How to use a Wort Chiller to Cool Homebrew

beer and hops

Immersion wort chillers are the most cost efficient answer to chilling wort. These are simple heat exchangers consisting of a copper coil with a cold water inlet and a hot water outlet. When there are 30 minutes left in the boiling time, the wort chiller is thoroughly cleaned and immersed into the boiling wort.

At the end of the boil the inlet hose is attached to a cold water supply and the cold water is run through the copper coil. Heat is transferred from the wort and expelled through the outlet hose. The wort temperature change is fast which aids in the development of cold-break. (Tip: the hot water run-out is great for cleaning up).

Our 25' Dual Coil Chiller was designed built and tested by us. The design provides a single length of 3/8" copper twisted into two cooling coils. The inner coil extracts heat from the center of brew pot while the outer coil cools the area around the inside wall. This eliminates the need for stirring during heat extraction and keeps the brew pot closed. Rigid coil construction protects these units from crimping. It comes complete with 30" inlet hose and standard hose fitting, 30" outlet hose.

Adjusting the Chiller to your Brew Pot

This wort chiller has been manufactured with the coils close together to reduce the size for shipping. You should adjust the spacing of the coils to suit the depth of your brew pot. Start with the bottom of the inside coil and carefully stretch the coils apart for one complete circle. Now stretch the outside coil in the same way. Repeat the process until the chiller sits firmly in the bottom of the pot and the in-let and out-let hoses are outside of the pot rim.

How to Use Leeners Dual Coil Wort Chiller

Prepare your wort chiller for use as soon as you start the brewing process. Rinse the chiller with hot water and remove any loose dirt. A light scrubbing with a soft cloth will remove any heavy soils. Never use copper, brass or stainless steel scrubbers to clean the chiller. They will scratch the copper coils and provide hiding places for bacteria. Rinse the chiller again with hot water.

Make a solution of one-half cup white vinegar and five gallons of cold water. Place the chiller into the solution and to soak until it’s time to place it in the brew pot. The vinegar solution will cause the copper coils to oxidize and finish the cleaning process.

When there are 30 minutes left in the brewing schedule rinse the chiller with hot water two or three times. Be sure to wash away all of the vinegar solution. Place the rinsed chiller directly into the brew pot. Position the inlet and outlet hoses away from the heat source. The chiller must be boiled for at least 25 minutes. This will sterilize the coil and allow a trace of copper to be imparted to the wort. Trace cooper is an important yeast nutrient.

At the end of the boil cover the brew pot tightly with aluminum foil. Move the pot closer to the sink if necessary. Make sure that the outlet hose (no fitting on the end) is placed securely to the sink drain. The water exiting the wort chiller will be boiling hot. Make sure it is discharged safely. It may spit and sputter at first.

Connect the inlet hose to the cold water source and turn on the water. It is not necessary to flush water through the chiller. A slower steady flow is best. The water exiting the chiller should be hot. If the exit water is cold, the flow is to fast. The object of the chiller is to extract heat from the pot and the water must flow just fast enough to carry the heat away.

The wort which is in contact with the copper coil will chill quickly. When the exit water becomes cool (about 5 minutes) simply move the chiller inside the brew pot to change the location of the coils. Hold the chiller by the hoses and turn the brew pot half way around. Use pot holders to protect your hands. The wort should be cooled within 30 minutes depending on your brew pots volume.

Chilling wort quickly will cause solids (proteins, hops, etc.) to precipitate out of the wort. This solid matter is called trub. To avoid transferring the trub to the primary fermenter you can slowly remove the chiller and then gently pour the wort directly into the fermenter keeping the majority of the trub in the pot. Pouring the wort through a sieve will also help. A better method is to siphon the wort from the brew pot to the fermenter. A racking cane can be inserted between the chiller and the wall of the pot. First, place the bottom of the racking cane about half way into the pot. As the level of the wort drops, slowly move the cane deeper into the pot. This will avoid the trub. Don't worry about some trub getting through. It’s beneficial to the yeast. The cooling water should be left on to provide additional cooling as the wort is pulled between the coils and into the siphon. Be sure to allow the wort to splash into the fermenter and pick up oxygen.

Repeat the cleaning process and store your dry wort chiller inside your brew pot until the next brew day.

homebrewed beer with malted grains and hop flowers

Home Beer Brewing

Brewing beer is an American Tradition.