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No Chill Brewing?

So No Chill simply means Boil and Place in my plastic fermentation vessel seal it air tight and let it sit over night and pitch the next day? If its 2 gallons of wort do I just put 2 gallons of wort and wait and add the other 3 gallons of cool water the next day along with the yeast or do I add the 2 gallons or wort and 3 gallons of cool water at the same time and wait to add the yeast the next day. Will this make the beer clear? or Hazy?

You probably can do both scenarios and get reasonable beer. However if you add 3 gallons of cold water to your hot wort, the temperature is going to drop substantially, getting close to - not quite - pitching temperatures.
As far as I understand there are advantages to quickly cooling the wort after the boil, both for the taste, but also to limit the risk of infections.

I would generally advise against putting hot wort into plastic. Heat increases leaching from the plastic. If you gotta cool before before dumping, just go all the way.

In an episode of Good Eats, Alton Brown put ice in his plastic bucket, and dumped the wort on top, to get chilling and top-off in one step. I’ve just been doing the pot in a sink full of ice water method to get the wort pitch-able in under an hour.

My rule of thumb is that you want the brew pot open while the wort is still steamy to let some of the nasty-tasting products out. Once it stops steaming, cover it to keep airborne contaminants out.

I see the various no-chill techniques as the answer to, “Oh carp! I forgot to buy a bag of ice! Now what do I do?” Rather than a process to seek out. That said, oceans of beer have been brewed over the centuries before the invention of ice makers. Just don’t think of no-chill as plan A.

Look over the Australian boards for their take. Water is a scarce things down under and using it to chill wort is very low on the priority list.

As stated, you can do either. True “no-chill” involves full batch all grain, so the whole volume is boiled and then no-chilled in the sealed food grade cube. But whatever works for you, just be smart about it. There is a lot of bad/false information and myths about no-chill out there, and this info is usually touted by people who haven’t even tried it themselves. I used to use a chiller, but I’ve been doing no-chill for over two years because I actually get the same, if not better results than I did with my chiller.

The 3 most common myths that usually scare people off, and what I’ve learned from actual experience:

HAZE: No chill does not result in hazy beer. Most people that haven’t tried no-chill will say that it results in hazy beer, because you’re not getting a cold break without the chiller. What I’ve learned is that cold break is temperature dependent, not time dependent. So all the cold break solids will precipitate over night as the wort cools. You can improve clarity by then transferring the cooled wort off the trub into a different fermenter before pitching the yeast, but I’ve had no problems with clarity even with leaving the break material behind; See here:

INFECTION: If you do it right, there’s actually a lower chance of infection with no-chill. True no-chill involves transferring the scalding hot wort to a air-tight container, and then sealing it immediately to pasteurize. If memory serves, pasteurization occurs somewhere around 160F. Obviously you still want to sanitize your fermenter, but even if you forget to, your beer is actually pasteurizing it for you. Contrast this to using a chiller, where once you drop the wort temp below 160F you have contamination risk during remaining chilling and all transfers; and if you forget to sanitize something your beer is hosed. Granted, if you’re stupid about it, yes; no-chill can increase infection risk. Some people say they no-chill, but what they’re really doing is leaving the wort in the boil kettle over night to cool, and then transfer. Remember, true no-chill requires the sealed container and pasteurization.

HOP UTILIZATION: This is the one that has the most truth to it, but even so it’s not really a big deal. The idea is that without rapid chilling you don’t halt hop isomerization, therefore you increase bitterness and lose out on aroma hops. There’s a lot better discussions and descriptions on the HBT forum if you’re interested in the process. Some people have tried an adjusted hop schedule which you can find on those forums. I’ve tried both ways, and I actually prefer not adjusting the hop schedule. I pull the hop sock at flameout right before the transfer, so by removing the hops I’m halting some the the process. Granted, the residual oils are still in there, but the effect seems negligible. The aroma hops do suffer a little; but even so, buy sealing the container immediately you’re trapping some of the aroma in there. When I do an IPA I will dry hop instead of doing a 5 minute addition, which seems to work very well.

Having said all that (whew!) I don’t like heat on plastic, so I’ve started fermenting in corny kegs. I transfer the hot wort into the corny, seal it, and gently turn it a couple of times to make sure all surfaces and the lid get pasteurized. The next day I pop the lid and pitch the yeast, then reseal. I also ferment under pressure, but if you’re not down with that you would just install a blowoff tube through a gas QD.

Sorry for the ridiculously long post, but hopefully it’s helpful!


Clifford, definitely a great post. That’s how we learn :slight_smile: Very interesting that you ferment in the Corney keg…I’ve never heard of that. Was just thinking about the guys who use the stainless steel conical type fermentors. You could transfer hot wort to that directly from the boil kettle without cooling. I’d be interested to hear how those with a SS conical fermentor do it? After watching the video on this website they have me sold…I see one in my future.

I’ve done no-chill by running the HOT wort into two corny kegs, pressurizing them to ensure the pressure drop that results from cooling doesn’t suck the lid open, then dropping them into my keezer overnight. The next morning I run the wort into my fermenter, ozygenate, and pitch. Works great. I did it initially because I forgot to buy ice, but it may become standard practice.

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