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Wort Chiller - Is it really necessary?

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Drunkula

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There's also the aspect of reducing DMS if you cool quickly.
 

foxy

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There's also the aspect of reducing DMS if you cool quickly.
I think that is more an American perspective, a good vigorous boil of pale malt will reduce the DMS, the longer the boil the better. I would say around 50% or more over here 'no chill' without any adverse effects.
 

Pennine

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I have tried a few no chill batches and recognized quite early that it's a more laid back brewing style that can make good beer. However it seemed harder to dial in my recipes and to achieve what I was trying to get especially with hoppy beers. So I think chilling gives you a bit more control over the process and will let dial in specific characteristics that are more difficult to achieve with no chill. Especially with beers that have heavy hopstand additions.

Also I think you can make good hoppy beers with it, it's just more trial and error.
 

Cwrw666

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What does convivial involve?
Alcohol of course. 3 pints of my own Cascade pale ale and unfortunately a pint of Boss Black which if I'd brewed it myself would have gone straight down the sink along with the rest of the batch.
 

JT_Brews

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I switched to no-chill a few months ago and haven't noticed any quality change in the beer, but then I'm not a very good brewer to begin with :). I disliked the water wastage and as I have 2 kids and little time the flexibility of postponing the transferring and pitching to the next day when I could fit it in is a big help.

I use an electric kettle and just cover it with cling-film and leave it. I have 100% witnessed hot-side oxidation so I think this is a best way. Now we're into winter it cools down very quickly overnight, in summer it was taking longer so I might do more of a hybrid approach next year.

If I do a hopstand I either come back in an hour or 2 when the temperature is 80/70 or I just use a chiller to get it there fast then do the rest as no-chill. If I make a NEIPA I would do normal chilling.
 

Joust

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Do you run cold water through the pipe submerged in the wort, or hot wort through the pipe submerged in ice water?

I kind of feel like running wort through ice would be more efficient. Kind of like a Herms, right?

Also less clearing. Maybe.
 

Binkei Huckaback

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I don't really know anything about the Australian no-chill method, but would imagine they know what they're talking about with their cubes.

However, I would have thought that just leaving your wort to cool overnight is asking for trouble. Yes, lots of people report doing it with no problems, but how much of that us luck? You could drive down your street blindfolded 100 times and nothing untoward happen because you know it so well, but then one day the bin men are late and you hit the dust cart.

I've never really noticed chilling taking a particularly long time (I live in England) and have always used the time to clean up and most of the time keep the water for cleaning equipment or watering the garden. If saving time is what you're worried about, try mashing one day and boiling the next. Even in a really winter it means you can still brew outside.

If cost is important to you and you're thinking of buying something like a Grainfather which comes with a chiller, you can always sell a chiller you make or buy now and recoup some of your outlay.
 

the baron

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You can still control whirlpool hopstands with no chill just do them in the boil kettle before transferring to the FV/Cube as normal as always make sure the FV/Cube is sterilised. I have never suffered any issues with my wort in all the times I have done this and see no need to cool my wort ( never had any DMS) which with modern modified malts is questionable that it is present.
P.s I do not leave my hops in the FV/Cube so have full control still of the hop isomerisation which some no chillers have done in the past but they used to do this so they could pour red hot wort into the Cube to sterilise the cube which I do not do as I transfer after the normal hopping processes have been completed. Just make sure you have a good cleaning/sterilisation method.
I also do not do chilling as my wife used to give me some about water wastage and killing the world!!!
Its not down to luck its down to a good process
 

DocAnna

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So my tuppence worth for the plethora of views already here:

Yes no chill is certainly possible, many people will attest to brewing effectively without it and rarely if ever having problems.​
DMS in passively cooled beer will be higher, that's been evidenced and is inevitable. Whether it will reach taste threshold when using highly modified malts is going to depend on the ingredients used, length of and vigour of brew, and duration of cooling.​
The risk of bacterial contamination is inevitably higher. Sweet fresh wort is a near ideal culture medium for micro-organisms, that is sort of the point of making it since it's good for growing yeast in. It's also great for growing bacteria. There are always some bacteria in the environment and 100% sterility outside of a lab environment is going to be impossible. Whether the bacterial growth will ultimately outpace the yeast after pitching is going to depend on lots of issues including air exposure, sanitation of items in contact, multiple handling of the wort, oxygen, OG, time, temperature and other environmental factors. This is an undeniable risk and it's a lottery each time if the beer will spoil.​
Chilling fast does not eliminate the bacterial contamination and spoilage by any manner or means, it does though reduce the risk, bacteria thrive at a higher temperature than yeast which makes the race to colonise the wort advantageous to the yeast if your wort is cool.​
Chilling doesn't require the ground water to be cold, put two chillers in series, one in an old FV filled with water and a whole big chunk of ice or ice pack. I've just started doing this and it cooled the wort through two immersion chillers deliciously quickly - no I didn't time it sorry.​
Hot side oxidation does happen, it's another risk, yes it can be minimised by cubing and eliminating oxygen, but it's an undeniable risk.​
Time. Active chilling will reduce the handling time and you can get on with other things. I clean up my kit while the chiller is running which I'd have to do anyway so it's a win win.​

So each to their own. Personally if I'm going to invest my time (and money) on ingredients and a day brewing, the last thing I'm on for is messing up a beer because I didn't chill it quickly enough. It's risk mitigation not elimination but then again so is wearing a seatbelt, getting a flu vaccine, wearing a face covering, not standing near cliff edges and making sure chicken is cooked through!

Anna
 
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The-Engineer-That-Brews

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Do you run cold water through the pipe submerged in the wort, or hot wort through the pipe submerged in ice water?

I kind of feel like running wort through ice would be more efficient. Kind of like a Herms, right?

Also less clearing. Maybe.
Both the same in that scenario by the end of the run; result depends only on the temperature difference between the two fluids and the rate of flow.
A counterflow chiller gives you a quicker result than either though :-)
 

PerthRod

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I was having a problem with my brews (Belgian style in particular for some reason) developing a "chill haze".

I was advised to try using a wort chiller. Made one from some copper microbore from Wickes and it worked !!

I can get a brew from boiling to pitching temperature in around 10-15 minutes.
 

The-Engineer-That-Brews

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I was advised to try using a wort chiller. Made one from some copper microbore from Wickes and it worked !!
Yep that's the stuff: can't go wrong for £17 for 10m of 8mm tubing (also Screwfix is the same price IIRC). Easiest way to connect to it is a bit of silicone hose stretched over, with a couple of zip-ties if you're feeling ambitious ;-)

Wickes Microbore Copper Pipe - 8mm x 10m | Wickes.co.uk

1603185107444.png
 

Pezza24

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Just one question regards these chillers. I've knocked one up out of some old 10mm I had but it's dirty. I've cleaned as best I can and it's a bit more sparkly but are people sterilising or boiling off the home made chillers before first use?
 

Hanglow

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Usual practice is to make sure it's cleaned after the last brew, then sanitise it using the hot wort before the boil is finished - either by placing the coil in the wort if an immersion chiller or pumping hot worth through a counterflow chiller. Mine looks like an old copper coin now, a dull copper.

If it's your first time using it then I'd clean it using hot water and sodium perbcarbonate .
 

The-Engineer-That-Brews

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From http://howtobrew.com/book/appendices/appendix-b/brewing-metallurgy

"For routine cleaning of copper and other metals, percarbonate-based cleaners like PBW are the best choice. For heavily oxidized conditions, acetic acid is very effective, especially when hot. Acetic acid is available in grocery stores as white distilled vinegar at a standard concentration of 5% acetic acid by volume.

Brewers who use immersion wort chillers are always surprised how bright and shiny the chiller is the first time it comes out of the wort. If the chiller wasn't bright and shiny when it went into the wort, guess where the grime and oxides ended up? Yep, in your beer. The oxides of copper are more readily dissolved by the mildly acidic wort than is the copper itself. By cleaning copper tubing with acetic acid once before the first use and rinsing with water immediately after each use, the copper will remain clean with no oxide or wort deposits that could harbor bacteria. Cleaning copper with vinegar should only occasionally be necessary.

You do not need to clean copper shiny-bright after every use. With time, the copper should take on a dull copper color, not black, not green or blue, just dull, like an old penny. This copper oxide is relatively inert to wort and will mimimize copper dissolving into the wort, more so than shiny-bright copper.

The best sanitizer for counterflow wort chillers is Star San. It is acidic and can be used to clean copper as well as sanitize. Sanitizing with Star San only takes minutes and should not be left in the chiller more than an hour, because it will start dissolving the copper.

Cleaning and sanitizing copper with bleach solutions is not recommended. The chlorine and hypochlorites in bleach cause oxidation and blackening of copper and brass. If the oxides come in contact with the mildly acidic wort, the oxides will quickly dissolve, possibly exposing yeast to unhealthy levels of copper during fermentation."
 

samale

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So my tuppence worth for the plethora of views already here:

Yes no chill is certainly possible, many people will attest to brewing effectively without it and rarely if ever having problems.​
DMS in passively cooled beer will be higher, that's been evidenced and is inevitable. Whether it will reach taste threshold when using highly modified malts is going to depend on the ingredients used, length of and vigour of brew, and duration of cooling.​
The risk of bacterial contamination is inevitably higher. Sweet fresh wort is a near ideal culture medium for micro-organisms, that is sort of the point of making it since it's good for growing yeast in. It's also great for growing bacteria. There are always some bacteria in the environment and 100% sterility outside of a lab environment is going to be impossible. Whether the bacterial growth will ultimately outpace the yeast after pitching is going to depend on lots of issues including air exposure, sanitation of items in contact, multiple handling of the wort, oxygen, OG, time, temperature and other environmental factors. This is an undeniable risk and it's a lottery each time if the beer will spoil.​
Chilling fast does not eliminate the bacterial contamination and spoilage by any manner or means, it does though reduce the risk, bacteria thrive at a higher temperature than yeast which makes the race to colonise the wort advantages to the yeast if your wort is cool.​
Chilling doesn't require the ground water to be cold, put two chillers in series, one in an old FV filled with water and a whole big chunk of ice or ice pack. I've just started doing this and it cooled the wort through two immersion chillers deliciously quickly - no I didn't time it sorry.​
Hot side oxidation does happen, it's another risk, yes it can be minimised by cubing and eliminating oxygen, but it's an undeniable risk.​
Time. Active chilling will reduce the handling time and you can get on with other things. I clean up my kit while the chiller is running which I'd have to do anyway so it's a win win.​

So each to their own. Personally if I'm going to invest my time (and money) on ingredients and a day brewing, the last thing I'm on for is messing up a beer because I didn't chill it quickly enough. It's risk mitigation not elimination but then again so is wearing a seatbelt, getting a flu vaccine, wearing a face covering, not standing near cliff edges and making sure chicken is cooked through!

Anna
As always it's each to their own. I am always up for a beer swap with you so called chiller's 😉
Our if you really want to push your OCD to the limit. I have a no boil no chill oat meal stout for you to try. 😀😀😀
 

PhilBrew

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Hi Anna

Mostly, your review higher up in the thread is a sensible summary of the pros and cons of no chilling ... increased risk of DME breaching taste thresholds, increased risk of continued alpha-acid isomerisation from late hop additions changing flavour profile, reduced brewer involvement time vs reduced equipment and running costs, flexibility to split brewday (brew in advance, pitch later) ... but this bit is just wrong :?: ...
The risk of bacterial contamination is inevitably higher.
... that's not at all inevitable ... and the cans of food that are almost definitely in your kitchen cupboards are testament to how bacterial contamination can actually be reduced, using some of the techniques that no-chillers might use. You've recognised that the HSA problem may shift from the pro to the con side of the argument dependant on whether no chillers use a cube, but failed to recognise the pasteurisation principles at play when no-chilling in a cube and the impacts that can have shifting "inevitable" cons into possible pros :?:

Like Baron says ...
Its not down to luck its down to a good process
Cheers, PhilB
 

HarryFlatters

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I've been doing no chill for about a year now, and I really like it. I don't have running water or drainage in my garage where I brew, so the logistics of running hoses from the utility room to the kettle and back again are a bit too much to overcome.

I'm not that concerned with bacterial or wild yeast contamination as I transfer my wort at about 85degC, which is hot enough to sanitise my already StarSan'd cooling cube. A splashy transfer from cube to fermenter is my method of aeriation, not that dry yeast really needs that much. DMS? No idea what it tastes like so I don't know if I have it in my beer. My family and friends seem to like what I make, so I guess it's ok :confused.:
 

Worf

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I was gifted a copper chiller when i started 10 yrs ago and used it every batch. However, while living in California, the tap water was was too warm to help much, so i stopped. With the exception of clarity problems and having to move indoors (A/C) during the summer, i had no problems.
Now living in the Arizona desert, the ground water is early cool enough for any purpose. This week's batch saw me bottling filtered water & storing it indoors for the after-cook add, but still had to set it off in the airlocked FV overnight. If i had a choice, is go back to using the chiller.
(This week, I also tried adding the hot wort to the cooled water, but expect severe clarity issues because of it.).
 
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