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An Examination of Chilling in Brewing: A Comparative Analysis
Brewing requires a careful combination of art and science, precision and intuition. Crucial among this process is the cooling or chilling stage, which can greatly influence the final product. Today, we will explore chilling in detail; comparing the immersion chiller that comes with your Brisilla to a 50 foot half-inch immersion chiller, counter flow Kegland chiller, and a 50-foot 3/8-inch chiller.
Our cooling experiment involved chilling one batch at a time, ensuring equal conditions across all test cases. We will measure the chilling time and compare the efficiency of each system on a value-for-money basis. Our main goal is to figure out whether spending more money on a high-end chiller provides a noticeable increase in chilling efficiency.
The Counter Flow Chiller
The counter flow Kegland chiller was first in line. During the cooling process, it is essential to ensure that the circulating water remains cold. Interestingly, the output of the chiller at this point recorded drastically lower temperatures compared to the pre-chiller measurements. This difference highlights one of the counter flow chiller’s significant advantages: high-level cooling efficiency.
While the desired chilling temperature was about 66 to 68 Fahrenheit, the output recorded was in the low 70s within two minutes. The efficiency and speed of this chiller were surprising, achieving a steady temperature of 68 Fahrenheit in just under four minutes. The only downside is that cleaning isn’t as straightforward as with immersion chillers.
The Brisilla Immersion Chiller
Next, we tested the chiller that comes with the Brusilla unit. A system of coolant water and a recirculating arm was used to ensure optimal performance. The full process took about 9 minutes and 20 seconds, almost more than twice the time taken by the counterflow chiller.
The 50-Foot Half Inch Immersion Chiller
The 50-foot half-inch immersion chiller was then put to the test. This chiller managed to bring the temperature down to about 61 Fahrenheit in just under five minutes. This model is known for its efficiency and ease of cleaning, making it a popular choice for many brewers. Disadvantage includes higher costs compared to other immersion chillers.
The 50-Foot 3/8 Inch Immersion Chiller
Lastly, we tested the 50 foot 3/8 inch immersion chiller which showed a performance quite similar to its half inch counterpart but cooled at a slower rate, achieving the desired temperature in around 6.5 minutes.
Conclusion and Takeaways
When comparing the efficiency rates, the counter-flow chiller was the fastest among the four. However, the type of chiller you choose will depend on your specific circumstances and needs. Those who prioritize speed above all else may prefer the counter-flow chiller, while those who want an easy-to-clean solution may look towards immersion chillers.
It’s also important to remember that our tests were conducted with water, which may not behave exactly like wort during the chilling process. Also, ground water temperature can greatly influence the chilling results. The cooler it is initially, the faster the chill.
Experimenting with different cooling systems and considering the specificities of your brewing location and infrastructure will ultimately guide you towards the most convenient and efficient choice. Knowing your options and understanding how each one works will allow you to choose the one that best fits your brewing style. So now it’s your turn brewers, what do you use for chilling and how does it fare with your brews? Let us know in the comments below and happy brewing!