How to Make a Wort Chiller

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A wort chiller is an essential part of the beer home brewing process. It's used to rapidly cool the beer mixture, or wort, so that yeast can be added more quickly to reduce the possibility of bacteria spoiling the beer. Cold water is run through a coil that's placed in the wort. One end of the coil is attached to a cold water source and the other end drains the water. Copper is most commonly used for the coil because it's a good heat transmitter, is readily available and is easy to use.

Things You'll Need

  • 25 feet of 3/8-inch diameter copper tubing
  • Garden hose
  • 2 hose clamps
  • Faucet adapter
  • Coil the copper tubing either by hand or by winding it around a 2-pound coffee can or other item of similar shape and size. Leave between 18 and 24 inches uncoiled on one end. The coil must be tight enough to leave at least 2 inches between the coil and the sides of the brewing container.

  • Make a 90 degree bend at the shorter end of the coil. Bend the other end of the coil so the tube points back toward the other end of the coil, and then bend the end of it away from the coil to make a U shape.

  • Cut two 5-foot lengths of garden hose, and slide a clamp over each cut end. Clamp a length of hose to each end of the coil and tighten the clamps. Leave the threaded ends of the hose intact.

  • Sanitize the wort chiller by boiling it in the brewing container for 20 minutes.

  • Unscrew the end of your kitchen faucet to expose the threads. If this isn't possible, purchase an adapter that will allow you to attach the threaded end of a hose to the faucet.

  • Test the chiller by boiling water in your brewing container. Attach the coil to the cold water faucet on your sink with one end of the hose. Put the hose at the other end of the coil in the sink. Run cold water through the chiller and check for leaks. Keep a thermometer in the wort to make sure the chiller cools quickly enough.

Tips & Warnings

  • Five gallons of wort should cool to below 80 degrees in less than 20 minutes.
  • Make sure you leave enough tubing at the ends of the coil so that they aren't immersed in the brewing container.
  • Use something to hold the end of the hose in the sink so that it doesn't splash around.
  • Use longer or shorter lengths of hose depending on how near a cold water source you'll be working.

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References

  • Photo Credit Brew it Yourself
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