In my previous post on how to improve the quality of your homebrew, I was giving you the best ways to get better results when making beer at home. Here is another important step to understand and you will brew significantly cleaner, more professional tasting beer.
You can use this technique regardless of the equipment you own. You can whirlpool with a simple kettle and a spoon, or you can whirlpool with a brew pump and many different configurations of arms connected to your kettle in a more or less sophisticated way.
What is whirlpooling?
Whirlpooling consists of stirring your wort at the end of the boil consistently in one direction to create a circular motion in the liquid. As a result, the trub and hop pellets will collect at the bottom of the kettle, forming a cone. This process may be achieved with a pump, recirculating the wort below the surface.
The benefits of Whirlpooling
Faster chilling – By agitating the hot wort around an immersion chiller will greatly improve the chilling process and reduce the cooling time.
Cleaner wort – A clean wort will produce a cleaner beer by eliminating both the hot break and cold break contributing to a hazy appearance. If you use Irish moss or Whirlfloc, you will coagulate your cold break, and leaving most of it out of the fermenter will be easier.
Less risk of DMS – Especially when brewing with paler malt, the longer you wait to chill your wort, the greater the risk of getting
Keeping aromatic components of hops – Bringing down the temperature of the wort rapidly will allow for an infusion of hops below 180F before fermentation, without extracting the Alpha Acids responsible for bittering the beer. What you will get are fresher, more aromatic hoppy aromas and flavors.
How to whirlpool
Whirlpooling by hand with an Immersion Chiller
Using an immersion chiller, the easiest method to whirlpool is to use a spoon. Just stir consistently in one direction in a circular motion, and let the wort rest for about 15 minutes.
Method: Chilling before Whirlpooling
Since you do not want to oxidize your wort, as oxygen will bind with hot wort – resulting in potential stale beer, it’s a good idea to chill your wort first and to remove your immersion chiller, then spin the wort to create a good whirlpool. It is easier to stir properly without the chiller in the kettle anyway.
You can also get brewing paddles to be used with a power drill, to do the job effortlessly. Some paddles will both whirlpool and aerate chilled wort. As opposed to hot wort, chilled wort needs to be aerated, which won’t result in oxidation, on the contrary, it will be a beneficial addition, as yeast needs oxygen to work and grow properly.
Whirlpooling with a hot pump
With a pump you won’t have to stir manually. All the job is done for you. A brew pump is a pump that can work at high temperatures is a great tool for your home brewery. You will need a kettle with a faucet.
You may either use an arm over the rim of your kettle, or have 2 ports, one – the outlet, connected to the pump, the other – the inlet feeding the wort, pumped back into the wort.
Method: Whirlpooling while chilling the wort
Using a pump along with an immersion chiller with an arm will cool the wort and whirlpool at the same time in the kettle.
If you use a plate or counter flow chiller, it will do the same job, except that the wort will be cooled outside of the kettle.
Whirlpooling is another step in your brew day, but it is well worth it.
The apprearance, aromas and flavors of your beer will be greatly enhanced.
What system are you using to whirlpool you? Please let a comment.
Cheers and to your health,