I wrestle with balancing authenticity and technology in my home brewing. Sanitizers, clarifying agents, wort chillers … I somehow doubt ancient brewers concerned themselves with the “cold break” to draw out particulate matter for clarifying their beer. In an effort not only to simplify my brew day, but also with the pleasant bonus of authenticity, I decided to skip the oft-preached step of chilling the wort in an ice bath or any attempt at rapidly cooling it.
For my most recent batch of beer, I simply let it sit overnight in a lidded kettle on the stovetop and cool slowly to room temperature. I got this idea from a casual comment on the BeerSmith podcast. After a little googling, I quickly happened upon this blog post on Brewer’s Friend: Australian NO CHILL Brewing Technique TESTED. Not wanting to bother purchasing yet another large plastic container, I was pleased to see some discussion in the blog post’s comments of letting the wort chill in the kettle.
After about a day (didn’t need that long; that’s just when I got around to it), I added the hydrated yeast to the kettle, poured the wort into a carboy, and topped with room temperature filtered water (a partial mash extract batch).
After a day, the beer was speaking pleasantly (ancient metaphor for fermenting nicely). Inspired by our ancient Mesopotamian predecessors, I simply had to take straw to beer for a taste test.