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Old 11-21-2006, 01:17 PM   #1
Tom Smith
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Default To Chill or not to chill?

I have been brewing for a few years now, and I have never once used a wort chiller. I dump my wort into the my brewbucket, and let it sit around a day, and then pitch.
So now I'm thinking about trying a wort chiller, but I'm wondering aside from chilling the wort quicker, allowing me to pitch sooner, what is the benefit to brew quality?

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Old 11-21-2006, 01:19 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Smith
I have been brewing for a few years now, and I have never once used a wort chiller. I dump my wort into the my brewbucket, and let it sit around a day, and then pitch.
So now I'm thinking about trying a wort chiller, but I'm wondering aside from chilling the wort quicker, allowing me to pitch sooner, what is the benefit to brew quality?
As far as I know the two main benefits are clearer beer and less chance of an infection. Letting the wort sit at higher temperatures for a longer period of time give bacteria a better chance to get a foothold and infect your beer. The sooner the wort is cooled down and fermenting the better.
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Old 11-21-2006, 01:42 PM   #3
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"At the end of the boil, it is important to cool the wort quickly. While it is still hot, (above 140°F) bacteria and wild yeasts are inhibited. But it is very susceptible to oxidation damage as it cools. There are also the previously mentioned sulfur compounds that evolve from the wort while it is hot. If the wort is cooled slowly, dimethyl sulfide will continue to be produced in the wort without being boiled off; causing off-flavors in the finished beer. The objective is to rapidly cool the wort to below 80°F before oxidation or contamination can occur.
Rapid cooling also forms the Cold Break. This is composed of another group of proteins that need to be thermally shocked into precipitating out of the wort. Slow cooling will not affect them. Cold break, or rather the lack of it, is the cause of Chill Haze. When a beer is chilled for drinking, these proteins partially precipitate forming a haze. As the beer warms up, the proteins re-dissolve. Only by rapid chilling from near-boiling to room temperature will the Cold Break proteins permanently precipitate and not cause Chill Haze. Chill haze is usually regarded as a cosmetic problem. You cannot taste it. However, chill haze indicates that there is an appreciable level of cold-break-type protein in the beer, which has been linked to long-term stability problems. Hazy beer tends to become stale sooner than non-hazy beer. The following are a few preferred methods for cooling the wort." --John Palmer, "How To Brew".

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Old 11-21-2006, 02:16 PM   #4
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I surely wouldn't want it to "sit" around for a day. Leaves too many varibles open.

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Old 11-21-2006, 02:25 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Smith
I have been brewing for a few years now, and I have never once used a wort chiller.

I think this is a key sentence. Apparently , with all the dangers mentioned, he hasn't had a problem. After a few years I would say he has a pretty strong case on the other side of the coin. That letting it sit doesn't pose a problem

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Old 11-21-2006, 02:31 PM   #6
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I'd say he has been very careful with his sanitation AND lucky.

The biggest difference will be in the aroma. Fast cooling will mean less loss of the aromatic oils.

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Old 11-21-2006, 02:35 PM   #7
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Even if you simply moved to letting it sit in the covered pot in an ice bath, you wouldn't really have to buy a chiller or change much with your process. After that you can decide if you want to cool it even faster.

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Old 11-21-2006, 03:31 PM   #8
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I would advocate a chiller, for a couple reasons... #1 LESS of a chance of infection, #2 You can pitch and get your beer started sooner, #3 you can get alot more break material. Along with the break material, if you whirlpool your wort frantically and let it sit completely still for say 20 minutes, you can get some VERY clean wort into your fermentor.

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Old 11-21-2006, 03:59 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brewno
I think this is a key sentence. Apparently , with all the dangers mentioned, he hasn't had a problem. After a few years I would say he has a pretty strong case on the other side of the coin. That letting it sit doesn't pose a problem
That is quite a jump since you have no idea what prompted him to ask the question. I've never had Tom's homebrew and it may well be world class. But it is possible that he is here looking for ways to improve his process and saw this difference.
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Old 11-21-2006, 04:04 PM   #10
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I was told from the guy at my LHBS that pouring or oxygenating hot wort is a big no no. It stales the beer and produces many off flavors. Not sure of the science behind it though

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