Sunday, 16 June 2013

Homebrewing - Ghetto Wort Chiller and Quick Update

So after not updating for weeks on end due to exams, I've found some time to write up another post. A lot's been going on with our brews the last couple weeks, bubbling away behind the scenes. 

First off, we had the first batch of ciders... Which were a total disaster. Neither fermented at all, we think due to the cold temperature they were at. So we went and built the water bath, and the latest batch tastes awesome, and is currently being dry hopped, hopefully to be ready in the next couple of weeks.

Next up, the IPA and Belgian dubbel are both bottled now, after a whole lot of worry that our dry hopping had contaminated the IPA, it seems the fears were unfounded. The IPA should be good to drink in a few weeks, but the dubbel probably needs another couple of months. We also did some fancy additions to the dubbel in a couple of demijohns, although we'll keep those on the DL for now.

It is a mystery

However, our latest project was a SMaSH brew, designed by Melo to use some whole cone Nelson Sauvin Hops we'd recently come into posession of. 

Mmmmm Whole Cone Hops

But wait, you might say, what's that bizarre orange thing sitting in the beer? That, my friends, is our latest contraption in a series of brewing related equipment; a ghetto as wort chiller.

Wort chillers are a coiled piece of copper tubing that you pump cold water through and submerge in your beer to cool it down quickly. Commercial quality wort chillers are expensive as though, and we wanted a slightly cheaper option...

Melo the professional pipe-bender

A trip to bunnings later, we came away with a coil of copper piping, and some malleable plastic tubing to connect to the hose. With that built, we set out to brew our beer as always, however this had a very simple pale malt base, and was designed to focus on the hop flavours and aromas, without becoming a hop bomb like our IPA

Nothing but pale malts
Four additions of Whole Cone Hops, slightly crushed
Once the brew was done, we set up our standard ice bath for chilling the wort, but we also set up the worth chiller for a test run. Turns out it works FAR better than the ice bath, cooling our wort in about 1/5th the time the ice bath normally takes on it's own, and cooling it so fast that the ice didn't even have time to all melt.

Pictured: Science in action
So we came away from this brew with a new piece of equipment, some new knowledge of how to use and strain whole-cone hops, and a new brew bubbling away in the fermenter, to be ready in a couple of weeks!

Might not update again for another week or so, I have an exam on Thursday so I'll be busy until at least then studying, then a bit longer celebrating!

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