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Wort chilling

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  • Wort chilling

    Here it is, almost the end of February, and I haven't brewed since early December. Why? Because it's fricking cold here.

    I brew outside with a propane powered tower, and chill my wort with an immersion chiller attached to a garden hose. This weekend, I am going to finally brew and quit waiting for it to warm up. I am going to lug buckets of water from the basement outdoors, and when the wort is done boiling, I am just going to let it sit overnight with the lid on it to cool.

    I know conventional wisdom says to chill the wort as rapidly as possible, but I can't imagine there is much down side to letting 10 gallons of hot wort slowly cool with an ambient air temperature of around 0°F. Or is there? Anyhow, wish me luck.

  • #2
    I frequently throw wort in my chest freezer overnight to chill before pitching. Never had a problem with it.


    • #3
      I wonder if you might over chill it. Probably will have to bring it inside to warm up to pitching temps


      • #4
        A longer chill gives bugs a better chance of taking over, but I think a covered pot in 0F is lower risk than using a chiller.


        • #5
          The Aussies put the boiled wort into sealed cubes and let it cool overnight before pitching. Seems to work for them


          • #6
            From my reading hop forward beers can get more bitter from the increased cooling time. I’ve never tried it so YMMV.


            • #7
              Finally got my first brew session of 2018 in! It was funny to look at my auxillary propane burner sitting in 3 feet of snow.

              Spent the first hour chipping ice and snow away from my equipment.I heated my sparge water to 195°F, transferred to my Coleman Xtreme mash tun, and mashed in. 146°F! That cooler was cold!

              Garden hose was completely frozen so I did the overnight cool thing. Only difference I noticed was the trub that settled seem to have a far greater mass than usual. It plugged up my bazooka screen, leading to a slow rack.

              First beer of the year was a Bohemian pilsner. Aiming for an OG of 1.055, but I overshot and got 1.063! I believe that was due to collecting too much wort and then boiling to long. Since I was going to cool overnight, I had no reason to shop the boil early, I did a long simmer instead.

              Nick Fole's MVP Pilsner:

              OG 1.063, 10 gallons

              21 lbs. Avangard pilsner malt
              1 lb. Dingemann's Caramel 8

              Mashed at 146°F for 60 min, add boiling water and continue to mash at 152°F for 30 more min

              6 oz. Czech Kazbek hops FWH
              1.6 oz. Cluster boil
              2 oz. Saaz at knockout

              Used Czech lager yeast slurry from a Livingston MT brewery (thanks Macker!)

              First time using Kazbek hops. Description says they are like Saaz dialed up to 11! Looking forward to this one.


              • #8
                Brewing today, a nice sunny crisp spring day in the Chicago area. Brewing 5 gal of my Mega Mosaic using the Timmy T yeast. Really like that strain as you can tell. Added a small amount of dark crystal for color for this batch.

                Need to figure out what to brew next week. Probably an all Citra bitter.


                • #9
                  Nothing wrong with chilling overnight. Lose a lot of aroma, but that can be compensated. Also, having overshot your mark, there is nothing wrong with diluting the brew with cold water right at the end of boil (you can dump your aroma hops in just before giving the the "cold shower"). You get to your gravity (OG1048 would be a traditional pilsner), and you kick off the cold break. That long boil probably enhanced your hot break giving you the extra trub rather than the slow chill. You will lose a bit of hop extraction in those high gravity boils, but this will certainly give you a good jumping off point to your next brew should you do it the same.

                  Kazbek really does not taste at all like Saaz IMHO, and I use it sparingly and thus far only in darker beers. Another newcomer on the Czech hop scene is "Harmonie" which I can HIGHLY recommend for an unusual hop flavour. I believe it is hybridised from a Russian wild hop. It must be a poor yielder, as I have not been able to find it the last three years.

                  If some one does, I'd jump all over it if I was you.

                  Anyway, I sympathise with your cold weather brewing. You can go ice.skating in my brewhouse now. This winter just doesn't want to release its grip! Decided to go retro, and build a little stove top model to keep the ideas fueled.


                  • #10
                    oh yeah. Expressing the usual home brewer paranoia about infections, I used to wrap plastic wrap all around the lid and boiler when doing an overnighter. I was worried about "back suction" of air while cooling inviting infections.... don't do it anymore, and it has never been a problem (that I have noticed).


                    • #11
                      Sorry to hear of your "lack of praise" for Kazbek hops, Dr. Pivo. I hope I have different tastes than you. This website says they are primarily used for flavor and aroma additions.

                      I guess I will find out.
                      BSG CraftBrewing has a full range of Czech Hops related products, including Czech Saaz to help craft brewers create outstanding beers, with select brewery supplies.


                      • #12
                        Chumley! I meant by no means to bad-mouth Kazbek. I only wanted to warn you that you should not expect a Saaz taste from them.

                        "THERE CAN ONLY BE ONE SAAZ!!!" ..... yeh, I watched "The Highlander", too, even though I'm not a teenager nor was when it came out.

                        They are more citrusy in flavour. I am NOT saying I didn't like them, but learned from my first perhaps "overambitious" use of them, exactly what flavour contribution they give, and how I might want to use them in the future. They were in fact on my last (or next to last?) order list.

                        I'm sure you will discover the same thing about them.... what you like, or not like about them, and how you can add them to your brewing arsenal. A bit too much at first is a good thing! If you know how to brew, then you can isolate just that change when you taste it!

                        After all.... that's what we do. We are home brewers !

                        Sometimes we take it a little wide in the turns, to find the straight and narrow path later.

                        (wish some more of the micro-breweries would find that path.... I'm really not impressed by the over-hopped ad nauseum that the majority seem to practice...... makes me want to shout: "Remember balance?"


                        • #13
                          Balance? We don't need no stinkin' balance! Never had a fondness for Saaz myself. It's in the 80s here in AZ, so I feel for you guys in the frozen tundra, brew on.


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by HopHead View Post
                            Balance? We don't need no stinkin' balance! Never had a fondness for Saaz myself. It's in the 80s here in AZ, so I feel for you guys in the frozen tundra, brew on.
                            Balance is exactly what we need (to engender others, and spread the skills of centuries old craftsmen who have achieved just that)

                            HOWEVER! I really do appreciate the quote from "Treasures of the Sierra Madre". Truly classic film, and just that one character input line is "immortal".

                            The non-fondness for Saaz I can completely understand. Put it in the wrong beer and it might not fit. Saaz to me is "Grandpa's attic". it is musty in flavour, and hangs at the whole back of the throat in songs of remembrance .

                            Being at the back of the throat it even gives an olfactory stimulation even if they are not directly connected (the "musty" taste gets cross-wired with our ever present smelling for mould guard).

                            It is precisely that raw rough "cowboy- pioneer" flavour, with low alpha, that allows to use a lot of it. Using rich malts, with protein levels on the point of coagulation for body, and dactyl levels that hang around 3-4 ppm (PU snuck up into 6 ppm!).... well.... they won the world.

                            Now, the Czech breweries are invariably bought up and cosmopolitanized, the diacteyl has disappeared, the protein body modified away, and with that, the hopping rates that used to support that balance ; reduced.

                            They hare largely ghosts of their former selves..... but still one of the best damn beers in the world!

                            Happy about your warmth HopHead. Not very good lager brewing temperatures.

                            Hey! you could just dump a bunch of Cascade in there! Lager or Ale yeast? Temperature? Don't matter so much. Get enough of grapefruit in there and nobody can tell what happened underneath.


                            • #15
                              Dr. Pivo I took note of "the diacteyl has disappeared". When was the last time you drank beer in the Czech Republic? I know folks who have visited in the past couple of years and they have all remarked about the presence of diacetyl in the beers they drank (and often times too much for their enjoyment).