Ok, so maybe the method isn’t unconventional since it is basically the same process used in a Whirlpool Immersion Chiller. However, the use of random supplies is.
One of the most important steps in homebrewing is chilling the wort to an optimal temperature for pitching yeast. The primary objective is to chill as fast as possible. There isn’t a magical chill pill available on the market so this step should be taken serious. Why?
1. The longer wort is exposed, the greater chance infection can occur. Infected beer = FAIL
2. The possibility of oxidation increases the longer that precious brew is exposed to the elements.
3. Dimethyl Sulfide will continue its destructive course as long as the wort is not boiling.
4. Creating a quick “cold break” results in clearer beer. The cold break is essential to avoid the haze look to your finished product. Achieving a fast break is the only way to precipitate these proteins and impress your peers with a clean and clear beer.
I think you get the point!
We have all experienced the “stall spot” during the cool down wishing we could find a way to speed things up. What is the “stall spot”? The wort cools quickly from a boil down to around 85°-90°. At this point, the outside temperature and wort temperature are starting to run a parallel side by side race. This is even worse in the summer heat.
To pitch the yeast, wort temperature generally needs to fall below 80°. The last thing anyone wants to do is leave wort exposed to mother nature’s wrath. I have actually fallen victim to a bird shit bomb directly into my wort and infected batches. Yes, I still drank them ALL. However, it made me want to find a solution without spending any money. My wife tends to make me sleep on the couch when I get caught dropping dollars on brewing equipment.
My father-in-law came up with an unconventional work of art to chill the wort to pitching temperature once it hit a stall. He found the supplies sitting around the house and pieced together his odd yet awesome contraption.
- Standard wort chiller
- An under the bed storage bin
- Floor pump used to pump water from a basement floor.
- Bag of ice
Cut out a hole in the lid of the storage bin so the pump can sit flush against the bottom. Done! Nobody even got hurt with the saw.
When the wort reaches around 100°, dump a bag of ice into the storage bin and add some water. You want an ice bath. You can also start this method from the end of boil as long as you have enough ice. The hot wort exchange melts the ice bath quickly. I personally found 100° to be an ideal target for two reasons.
1. The wort generally chills pretty quickly with a wort chiller for the first half of the the chill.
2. When I brew…I drink. I can remember 100° pretty well when I have had a few.
Hook up the wort chiller to the pump so an ice bath can be recirculated through the coiled copper and back into the storage bin. It works like the cooling system on a car. The objective is passing the ice cold water through the chiller. Add a solid whirlpool with a drill and sanitized paint stirrer (paint stir what?) and you are in business.
This will cool the wort within a few minutes. Be careful you do not over chill the wort. That would defeat the whole purpose.
This concept can easily be applied using any cooler and submersible pump. Cheers to brewing beer and cheers to inventing odd ways to brew like a pro for half the dough.