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E-Mail: 7bridges@breworganic.com
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Address: 325A River Street
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
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Cooling The Wort

To reduce the risk of contamination, it is best to cool down the wort quickly after the boil. Another reason to cool the beer down quickly is that it will improve the quality of your beer by trapping desirable aromas and settling proteins for a clear finished beer. There are three methods of doing this (see below for an explanation of all 3 methods); for this batch we will use an immersion wort chiller, which we have already placed in our brew pot along with a metal spoon and a thermometer...

Using The Immersion Wort Chiller

A wort chiller is a coil of copper tubing (these can be purchased for around $35 (or you can make one yourself) that is placed in the pot of hot wort. Cold water is run though the tubing to chill the wort. The chiller is sanitized by putting in the brew pot for the last 15 minutes of the boil.

After the boil, we turn the heat off and carefully move our pot to a heat resistant surface near our water source. We'll attach our water in and water out hoses with hose clamps. The water in is connected to a garden hose, and we have several empty buckets on hand to collect the water exiting the wort chiller. We'll use this for cleaning up, and to water the garden once it cools down.

Now we turn the water on, adjusting the flow so that the water coming out the exit tube has some heat. If the water is moving too quickly, our wort will not chill much faster, but too much water would be wasted. As the brew cools down, we can slow the water flow even more.

By stirring the wort while it is chilling (with our sterilized spoon!), we will reduce the amount of time it takes to cool the wort by as much as 1/2. With a thermometer in place, we can check the progress as we stir. Our batch cools in just 15 to 20 minutes. We cool it down to 70 oF.

As soon as the beer is cool, we remove the chiller and put the lid back on until we are ready to pour it into the fermenter.

Pouring The Beer Into the Fermenter

Our fermenter has already been sanitized (we did this before we started the boil), and so has our funnel. Both of these items have been drained of sanitzer. Our stopper and the yeast package are are soaking in sanitizer right now. Now we pour the beer into the fermenter as pictured on the left. This pot is heavy!

If it is too heavy for you to pour a full 5 gallons at once, you can start out with a sanitized ladle or small sauce pan and scoop part of the beer into the fermenter until the pot is light enough to lift.

All of the hops that were put into the brew are now broken up into small particles. Our funnel has a built in screen, which is in place to filter out most of the hop particles. This filter is very fine, and usually gets clogged before we have poured all of the beer into our fermenter. We still have our sanitized spoon, and we use this to stir, to free up the flow as we go.

If we boiled less than 5 gallons, after all the wort has been poured into the fermenter, we'll top it up to 5 gallons with pre-boiled and cooled water.

Now that our fermenter is filled, we are ready to add the yeast!

Two Other Methods of Cooling the Wort:

#1: Immerse the pot in a cold water bath. This can be done in your sink, or your bath tub, or a large bucket. Ice cubes in the water bath will speed the process up immensely. Use a sanitized spoon to stir the hot wort- this will speed the cooling process considerably. Keep the water bath cold by adding or replacing cold water as needed, or adding more ice cubes. Circulate the water bath around the pot to speed the cooling process.

#2: Add sterile cold water or ice. If you boiled less than 5 gallons this is an easy method to cool down the wort. It is very important that the water or ice cubes used are completely sterile! Use distilled or sterile bottled water, or sterilize water by boiling for 15 minutes. Ice cubes should also be made with sterile water, in sanitized trays.

 

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