If you’re a beer brewer you know the deal: you’ve got to chill your wort but the two popular methods waste a ton of water. Let’s look at why this step can’t be skipped and then a few ethical options to put that water to good use.
Why Chill Your Wort?
Wort chilling is one of my least favorite parts of the homebrewing process. It’s messy (water can get everywhere) and it’s wasteful. But it’s necessary.
Dimethyl Sulphide is present in all beer but the boil calms it down. The compound is naturally occurring in malts but more pronounced when the malt is stored in damp conditions. If the boil gets rid of it, why does it matter? Because it can come back. And when does it come back? When your boil stops. Crashing your wort to fermentation temp as quickly as possible is the best way to avoid the lovely flavors that come with DMS:
- canned veggies
- tomato soup
- creamed corn
Both Ways Of Chilling Wort Waste Tons Of Water
Whether an ice bath or wort chiller is your method of choice, you’re looking at waste water. An ice bath uses ice and water surrounding your kettle and is slow, increasing the risk for DMS to rear it’s gross head. Using a wort chiller, where you run water through it is quicker but again, wasteful.
So what’s an ethical brewer to do when you can’t risk NOT crashing your wort but you don’t want to waste a ton of water? Recycle! Here’s a list of ways to reuse that water instead of just letting it go down the drain.
How To Reuse Chilling Water
- Run the hose into your washing machine
- Collect the water in jugs and use it for watering plants/gardens
- Boil the water and use it to brew
- Use the water to make liquid laundry detergent
- You can also make liquid hand soap
- And if you want to clean your bathroom in a green way, make some bathroom cleaner
- Make glass cleaner (this post is fantastic)
- I fear I’m getting obnoxious but… you can also make carpet cleaner
- Don’t forget to clean your jewelry
- Run the house into a large barrel outside and use it to clean your car.
- Fill your power washer and give the outside of your house a good cleaning.
A Note For Non Beer Brewers
You don’t have to worry about this since mead, cider and wine making don’t require a fast crash but feel free to share with your beer brewing friends so that they can think about how to be more ethical in their brewing.