Tag Archives | wort chiller

How To Build a Wort Chiller

Wort chiller is a quick and easy project.My next tool in my home brewing arsenal is a wort chiller.  Since I’ve stepped up to a full wort boil, ice baths just won’t cut it anymore.  I need a way to cool down my wort quickly.  I could buy a commercial wort chiller, but a quick trip to the big box store will only cost you about $32.  The wort chiller is very easy to make.  Here’s what you need:

  • 20 ft. of 3/8″ OD Copper Coil
  • 10 ft. 3/8″ ID Vinyl Tubing
  • #4 Hose Clamp (2)
  • 3/4 FH x 3/8 Barb – Hose Barb Adapter (Female water hose connection)
  • Faucet to Garden Hose adapter (optional)

Find a form to wrap your coil around.Working with copper coil is tricky.  It kinks very easy.  Fortunately, the copper coil comes in a box already coiled.  This makes it much easier to coil around a round object without kinking it.  You’ll need to find a round form to wrap your coil around.  The form must be small enough so that it fits easily in your brew pot.  I used an old paint can for mine.

Wrap coil tightly around form.Put the form in the middle of the copper coil.  Starting from the bottom, hold the end and start pressing the coil against the form.  Twist the form as you work your way up.  You’ll end up with a nice tight coil around your form.

Nice tight fit without any kinks.From here, we need to bring each end up for the water inlet and outlet.  Many commercial wort chillers have the bottom edge going through the center of the coil.  You’re just asking for trouble trying to do this.  I found I got some really bad kinks, plus its difficult to work in that area.  Save yourself some headache, go on the outside.  It really doesn’t make any difference going through the center or the outside of the coil.

Bend coil's inlet/outlet to clear top of brewpot.I used a copper coil bending tool to make my bends.  I’d recommend using one.  Again, its really easy to kink the coil.  These tools equalize the pressure along the coil and make smooth bends.  I don’t think I used the tool I had very well as the bends aren’t as pretty as I had hoped, but at least it didn’t kink it.  Stretch the coil to form the chiller.Make sure the bottom is long enough to clear the top of your brew pot.  I also made a little s-hook on the end of the coil.  I mostly did this in case there’s a leak at the connection.  This  way water doesn’t drip into your brew pot.  Instead, it’ll run down the hose and safely away from your beer.  Lucky for me, the connection was very tight and didn’t have that problem.  Stretch out the coils a bit.  I used a small zip tie at the top to hold the inlet/outlet together.

Connect tubing to copper & secure with hose clamps.The hose connection couldn’t be easier.  First I cut the hose into 2 equal 5 foot sections.  Then, I slipped the 3/8″ tubing right over the end of the coil.  Then I used a a #4 hose clamp to really seal the deal.  The clamp makes a tight seal, and prevents the tube from coming off if the water pressure is too high.

The garden hose adapter was just as easy.  Just slip the tubing over the barbed end, and you’re done.  The barbed end makes a tight seal, so there’s no need for a hose clamp.  If you need the added versatility of connecting to a kitchen sink, you can buy a faucet-to-garden hose adapter for your faucet.

For the last 10 minutes of the boil, insert your wort chiller into the boiling wort.  This will sterilize the wort chiller.  When you’re ready to cool, hook up your garden hose to the wort chiller, turn on the water and watch the temperature drop!  I think my temps dropped to pitching temp within 15 minutes (we have cold ground water).  I couldn’t be happier with this DIY project.

Be sure to check out my buddy’s wort chiller project at Making Home Brew.  He also has very good instructions with lots of pictures.

Category: Home Brewing

Lawnmower Man Cream Ale

Lawnmower Man Cream AleFor this brew, I wanted a nice, light beer for the hot summer days ahead. ‘Course I probably jumped the gun by a month, but I was excited to brew a light session ale.

This batch will be a few firsts for me.  This will be the first time using my new turkey fryer setup to brew a full wort boil.  This will also be the first time brewing a full size Brew In A Bag (BIAB).  My previous ale (Freezer Burn Raspberry Ale) was a small batch, stove top BIAB.

This brew went without a hitch…for the most part.  I spilled a little grain while pouring it from the plastic bag.  Next time I’ll transfer it to a plastic bucket before adding it to the mash.  It will be much easier to control this way. I did have my first boil-over, though.  Kinda wished I was in the driveway instead of my garage.  But it was going to rain and I didn’t want to chance it.

My strike water was hotter than I thought.  Next time I’ll remove the cover, stir, and check temp the closer I get to my target.  So my mash was at 154°F instead of the target 150°F.  Oh well.  The Sacch rest went really well.  I covered up the pot with an old blanket and it only dropped 1 degree over the hour.

I’m thrilled with my new wort chiller.  I built it while the mash was resting.  It cooled my wort down in 15 minutes (we have cold ground water).  I wish I had built one earlier.

BeerTools Pro Color GraphicLawnmower Man
Style: 6-A Cream Ale
Type: All Grain – Brew In A Bag
Batch: #6
Size: 5.0 gal
Calories:140.64 kcal per 12.0 fl oz

Original Gravity: 1.042 (1.042 – 1.055)


Terminal Gravity: 1.011 (1.006 – 1.012)


Color: 7.42 (3.0 – 5.0)


Alcohol: 4.16% (4.2% – 5.6%)


Bitterness: 15.4 (15.0 – 20.0)



  • 7 lb Standard 2-Row
  • .75 lb Honey Malt
  • .25 lb Belgian Biscuit
  • 1.25 oz Liberty (3.3%) – added during boil, boiled 60 min
  • 1 ea Fermentis US-05 Safale US-05


  • 00:03:00 MashLiquor: 5.72 gal; Strike: 155.37 °F; Target: 150 °F
  • 01:03:00 RestRest: 60 min; Final: 150.0 °F


  • Based on All Grain Cream Ale by Norther Brewer (Substituted 1oz of Cluster for 1.25 of Liberty)
  • I poured the grain from a plastic bag and spilled about 1/4-1/13c of grains on the floor.  Uggg.
  • My target mash temp was 150.0 °F.  Unfortunately the strike water was hotter than I expected and the final mash temp turned out to be 154°F.
  • Fermenting was hot for the first 12hrs (72 degrees).  I removed the heating pad and let the ambient temp of 64°F balance it out.  I shouldn’t have put the heat pad on the fermentor.  Old habits from wintertime, I guess.
  • Spent 1 week in primary.  Racked it to 2nd on 5-8-2011.  2 weeks in 2nd.
  • Bottled on 5/22/2011 with 3/4c priming sugar.
  • Final gravity was 1.014 (target was 1.011) which marks at 3.66% ABV.  This is actually good because I wanted lower alcohol.  Not sure why I missed my mark, though.  Probably due to a higher mashing temp creating more unfermentables.  I tried changing mash temp in Beer Tools, but it didn’t alter my expected gravity.
  • Tasted the beer when bottling.  It tasted amazing.  Can’t wait to try it cold and carbonated.  😀
Category: Home Brewing