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A Simple Wort Chiller To Chill You Beer Faster

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.  This is a simple wort chiller upgrade to chill your beer faster.

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. Creating a quick “cold break” results in clearer beer. The cold break is essential to avoid the haze look to your finished product. 

I think you get the point!

We have all experienced the “stalling 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.

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.

Supplies:
- Standard wort chiller
- An under the bed storage bin
- Submersible Pump
- Bag of ice

Cut out a hole in the lid of the storage bin so the pump can sit flush against the bottom.

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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.

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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.

  • Tom Aguero

    You say to start this at 100 degrees. Why can’t we kick this into gear straight from the boil?

  • beermumbo

    Thanks for bringing that up. I have addressed it in the post now.

  • mtnagel

    Really isn’t much need to because the water from the tap is so much colder than the hot wort, so it’s pretty easy to drop the temperature pretty rapidly until you get closer to the temperature of the tap water. So really no harm other than wasting some more ice.

  • mtnagel

    I’ve thought about trying this method, but then I figured it would be one more thing that could break. My method is I made a pre-chiller out of 20′ 3/8″ copper tubing and I drop in a bucket of cold water. Then when I get the wort to around 100F, I throw in a block of ice I made in a 1 gallon bucket the night before. It fits almost perfectly in the pre-chiller, so it cools the water pretty well before it gets to the wort. See my picture here – http://i.imgur.com/VkW6vY7.jpg. I still may well try the pump method at some point.

  • beermumbo

    Nice! I like it.

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