After the wort has been boiling in the copper it’s necessary to cool the wort as quick as possible, If wort is cooled slowly it’s very susceptible to oxidation damage and contamination.
Rapid cooling also forms something called the cold break, I’m not going to go into details about what happens when this occurs but suffice to say if the cold break doesn’t occur the beer will likely be more hazy and may go stale sooner.
There are several methods of cooling wort which can be done at home, including.
- Placing the container with wort in an ice bath or cold water to cool the wort.
- Using an immersion chiller, this is a piece of equipment which is basically a coiled piece of pipe. The chiller is then placed within the hot wort and cold water is pumped through the coiled pipe. The heat from the hot wort then exchanges with the coolness of the cold water and brings the temperature of the wort down.
- A counterflow chiller, This is a more complex piece of equipment where a piece of pipe is placed within another piece of pipe and coiled round. Cold water is pumped through the pipe from the bottom to the top of the coil where it goes down the drain. And in the opposite direction to this the wort flows down the smaller internal pipe from the top to the bottom. The length of the coiled pipes must be long enough to ensure that by the time the wort has got to the end of the pipe it is cool.
I constructed my wort cooler thanks to the plans from a different home brewers website at
I liked this design because it meant that I could leave it permanently connected to my brewery and would be easy to clean, Simply by sending hot water or sterilant through the chiller after brewing.
I did have fun trying to push the internal copper pipe through the hosepipe which you can see in the pictures, In the end I managed to do it by straightening out all the hosepipe and copper pipe all the way down my garden. Pushing the small bore copper pipe through the hosepipe and then coiling it up around a bucket.
The resultant piece of equipment works amazingly well and can easily bring the temperature of the wort down from 95 down to 15 degrees c in the time it takes for the wort to flow from top to bottom.
After the wort is cooled it flows directly into a demijohn which is what I ferment the wort in.
The wort when it arrived in the demijohn is at the correct temperature to allow fermentation to start, So I can straight away add the yeast and place the demijohn into my fermentation enclosure.