Friday, January 7, 2011

Tips for the Time Constrained Brewer: Part 1

Being a stay at home Father, running a business and taking care of a 2 year old and a 5 year old while my wife is away in Iraq, really doesn't leave me much time to brew beer. So I've come up with a few different ways to cut back on the amount of time it takes to brew beer.

The first method is what I call the No Chill method. It's very simple and can cut out at least a half hour of your time from brew day. And it's a technique that I've been doing for more than a year. The No Chill method is adding the hot wort to your fermenting bucket (being careful not to splash too much) and then adding your cold water to it to top it up to 5 gallons, snapping on the lid and leaving it sit over night to chill down and then in the morning pitching your yeast.

One good thing about this method is that if you don't practice sanitation, then usually the wort gets chilled down to about 160 degrees and that's the temperature for pasteurization. Now I'm not saying that pasteurization kills all bad bugs, because it doesn't but it does kill enough of them to prevent infection of the wort.

A lot of literature out there recommends that you chill as fast as possible and then pitch your yeast. That is an option, however, if you're looking at shaving off some time to your brew day, give the No Chill method a try. You may not get the cold break you normally get when you do a fast chill, but I've found that that doesn't matter because once you bottle and keg, the cold break drops out anyway. If anyone has more questions please feel free to leave them in the comment area.


Homebrew Junkie


Daniel said...

Do you put an airlock on the lid when you cool it overnight? I'd have thought the cooling will suck air in through the hole or airlock. Maybe that's ok...

Homebrew Junkie said...

I put an airlock with some sanitizer in it when it's cooling. Give it a shot!

Zhaosheng said...

I have been looking for ways to reduce brewing time. Extract has already saved me tons but the cooling part is really an ass. This is a great tip.

I would like to add that the yeast used has to be a more heat tolerant one since the pitching temperature is going to be pretty high. That can produce esters which may or may not be suitable for all styles. I don't mind esters though but fusel alcohols give sensitive drinkers a bad headache.

timtoo said...

Hi, I have been doing this "no chill" method for years now and can strongly recommend it. In fact, I have never chilled my beer since I started 16 years ago. I leave the lid on loose to stop dust settling in and to stop the cat sniffing around. I have never used an airlock either. Once the wort is cool (yes, I dip my finger in to make sure it is cool enough), I pitch the yeast. Sometimes I make up the yeast with warm water and sugar, or with wort and warm water, and at other times I just spread the dried yeast on top and let it settle in and start working. On about three occasions (out of 94 grews) the yeast has failed to start, so I just poured in another packet and that worked just fine. Just found this site - love it!

Anonymous said...

Did this once and got an E. Hermannii infection. Not cool. Some bugs like to grow on the way down and just because your cooling to 160° doesn't mean your killing the bacteria you introduce with the water.
You can leave behind the really strong ones that are hard to kill.