Twelves hours prior I created a yeast starter using a bit of dried malt extract, water, yeast nutrients, and the yeast. This gives the yeast a “head start” for fermentation. I’d like to give a shout out to our good friend Lauren for the stir plate and Erlenmeyer flask. You rock. While not essential but tremendously beneficial, the stir plate helps provide oxygen to the yeast and drive off CO2.
Here’s the freshly crushed malt ready to begin the mashing process.
The challenge I wanted to really overcome from my previous brews was chilling the wort. Enter the wort chiller. This version is immersible. Basically, it’s 25 feet of copper tubing placed in the kettle through which chilled water is pumped carrying heat away from the wort. There are a few other ways to chill the wort but this system provides the biggest bang for the buck in terms of money and maintenance. What use to take me 3 hours using just ice baths was done in 40 minutes!
I found the wort chiller on eBay (new, hoses and fittings included) for $40 and a submersible pump at Harbor Freight for $25.
To further improve this method, another system can be added to simultaneously pump wort from the bottom of the kettle and return it through a small, crimped piece of copper tubing that would create a whirlpool effect inside the kettle – circulating the wort around the chiller. This however would require a food-grade, high temperature pump; something for which I am not yet willing to shell out the bucks. And it may not be that much more efficient given I’m brewing a small batch (2.5 gallons).