What I’m going to talk about today is nothing new to a homebrewer. We all know that we have to cool our wort down pretty fast after the boil to avoid any off-flavors or having it infected (it’s never fun using that word) with some bacteria. I know for many of you this means using a cooling bath or ice-bath (and there’s nothing wrong with that). I know I’ve tried an ice-water bath (not adding it to the boil), setting the boil pot on cold concrete then surrounding it with ice and finally an wort chiller or wort cooler.Well there is one more option…
Now since one of my brew buddies bought a Blichmann Therminator I can use it when we brew together saving me some time, headache and money. Now hold on, what is this Blichman Thermawhatever you ask? Well in Charlie Papazian’s words…“Relax. Don’t Worry. Have a Homebrew. “ because it’s just a stainless steel plate-type wort chiller, basically a miniature version of the plate chillers that the pros use. Norther Brewer says: “It is, unquestionably, the fastest way to chill your wort to yeast pitching temperature. The Therminator can chill 10 gallons of boiling wort to pitching temperature within 5 minutes when using 58°F cooling water at 5 gpm.” (and it does)….so if you have the money ($199.99 @ Northern Brewer) this outstanding piece of equipment is yours! But for the rest of us that are on a limited budget we have to settle for an immersion chiller. By the way if you click on the highlighted links, they will take you to the corresponding page.
Step 1- Put the wort chiller into the boil with 10-15 min remaining. And no you don’t have to sterilize it….well only if you want to. Why? Well the heat of the boil which should be around 212 deg F will sterilize the chiller. Now granted if your wort chiller is… well green or has things growing on it, I will suggest cleaning it and then sterilizing it before putting it into your boil pot.
Step 2- Connect one side of the chiller to your faucet or garden hose.
Step 3- Make sure the other end is connected to a hose that will be long enough to do into a drain such as a sink, your lawn (in case you don’t want to waste water which is always a good idea) or I have even heard of some more eco-friendly brewer‘s using it in their washing machines. Yes the water coming out that end really is that hot.
Step 4- Turn on the faucet/spigot and then watch the temperature drop in your boil pot. Your target temperature is going to be below 80 deg F, but check your yeast to make sure you are within the range stated on the instructions for maximum fermentation. I do suggest getting an industrial grade thermometer that you can put into your brew pot if you don’t already have one. I’m planning on installing one onto my brew pot, but another option would be to get one that clips on to the side.
And there you have it! It’s that simple……Oh sorry I almost forgot the most important part! How to make your own wort chiller. Ok side note here…the following video was produced and recorded by two close friends that are newly converted homebrewer’s.
Here is a list of the parts used:
50 ft. coil of copper tubing 3/8″ diameter
coil of 3/8″ diameter plastic tubing
2- 3/8″ stainless steel hose clamps
1- 3/8″ to 3/4″ barb to hose connector
1- tube bending tool
2- 3/4″ stainless steel hose clamps
2- 3/8″ to 7/8″ stainless steel hose clamps (#6)
1- cornelius (corney or soda) keg
Thanks to Dan and Mike for their hard work. As always if you have any questions or comments to help me improve my blog, please leave a comment. Until my next post Brew on!