Originally Posted by rightwingnut
Is it simple enough to explain how to make it?
You definitely made the right move. Your beer will always be better if you boil all of the wort. There are several reasons for this:
1) You sterilize all of the wort rather than contaminating it with tap water at the end.
2) If you use city water, you boil off a lot of the crap they add to it.
3) Your hop utilization is much better and you can more accurately replicate recipes. Hops are not utilized as well in concentrated wort. If you boil just a portion of your wort, you will necessarily be brewing a more concentrated (higher gravity) wort than your batch will end up being when diluted. By boiling all of the wort, you make better use of your hops and get better flavor.
In my opinion, you must boil all of the wort to make quality beer.
As far as the chiller, the type referenced here is an immersion chiller. It works like this:
Make a coil of copper tubing about 8 inches in diameter (the coil not the tubing). Coil up a good 15 feet of tubing. Then solder garden hose fittings to either end. You'll want to bend the intake and outflow so they are conveniently accessible at the top of the chiller.
About 15 minutes from the end of your boil, you throw this contraption into the boiling wort. That sanitizes it. Then when it's time to turn off the heat, you do so, and then run a bunch of water through this thing for a half hour or so (been a while since I used immersion chillers or made 5 gallon batches). Connect garden hoses to either end. It'll chill your batch in pretty short order.
You can only chill about 5 gallons of beer effectively with an immersion chiller. If you want to do larger batches, look into a counterflow chiller. In that scenario, wort flows through the copper tube in one direction, while cold tap water flows in an outer tube in the other direction. You can chill any ammount of wort with one of those.
I'm sure you can find designs by googling immersion chiller or counterflow chiller. Or go look at pictures at morebeer.com or someplace that sells them. Very simple devices, but very useful.
Lastly, in my opinion, you *need* a chiller if you are boiling all of your wort and making 5 gallons of beer or more. Waiting for 5 gallons to cool naturally can take 24 hours or more, and all that time with no yeast in it invites infection in a big way. If you really want to brew, you need a chiller.