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Old 11-25-2012, 12:32 AM   #1
Nov 2012
Posts: 15

How important is the speed in which you cool the wort?

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Old 11-25-2012, 03:27 AM   #2
Pie_Man's Avatar
Aug 2011
Gainesville, FL
Posts: 1,372
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It's fairly important for several reasons:

DMS, a cooked corn/vegetable off-flavor, is produced while the wort is still hot. During the boil, DMS simply boils off, but while cooling it's advisable to minimize the amount of DMS produced. The yeast can clean up some DMS, but the less you have to begin with, the better.

Sanitation, the longer your beer is exposed to air and other environmental factors, the higher the chance for contamination from bacteria or wild yeast. I believe when the temperature is < 140F, the wort is at the most risk.

Another reason is to form a good cold break. Cold break is coagulated protien-polyphenol compunds. It's my understanding that a faster cold break promotes more coagulated proteins and reduces the chances of beer haze.

And of course if you value your time, you'll want to chill quickly. Before I got an immersion chiller, it would take forever to chill my wort using ice baths. Plus, I was buying ice just to melt it while chilling my wort. To me, a wort chiller just made sense in order to save time, money, and produce better beer.

I hope this helps. If you're planning on, or are already brewing 5 gallon full boils, I'd strongly recommend using a chiller. It makes life so much easier and your beer should benefit based on the reasons mentioned above.

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Old 11-25-2012, 04:55 AM   #3
zzARzz's Avatar
Jul 2012
Posts: 416
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+ 1 on the wort chiller. It's made my brew days considerably less frustrating when trying to get those last few degrees shaved off. You can make a DIY one pretty cheaply (I think I did my 25' copper one for under $20) and there are many well done posts on here with instructions.

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Old 11-25-2012, 05:01 AM   #4
Aug 2012
Fulleron, CA
Posts: 290
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In addition to everything Pie_Man just said a wort chiller just makes the whole brew day more enjoyable. I made a DIY counter flow chiller based on threads in this forum and after using it the first time my brew buddies and I all agreed that it was money well spent ( under $50 if you DIY). Anyway, it is a good idea for lots of reasons and you will be very glad you made the investment.
“In Vino Veritas, In Cervesio Felicitas” — Anonymous

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Old 11-25-2012, 05:15 AM   #5
Nov 2012
Los Angeles, California
Posts: 182
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i'm really thinking about getting one. i tried the ice bath, and while it worked and i got it 80 degrees in about 30 min I think I may have contaminated the wort by getting some water in it. I think that would have helped a lot.

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Old 11-25-2012, 12:52 PM   #6
Captain Damage
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Apr 2008
Lowell, Massachusetts
Posts: 1,230
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Based on my non-blind experiments, cooling quickly seems to also reduce the time it takes for chill haze to drop out of your beer. I cool my wort from boiling to 60F in about 20 minutes with an ice bath (5 gallons - 3 gallons in about 15 minutes). It takes a lot of ice and a commitment to maximizing the heat transfer. I'm not just dropping my kettle in the sink with a few ice cubes and walking away then wondering why it's taking so long.

My kettle goes in a large plastic washtub and I completely pack ice around it. I spin the kettle clockwise a few turns, counterclockwise a few turns and repeat ad nauseum. I pause the spinning only to add more ice. Spinning the kettle keeps both the wort and the ice water agitated so you don't get thermal stratification. Yes, it's a lot of work. Eventually I will get or make an immersion chiller, but this works for me, for now.

I made a wire gizmo from a coat hanger to keep the probe of my thermometer in the middle of the kettle. I use binder clips to hold the lid on securely. My target temperature is 60F or lower. Many kits tell you to pitch at 75F-85F and let your beer cool down to room temperature (~70F) over the next day or so. I think this is bad advice. Most of the ester production will occur during the lag phase, before active fermentation starts, and ester production is increased by higher temperatures. Even if you're not doing any sort of fermentation temperature control, pitching at 60F and letting the beer warm up to room temperature will reduce your esters.
Stop using so much caramel malt. Your beer will thank you.
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Old 11-25-2012, 12:54 PM   #7
Nov 2010
Solway, MN
Posts: 10,243
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If chilling the wort is so important, how do the Australians get by with "no chill" brewing?

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Old 11-25-2012, 01:04 PM   #8
djt17's Avatar
Apr 2009
Central MN
Posts: 791
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Originally Posted by RM-MN View Post
If chilling the wort is so important, how do the Australians get by with "no chill" brewing?
I have been using their no-chill method for my past 8 batches. Works great.

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