This week’s post should be a lot shorter and easier to follow then previous posts on ‘mashing’, ‘sparging’ and ‘The Boil’. If you haven’t checked out those posts I encourage you to go back and have a look at them otherwise this post probably won’t make a whole lot of sense.
So how do you cool your wort? After boiling it for quite some time your wort is sufficiently hot. If you were to leave your wort to cool naturally on its own, it would be at in increased risk of bacterial infection. Like all things in homebrewing, there are a million and one ways to cool your wort.
The traditional way is to use a wort chiller or a counter flow chiller. Both of these options use water to bring down the temperature rapidly. Both have their pros and cons being:
Wort Chiller- Cheap, easy to clean, uses more water, is generally slower
Counter Flow Chiller- More expensive, more difficult to clean, uses less water and is generally quicker.
Another way to cool your wort which is becoming more popular (at least in Australia) is commonly referred to as ‘No Chill’. Despite the name, you do chill your wort but do so in a way that uses no water.
The way to ‘No Chill’ is to get a ‘cube’ which is essentially a container which can hold scalding hot liquid. You sanitise the cube and fill the hot contents of the wort into it. You push all the air out using a towel and then seal the cube. You turn the cube on its side to ensure that the scalding hot wort sanitises all areas of the cube. From here the wort can cool naturally without any chance of bacterial infection.
I use this method myself mainly because I haven’t yet invested in a chiller and this was the cheapest option. This practice certainly has its critics which say that you have to cool your wort rapidly in order to promote ‘cold break’ (i.e. the coagulation of proteins). Whilst I haven’t noticed this myself, I have noticed that I struggle to produce great IPAs as this process limits your ability to add 0 min addition hops.
When you ‘No Chill’, it is generally considered that hops added to the cube are the equivalent of 20 min hops in the boil. Therefore the 0 min additions need to be moved to the dry hop as they are impossible.
Keep an eye out for the next post in our ‘How to All Grain Homebrew Series’: #5 Fermentation!