The "cold" tap water here in the summer is often 95-97°, and since I brew 10-12 gal batches it takes an incredible amount of ice to chill under those conditions. When the water's cold enough I use my chiller because it's fast and easy, but during the summer I just transfer to a keg, seal it up, and throw in my ferm chamber for 24 hrs. Whether using the chiller or the no-chill method, I like to bring the wort down to ~2° below the planned fermentation temp before pitching, and then let it rise to ferm temp. I've noticed no difference in lag, fermentation time, clarity, or flavor between the two methods.
Originally Posted by jordinio
Chilling the beer quickly mostly is for preventing chill haze from proteins and also to prevent bacteria infection. Have you noticed your beers being more hazy from not chilling?
I haven't noticed any difference in the end product. I always either let my beers sit for 4+ weeks, or cold crash before kegging, and they're always clear going into the keg, chill or no-chill.