several weeks, so I would try to kill everything that may come in contact with the wort of fermentation vessel. Good luck, can't wait to see the results!

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Old 05-01-2009, 10:58 PM   #3
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I'm interested in the Go Big or GTFO way you do science. Wimpy, nickel rubbing, penny pincher that I am, I'd go for the growler size worts and see how long they lasted.

If it works, AWESOME! I'm not sure I'd be confident in any sanitizing process lasting for more than a couple of days. I agree with 2heads about the CO2. If you can get good sanitation of equipment, go the next step and put a nice heavy CO2 blanket over the wort.

Hope you blow your best hopes and expectations out of the water!

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Old 05-02-2009, 12:04 AM   #4
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Oh man.. I wish you the best of luck with this. I'm not quite sure if it is more of a risk to do what you're thinking or simply pitch the yeast and cross your fingers when it comes to the fermentation temps. I think the most concerning thing for me would also be the botulism risks. Obviously mold and bacteria are also concerns, but those won't kill you. I think that they say hops help protect against bacteria somewhat, nothing works better than yeast. And still, botulism is a spore and would just love wort sitting around. Best of luck...

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Old 05-02-2009, 12:11 AM   #5
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you could add a small amount of dri ice and vent. that would get rid of the oxygen and create a seal.you wont need much just enough to offset the oxygen. when you want to ferment then aerate and pitch.

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Old 05-02-2009, 12:12 AM   #6
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The cubes get cleaned and sanitized, then boiling wort goes in, there is no more chance of bacteria or yeast then dumping chilled wort into a fermentation vessel like you normally do. Companies sell wort done in a manner similar to this, why is it so shocking???

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Old 05-02-2009, 12:24 AM   #7
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I didn't catch the specific reason why you don't pitch into all the wort now.

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Old 05-02-2009, 12:25 AM   #8
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what about adding some campden tabs to the wort, just to make sure ALL yeasts are killed? In much the same way as wine, this should kill everything and then just leave that container sealed until you want to ferment.

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Old 05-02-2009, 12:28 AM   #9
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Brew a saison or belgian ale. That way, it can handle the higher than normal ale temps.

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Old 05-02-2009, 12:36 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobby_M View Post
I didn't catch the specific reason why you don't pitch into all the wort now.
he only has enough room in his fermentation chamber for 10-gallons at a time, and ambient temps are too warm for his liking...

Personally, I'd just buy a couple tub and fill with water and ice bottles....
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