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Brewing Great Beer with an Immersion Wort Chiller

Updated on December 30, 2010

What is Wort?

The three key ingredients of beer are malt, hops and yeast. The beginning of the home brewing process is boiling grains or malt and hops in water to create the wort, a sweet liquid that will be used to feed yeast. The wort is boiled for about 30 minutes before the yeast is added, or pitched.

Pitching Yeast- the Ideal Conditions

Pitching yeast is the most important step in the home brewing process. The yeast will consume and digest the sugars in the wort, turning them into alcohol. Without them, you will have no beer! It's important to make sure that you are introducing them into a comfortable environment where they can reproduce and munch on sugars comfortably.

Yeast cannot live in an environment that is too hot. They like temperatures below 80 degrees Fahrenheit. However, they need some warmth! They will be sluggish and inactive in temperatures that are too cold. It's important to closely monitor and control the temperature of your wort to ensure that the yeast have a "happy medium" in which to live.

Immersion Wort Chillers and other Equipment

For a beginning brewer who is making small batches (5 gallons), an immersion wort chiller is the best choice. These can be purchased from home brewing suppliers or Amazon, or can also be made at home fairly easily. These consist of copper and vinyl tubing with some clamps and a female hose adapter. The chiller is placed inside the brewing pot and cold water flows through the tubes, chilling the wort without exposing it to oxygen or impurities in the water.

Other types of wort chillers available include the counterflow wort chillerĀ or the plate chiller. These are a little more complex and expensive, and may be better for brewers who are brewing larger batches of beer. These both work by reversing flows of wort and cool water that flow through tubes in opposite directions. The plate chiller resembles those used by commercial brewers.


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