01 July 2005

Cooling Wort

As summer continues to heat up in the Texas Hill Country, cooling the wort gets more and more difficult. My brewing partner has a well and the water is reasonably cold, but by the time we run it through the immersion wort chiller we can only get it down to about 85F. So I've been thinking about chilling wort.

I have one immersion wort chiller, a coil of copper I immerse in the hot wort and run cold water through. I suppose I could buy another one, put it in a bucket of ice water and then run it through the chiller in the wort. There a diagram on this page.

But what about ice? I'm a fan of Good Eats, starring Alton Brown. On one show, "Amber Waves," he demonstrated homebrewing. His recipe called for 4 gallons plus 1 pint of bottled spring water, and a 7 lb. bag of ice. Here are the directions for cooling the wort directly from the recipe:

. . .put the last gallon and 1 pint of water as well as the bag of ice into the fermenter and fit the top with the colander and mesh strainer. Strain the mash into the fementer and allow to cool to 80 degrees before pitching the yeast. Once the mash is cooled to 80 degrees it is now safe to add the yeast. . .

Several homebrewing experts, including Annapolis Homebrew, How to Brew, and Brew Organic, say this is a bad idea, because the ice might contain some bacteria that will spoil the beer. None of them say it defintely will spoil the beer, but that it might.

Over at Brew Talk, folks are on both sides of the issue. It sounds like a litte experiment is in order.

posted by hiikeeba at 18:01


Blogger Bill said...

I made a wort chiller with a long tube of copper and attached it to a garden hose. I was able to cool off five gallons of wort in three minutes. Do you use a garden hose? Maybe my water is colder?

10:39 AM  
Blogger hiikeeba said...

What I failed to mention is that our brewing spot is 100 yards or so from the faucet, and runs across open ground the entire distance. What I think is happening is that the water is heating up as it runs through the hose.

While an undeground water line is in the works, it hasn't been finished yet.

7:10 PM  

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