For the first year and a half I brewed about once a week on a classic, by-the-book fly sparging cooler system. I used a 70 Qt Coleman Xtreme cooler for my HLT, 10 Gallon Drink cooler for the mash tun, had kettle for heating things, and a pump for transferring the liquids. This method worked extremely well, but there were some downsides

  1. I rigged up a system to control mash temps and mash out, but it was not automated and frequently risked overheating the grain bed
  2. Full lauter and lengthy fly sparge took a lot of time
  3. Fly sparging took some monitoring to maintain even inflow and outflow

In hopes of shortening and simplifying brew day I moved to a batch sparge cooler (70 Qt Coleman Xtreme cooler) with a “brew in the bag” as my grain filter and have continued this method with no plans of stopping. Here is my current brew day:

  1. Prepare and heat mash water in kettle, once it is about 12 degrees above target mash temp, transfer to mash tun cooler using the pump
  2. Add grains to mash tun, mix thoroughly, and close lid on mash tun
  3. After 15 min has elapsed, take a sample to measure PH, measure temp of mash, and correct both temp and PH if necessary
  4. While mashing in the mash tun, prepare and heat sparge water in kettle to around 185 degrees F
  5. Once full mash time has elapsed, use the pump to transfer the sparge water from the kettle to the mash tun, stir to maintain a consistent temperature throughout, and shoot for a mash out temperature between 163 and 169 degrees F
  6. Recirculate the wort for 5-10 min using the pump pull the wort from the out-valve on the mash tun and run with another tube over the top of the mash
  7. Drain the wort from mash tun into the kettle using gravity
  8. Take a gravity and PH sample once full boil volume is in the kettle and begin boil
  9. Once boil time has elapsed, see whirlpool section if whirlpool hops are used, otherwise, cut the heat and add a copper immersion chiller directly to the kettle
    1. Connect kettle to pump in both the in and out valves and begin to whirlpool the wort using the pump
    2. My water in Austin, TX during the summer rarely gets below 85, so hose water temperatures do not cut it. To further chill the water an intermediate coil immersed in ice must be used to chill the wort down to pitching temps. The copper immersion chiller I use is built as follows: Hose > intermediate chilling coil > hose > immersion chiller > drain hose (see picture)
    3. I run hose water to get the water down to about 90 degrees F, then add ice to a bucket with the intermediate chilling coil to further cool the hose water running through the immersion chiller
  10. Once pitching temp is reached, remove immersion chiller, let the whirlpool run for an additional 5 min to pile break and hop material in the center of the kettle, and cut the pump after 5 min
  11. Let the kettle sit still for 10 min to allow break material to settle, then drain to fermentation vessel
  12. Aerate wort using an aeration stone and an O2 cylinder found at Home Depot/Lowes, and pitch yeast

Standard Whirlpool Hopping Method:

  1. Cut the heat, throw in the hops, connect kettle to pump in both the in and out valves and turn on pump to disperse the hop material throughout the wort
  2. After a couple of minutes, turn off the pump and let the hops steep (I turn off the whirlpool pump to maintain a higher wort whirlpool temperature)

Once 20 minutes has elapsed, continue with step 9 above and begin the chilling process

Close Menu