Monday, I bought a wort chiller. The simple copper tubing that is placed into a brew kettle, using water from the tap, you cool wort down from boiling temperature to a temp suitable for yeast pitching much faster than alternative methods. Last summer, when I started brewing, I did the ice-bath method but I also had a very large deep sink back then and an insane ice maker so it would cool the wort below 100 F in about 25 minutes. When winter hit, I started cooling wort outside by putting the kettle on top of snow banks and it would melt through them and this worked very well but cooling took about an hour.
One thing that kept me from making the purchase was not having the right connections. My cabin and the new house don’t have outdoor water hose hookups…yes, it’s insane. Inside, the kitchen was a retractable nozzle without the garden hose hookup required for the wort chiller. After a trip to home depot, I found that my bathroom sink has a piece that can be removed and, with an adapter, I can now hookup the wort chiller (garden hose) to the sink. Thank goodness.
On Monday night, I brewed a Kern River Double Citra clone with the addition of some tangerine juice / zest and, following flameout, hooked up the wort chiller. It took only 10 minutes for the wort to drop to 100 and an additional 5 minutes to get to 80F.
I’m really happy with how fast things chilled and it simplified the brew day quite a bit. I think overall, things are pretty setup now at home where I can brew almost anything I want and get it boiled, fermenting and into the keg quite easily. There are a few purchases that I’d like to make in 2013.
- Three-Tier System so I can have sparge water heated and utilize a pump for sparging. It’ll make things easier and I can use gas instead of propane so heating things up will be much easier.
- Larger brew-kettle…my current 7 gallon kettle is tight when I’m doing full boil brews. I have to kill the propane to my kettle with every single hop addition which takes time and a bit more stress
- A keezer w/ temperature controller. I’d like a place to do lagering as well as overall control over fermentation temps. This can also be used to keep carbonated kegs at serving temperature. Summer time means more parties at my place and, when a keg kicks, I have nothing to replace it with since all kegs in the cellar are around 60F which means at least 24 hours before I can serve them. Keezer can also be used to cold crash beers before kegging.
- Additional CO2 regulator to carbonate kegs in the keezer.
- Possibly an additional kegerator. I have 4 beers on tap now….but I almost always need more taps. The GF likes to have Root Beer or Cream Soda on tap as well as a Saison or Hefeweizen so that’s 2-3 taps right there. Then I have 2 IPAs and then something bigger like a stout or barley wine for myself so now we’re at 6 taps. I have 4 beers on tap now with 3 in kegs and 4 fermenting and I get bugged daily by Elizabeth to make more root beer which I currently don’t have any room for so it’s certainly something that would be nice (an additional 4 beers on tap) but another fridge, hoses, shanks, faucets, CO2 tank, regulator, it’s a lot of work so probably won’t happen this year.
It would be really nice to get a couple of 10 gallon conical fermenters but I think that’s an entirely other level of brewing where that would require I do some electric temp controls, better brew kettles w/ temp gauges as well as a commercial sink for cleaning things. So overall, stainless fancy stuff is probably going to wait a while or at least until i’m a homeowner.