Image courtesy Wikipedia
We are a pretty diverse bunch here down under as we range from brewing on a stove, 2 pot lauter (http://aussiehomebrewer.com/topic/60922-2-pot-stovetop-ag-with-lauter/?p=858775). A group of us a few years back refined and furthered the BIAB process, which now has folks all round the world using it AND winning competitions with the method. Not so long ago the idea was scoffed at and with much disdain rebuked as an inferior method, let's not mention that the fabled Braumeister is a single vessel brewing system, agreed with a few more bells and whistles than a ghetto BIAB system. Perhaps the next in this line of techniques to earn some merit is the No Chill method.
No Chilling is a method of 'containing wort' in a HDPE 'cube' for storage and fermentation at a later time, anywhere from a day to 2 years later. After the usual Boil / Rest / Whirlpool, the Wort is run off to the cubes at 80'c + and all the remaining air is squeezed from the vessel and then sealed. As this is done above pasteurization temperatures and the wort being pre-boiled, it is effectively sterile. Usual cleaning and sanitation practices naturally apply prior to any contact with the wort.
A No Chill Cube
Hopping rates can vary to a 'normal' sort of boil addition and can range from a small bittering charge only to all hops in the cube. I generally will adopt the small bittering charge in the kettle (1/4 total IBU for and APA and 1/3 total IBU for and IPA) Cube hops are calculated at 20 minutes, as this is approx the time they will spend above isomerisation temperatures. Some absolutely wonderful aromas can be achieved with cube hopping and Ive often let a batch ferment with no dry hops, kegged it and drank a goodly portion before even thinking about keg hopping the brew. Ive been playing with this technique for a number of years not and suits my time poor lifestyle extremely well as I can produce 3 or 4 cubes in a brew session, cube hop them all individually and ferment at will with different yeast from the Yeast bank. Win.
I've had discussions with respected industry people about this method who worry that Botulism is a risk. This may be true, even if very minutely. The whole idea of a Cube is to store it, if any bacterium or spore has survived the boil and takes hold and breeds, the cube will give signs, particularly swelling and creating gas. I mentioned that if something were present and hadn't shown over the period of a week, it was unlikely to. As a side note the toxin is destroyed when heated to over 85'c for 5 minutes so a regular boil is plenty good enough to do the job. It should also be noted that FWK's (Fresh Wort Kits) are available commercially here in Australia and so have health department clearance.
It can be difficult in these sorts of settings to use a chiller as the groundwater temperature is so high combined with the fact that our society is becoming ever more conscious of waste, particularly of fresh water that No Chilling was invented down here.
It's true, I've lost a couple of cubes over the last few years to infection.. but so have people with chillers.
Australia is a vast Country and the climate can vary wildly about the place so it can be hard for someone in Melbourne offering advice to someone in the Northern Territory where conditions can be so wildly different on a daily basis. Humidity and ground water temperatures aside, they might have to wrestle a crocodile before the mash is complete as Crocks are attracted to the smell of a mash tun.. Ha! only joking! It's mostly the Humidity and temperature.
I live in Melbourne and we are blessed with some of the best drinking water to be found, quite soft and I find that adding just a little bit of Calcium Sulphate gets me home with most of my hop bombs and a bit of Calcium Carbonate for my darker beers, a few grams to the mash and boil does the job. I generally find that I'm hitting a PH of 5.2 for most mashes, either light or dark.
Temperature control is important here (as it is everywhere) and fridges with digital temperature control are often employed, I personally, enjoy the use of two such fridges. We have adopted the STC1000 (scope out ebay for them) for this purpose like it was our own, I use them on 3 fridges, 1 HLT, 1 HEX (HERMS) and my daughters oil heater in her bedroom.. man, what aren't those things good for?
So what do we do differently down under? Not a lot really except pay much more for yeast and hops. Ive pretty much got the yeast issue sorted out, Ive dedicated a 50lt tub in the bottom of my deep freezer and I freeze my yeast cultures in Glycerine, Im up to about 100 vials and almost 25 strains at call. Most of our ingenuity is simply process related and lets face it.. making beer is easy right?
Jesse McFadyen is "Yob" on our sister site, AussieHomeBrewer.com. If you're ever interested in how the brew upside down I would recommend joining up and checking them out.