Testing the new wort chiller

For the boy’s birthday last month (the big 3-0!) I got him a fun new toy to add to our brewing equipment – a wort chiller! We were super excited to try it out, so last weekend we tried it out with a clone brew of Lagunitas IPA; recipe to come once we’ve tasted it. But for now I wanted to share with you the awesomeness that is the wort chiller. I ended up getting this one from Home Brew Stuff and am pretty happy with it so far. They do make bigger ones for people with bigger pots, but this is pretty perfect for a 6 gallon pot which is what we have.

wort chiller

So for those of you who are wondering what the hey this weird coil of metal is for, here’s the down low on wort chillers. When you make beer, you have your wort at a boil, but you’re good friends  (yeast) who are going to turn all that sugar into alcohol for you do not like the heat. So you want to cool the wort from boiling to room temperature as quickly as possible. This can be done with an ice bath in the sink, which we’ve done until now, or this fancy contraption. How it works is that you attach it to the hose, cold water runs through it and out the other end which you rest in the sink, and presto the wort gets cooled off! I timed it, from boiling to 70F took 14 minutes. I am pretty happy with that! That was for about 3.5-4 gallons, which is what was left after some boils off while you make the beer. I wish I could give an exact time on how long it took to cool with the ice bath, but I hadn’t thought about this so didn’t time it. I’d say it was at least 45 minutes to an hour. I can tell you that the first time we did it, our friends went home before it was cooled because it was taking so long. And last time we cleaned the whole office while it cooled. So I’d say it was a worthwhile investment. Plus we’ve been buying ice since it takes a lot to cool it, so it will pay for itself in the long run. If you are brewing without a wort chiller, go get one! Maybe this fun outdoor burner will be next, so we can brew outside 😉

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~~~ An Epic Canning Challenge and a Book Review ~~~ The Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving

The Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving is a book that every canner should have in their collection. I don’t know why it has taken me this long to give you a review of it since it’s basically the first book you should refer to when you decide, “I want to can today!” But first – the epic canning challenge! When I started canning with my friend Kiki, we joked that we should challenge ourselves to can everything in Ball, a.k.a. my canning bible. Alas, something was holding us back… and it’s name was marmalade… chutney….and a few other preserves. The chapter on soft spreads has some downright weird sounding recipes in it. However, last week we conquered two marmalades (recipes coming soon) and I’ve decided, the challenge is on. We are going to can EVERY recipe in the book! This could take a while, but I’m in it for the long haul. Bring it on Ball!!


So let’s talk about the book for a minute. It’s not called the “complete” for nothing. This book has 400 recipes in a broad range of categories, and has TESTED and TRUSTED recipes. This should be the book you check when you read a recipe elsewhere that doesn’t sound quite right. Remember, anyone can write a canning book or blog, but Ball’s recipes are ones that you know you can trust. They have lots of nice tips in the columns also, and a good section on getting started.


In the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving you will find everything from jams and marmalade, salsas and chutney, to pressure canned soups and stocks, condiments and pickles. So get this book now, canning season is just around the corner and it’s currently only like $13 on amazon. It is definitely worth that! So get it and follow along as I can and blog my way through the entire book!


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