A wort chiller is an essential element of brewing beer. It allows the brew to cool quickly after boiling to prevent the onslaught of bacteria. If this is not done, beer either becomes contaminated or fails to ferment properly. However, you have to be careful to use wort chillers in Eugene, OR correctly, or you may compromise the quality of your beer. Here are four tips on using wort chillers:
- Choose the right type: You have three options for wort chillers. All types cool beer by running cold water through pipe mechanisms. Immersion wort chillers are the most popular with home brewers because they are easy to use. Made of copper, they merely need to be hooked to a water source and submerged in beer, as the coils cool the beer through circulating water. Counterflow wort chillers cool quickly, but require a pump and more space to operate. Cold plate worts require less room and also cool quickly. They are popular in breweries, but they’re also your most expensive option. If in doubt, choose an immersion chiller. You can always upgrade later when you expand your brewing skills.
- Swirl the wort: This technique is used with immersion wort coolers, and you will have to wear heat-resistant gloves. Even though the copper coils are full of cool water, the copper will absorb the heat, and you risk burns if you do not protect your hands. When you submerge the immersion wort chiller in the beer, swirl it around like you are stirring a stew. This works great in areas where ground water is warmer than usual. If that is the case, you may wish to submerge the wort chiller in an ice bath first to speed the cooling process.
- Use an ice bath: Another option to help your wort chiller is to place the beer kettle in an ice bath. While there are brewers who use just an ice bath without a wort chiller, this is not nearly as effective as combining the two. If you wish to speed up cooling, it will likely help you brew higher-quality beer. If you try this, be careful not to allow the wort chiller to come in contact with the ice. That risks bringing contaminants into the beer.
- Maintain your equipment: The biggest challenge for home brewers especially is keeping equipment clean. Failing to remove dirt or debris from the previous beer batch can contaminate your future brews. Your wort chiller and any tubing associated with it must be cleaned thoroughly with mild detergent when you are done using it. Otherwise, you will defeat the purpose of controlling bacteria by introducing new strains into your next beer batch. As a further precaution, also clean your wort chiller before each use, as you do not know what it was exposed to while in storage.
American Refrigeration Inc. offers essential equipment and services for the brewery industry. Contact us today to learn about your refrigeration options after you successfully use your wort chiller in Eugene, OR.