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
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
Pouring The Beer Into
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
#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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