While my method doesn’t require extra stuff, it’s certainly compatible with it. Like a manufactured home, upgrade according to your taste and budget. For most brewers, a wort chiller is a required piece of equipment. It quickly gets the unfermented beer cold enough to add yeast, thus reducing the risk of infection and moving on with the process. But, since they are expensive and not absolutely necessary for brewing good beer, I never took the plunge. From the beginning, I chilled in my bathtub, which works just fine, although it’s not the cleanest environment in the world. Recently, after getting a fermentation fridge that gets really cold, I decided to stop chilling altogether, using a no chill method: simply throw the hot unfermented beer in the fridge for 18 hours and then add the yeast. This also seems to work just fine. But, especially with an old fridge, it takes a while. The main drawback with no chill, however, is hoppy beers. IPAs can come out too bitter. For me, that’s a problem because I make a lot of them.
Enter wort chiller.
So I borrowed my friend’s wort chiller, just to experiment with yet another method for chilling: the partial chill method. If you’re a rabid fan of brulosophy.com like me, you might be familiar with how it works. Basically, you chill the beer to 100F, or 80F, or whatever temp you want (depending on the season), and then you let it finish chilling in the fermentation chamber. After trying it on my latest two batches, I really like this idea. It sounds more complex than it really is. It’s fast, convenient, and consistent with quality brewing practices. I adds only about 7 minutes to the brewday, and cleaning literally takes a minute.
Yesterday, for example, I brewed a Belgian Golden Strong Ale in exactly 1 hour, 31 minutes, while my 2 year old son was taking a nap. 30 minute mash, 25 minute boil, chilled for about 7 minutes or so, had the fermentation chamber set to -10C, and let the beer finish chilling for a few hours in the fermentation chamber before pitching the yeast. That’s what I love about One Pot Brewing: at the drop of a hat, providing you have ingredients on hand, you can simply brew a beer and get on with your day.