Best Wort Chillers for Swift Cooling [2019]

Most homebrewers tend to spend the bulk of their time and efforts in monitoring the temperatures. Most check to see if the boil is on target and if they are hitting the right mash temperatures. In as much as perfect temperatures are needed for the perfect brews, it is also imperative to dedicate some time and effort on the wort. The wort chilling is just as important as the temperature, and if ignored, you may fail to get the kind of quality you may have anticipated for your homebrew.

For successful fermentation, it is imperative to cool your worst as efficiently as possible before you go ahead to pitch the yeast. A few years ago, the chilling process featured slow and messy ice baths or dilutions which were never guaranteed to give great results. But this has since changed with the introduction of modern and efficient wort chillers and irrespective of the kind of beer you are brewing, or your budget, a simple search online will reveal to you a variety of wort coolers you can use to get exceptional results for your home brewing.

In homebrewing, the faster you chill your wort, the better the results. When the chilling process is slow, the wort becomes susceptible to yeast and bacteria attacks which will ultimately end eroding the quality of the overall product. Additionally, when the wort spends a lot of time in the “lukewarm” zone, there are increased chances for the production of dimethyl sulfide – a chemical compound that may make the beer have an objectionable canned-corn taste, and this will not be palatable to the tongue. By using a wort chiller, however, all these two problems can be avoided, and you can be guaranteed of having the wort chilled faster to gift you with a perfect brew at the end of the process.

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Things to consider when buying a wort chiller

There are a number of factors worth considering when you venture out to buy a wort chiller. This is how you will ensure that you get the right kind of chiller that will guarantee you the best results in your home brewing process. If you are out shopping for a woot cooler, consider the following-:

The material of the chiller 

With most of the chillers, there is always some aspect of heat exchange taking place, and this is why the material used in making the chiller matters a lot. Not every material have the same rate of heat conduction, and this implies that the wort chillers are not going to have the same rate of heat exchange.

The preferred materials for the chillers, especially for the tubing is usually copper. It is possible to find chillers made from other materials such as steel, but just know that you may not get very good results compared to using copper chillers. 

The type of chillers that best suits your needs

All three types of chillers will get the job done, but you may find that one type will suit your needs and personality more than the rest. For example, immersion chillers are simple to use and easy to clean, but they take a long time to get the wort chilled.

Counter-flow chillers, on the other hand, are very efficient and can get the wort chilled in a very short time, but cleaning it is very difficult, and it has the potential of getting clogged, thus delaying the process. Therefore, take time to evaluate the pros and cons of each, and choose on the one that you feel best suits your needs. 

Buy from the top and trusted brands

When it comes to buying a wort chiller, it is very important to consider where you get your chiller from. This is because the brand will have a direct impact on the quality of the chiller, and this will ultimately have an impact on the quality of your brew.

Ideally, it is recommended that you should stick to the top brand knowns to produce quality chillers. Additionally, it is important that you read reviews left by past purchasers on the specific models you are interested in so that you can know what to expect owning the wort chiller. 

Compare prices online

Before you settle for a particular brand or model of a wort cooler, take your time and compare prices from different vendors or manufacturers online. This is to save you from spending a lot of money unnecessarily when you had a chance to get it a more comfortable rate from other places.

However, you should never let the price be your only guiding factor. Always remember that you will ultimately get what you paid for.


Types of Wort Chillers

There are three basic types of wort chillers in the market today. It is important for every homebrewer to have a good understanding of each so that you can make an informed choice when making your purchase decision so that you be hopeful of great results. They include the followings -

Immersion chillers

Immersion chillers are amongst some of the most cost-effective ways of rapid wort cooling. They are affordable, and normally seen as an easy upgrade from the ice baths. Immersion chillers feature long lengths of copper coils with a couple of hoses on each end. Its operation is also simple since all that is required is for you to attach one end of the coil to a cold water tap and the other end be placed in a bucket where the water will be drained.

Other than the affordability and simplicity in operations, immersion chillers can also be constructed at home, provided that you can have access to long copper coils. As such, it is an effective way to achieve faster wort chilling without breaking the bank. They are also easy to clean, and this will enhance the cleanliness of your home brewery.

However, these chillers use a lot of water, and they are also not as fast or as efficient as other types of chillers.

Counter-flow Chillers

Counter-flow chillers have the same operating principle as immersion chillers, only that it is the wort that runs through a copper pipe which is being cooled from the outside. A common set up used by home brewers with this kind of wort cooler is to run a copper pipe through a garden hose.

These chillers are known to have a great cooling effect, and they also make it possible for the wort to run directly from the boiler right through to the fermenter, where they will reach when they are cool enough and ready for pitching. If you are brewing larger batches, then you will find the counter-flow chillers to be extremely effective.

The downsides of these chillers, however, include the need to deal with two sets of connectors – one for the water and the other one for the wort. There are also potential clogging problems because the walls move through the interior of the coils and there are chances, and the flow may stop, compelling you to clear the clogs before you continue with the process. Finally, cleaning these types of chillers is also not easy. 

Plate wort chillers

Plate wort chillers work in the same way as car radiators. They are fitted with copper lines, where water is made to flow in the opposite direction as that of the wort. While water and wort flow in the opposite directions, heat exchange takes place through the plates.

One of the admirable attributes of this chiller is that the cooling effect is achieved so quickly and it is also possible to reach the fermentation temperatures with just the first try. The major downside, on the other hand, is that a hot break may be experienced in the fermenter. Though this may not be catastrophic to the home brewing process, and recovery is always possible.

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