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JohnS
12-20-2011, 12:53 AM
I was wondering why is it when making mead most everyone uses cold water to reduce the heat and why is a wort chiller never mentioned?

Visa versa with beer. Does anyone on this forum think it would be possible or favorable to use cold water to reduce the temperature of the wort? Is the differences really so big? If wort chillers work so well how come they are not used in cooling the must?

thinking about brewing I wonder what would happen if I did the oppisite. meaning if I used cold water in a beer batch or using a wort chiller with must. Probably in the case with must is the chiller would get a bit sticky. That would be the only reason for not using it in a must, However word does get sticky also.

YogiBearMead726
12-20-2011, 01:21 AM
If I understand your question correctly, you want to know why a wort chiller isn't ever mentioned in mead making and why cold water couldn't be substituted for a wort chiller in beer brewing?

Well, first part first. Typically, a wort chiller isn't necessary for mead making since most people opt for the "no heat" method. Basically, this means starting with cold/room temp water and mixing the honey into that. So, in this case, a wort chiller is unnecessary. If, however, you opt to boil or heat the honey/must, then by all means a wort chiller would work brilliantly to cool the must to yeast friendly temperatures.

To answer your second part of the question, personally, I have used ice to cool down a beer wort after boil. It worked ok, but was very lacking compared to using a wort chiller (ie, not as fast). The other downside is that it's harder to sanitize cold water than a wort chiller (IMHO), which leaves your beer vulnerable to infection. I should mention the beer I cooled with ice on was a Belgian beer, so infection was low on my things to worry about...in fact, I wouldn't have minded if it was infected at all. I looooove sour beer, but that's just me. ;)

JSquared
12-20-2011, 01:41 AM
for both beer and mead I don't use a wort chiller. I'm low(er) tech here (and broke) so I use filtered ice to cool my wort/must down. Been working fine so far IMO. ;D

akueck
12-20-2011, 11:54 AM
Most mead recipes that specify heating or boiling the honey do so with only a portion of the water. The idea I guess is that water is clean but honey needs to be heated? [As mentioned, a lot of us don't bother with the heating.] Thus you end up with half or more of the water added after heating, so you might as well use it to cool down the must. Furthermore, many "with heat" recipes only call for temperatures around 140-160 F, and here you stand a chance of getting it cool enough just by mixing with cold water. Going from boiling to pitching temp by mixing alone is impractical.

Many beer recipes specify boiling the whole amount of liquid, so there you wouldn't have any more water to add and a chiller of some sort is needed. [All all-grain recipes boil the entire liquid.] I have seen partial-boil beer recipes that say to add the hot wort to cold water to make up the volume, thus cooling the wort. Usually you'll need to cool it more anyway, since you start from boiling, so a chiller is still nice to have.

tweak'e
12-20-2011, 06:12 PM
as mentioned, mead is not all that hot to start with. it doesn't take all that long to cool down to yeast pitching temp.
the risk of another yeast getting going is a lot less with mead. also the yeasts typically used with mead dominate any wild yeast fairly quickly.

some of the batches of mead i have brewing at the moment have had no cleaning, no sterilizing, no campen, dirty honey, lots of dirty hands in the must and it just keeps on fermenting. it actually tasted ok, not that i would want to drink it !

Braxton
12-20-2011, 06:28 PM
There are a couple of beer-specific reasons to cool your wort down using a wort chiller or ice bath. One is hot-side aeration, which occurs when oxygen (found in water or air) comes into contact with Melanoidin compounds. This creates precursors to oxidative or stale flavors. Melanoidin compounds are common in many malts, I'm guessing they are not so abundant in honey, even if it has been boiled.

Secondly, I seem to recall from Noonan's New Lager Brewing book that combining water with hot wort will result in the formation of tannin compounds. Usually all tannins are undesirable in beer, but I suppose it might not be so bad in mead, since it is more wine-like and they are an important part of many wines.

That said, I've added cold water to hot beer to cool it down before, and it seemed to turn out fine. So it may be a slightly nitpicky thing.

Almost all extract brewers do a partial boil, cool the wort down, and then combine the wort with cold water to bring it down to the desired strength. This seems to work well and doesn't result in a higher rate of infections, as far as I can tell. So I think it is fairly safe, just as the no boil method is considered safe in mead-making.

Medsen Fey
12-21-2011, 07:17 PM
When I make beer/braggot I use a wort chiller. I find it works reasonably well, and then I'm certain about my gravity as I just measure it in the boiling pot and thus I don't have to do any calculations (I'm lazy that way). Since I don't really heat any other meads, there is nothing to cool down. When I make a bochet, where I cook the honey, I'll use a chiller.

lauent
06-29-2012, 05:36 AM
When I make beer/braggot I use a wort chiller. I find it works reasonably well, and then I'm certain about my gravity as I just measure it in the boiling pot and thus I don't have to do any calculations (I'm lazy that way). Since I don't really heat any other meads, there is nothing to cool down. When I make a bochet, where I cook the honey, I'll use a chiller.

How much did your wort chiller cost? I am currently looking for a new chiller because mine broke a couple of weeks ago and I had to switch to using a rental chiller (http://us.aggreko.com/products-services/rental-cooling-and-heating/chiller-rentals/) until I find a new relatively cheap one. I can't make beer if I do not have a chiller and I would really like to have my own again so I am wondering about yours - 'it works reasonably well' actually sounds pretty good to me.

hepcat
06-29-2012, 05:15 PM
My LHBS sells them for $70. But I could make one myself for ~$50 but haven't needed one yet.

Soulpanda
06-30-2012, 03:32 PM
I do partial-extract beer and use a wort chiller and use cool water. I haven't had any problems yet. I think as long as you chill fast enough to get the cold break your are fine. I know before my wort chiller I used the cold tap in the bathtub and that worked fine, it just took a little longer and I had to literally baby it.

akueck
06-30-2012, 04:45 PM
Getting a good cold break is nice for when you want to bottle clear beer very quickly (we're talking less than a week or so). Otherwise...not so important. If you're like me (i.e. lazy) and don't bottle for a couple weeks, you shouldn't really notice the difference between a quick cool and a slow cool. Homebrewers in Australia don't actively cool at all (to conserve water) and the results are fine.