Cooling & Transferring Wort

Cooling the Wort

Cooling the Wort

After the brewing has been completed, the wort needs to be cooled quickly. The rapid cooling helps coagulate some long protein chains that can later cause haze and off flavors in your beer. Once the yeast starts fermenting, it will protect the beer, so you want to cool the wort down as fast as possible so that you can pitch (add) the yeast as soon as possible.

Fill your sink (or bathtub if your kettle won’t fit in your sink) with a few inches of water and ice. Use a sanitized spoon to gently stir the wort. After about 15 to 20 minutes the wort should be cool enough to transfer to the fermenter. The kettle should not be hot to the touch.

Transferring Wort
Place your strainer or funnel over your fermenter and pour in the cooled wort. This will help strain out any hop particles which will look like green sludge. If the strainer stops up, scrape the hop particles from the strainer with a sanitized spoon. Splashing the wort at this time is a good thing, because it will add oxygen that the yeast needs for rapid growth.

When the wort has been transferred, you should then top up the fermenter to the five gallon level with brewing water. Put on the lid or stopper and shake the fermenter to mix the water and wort, this will also help to add additional oxygen.

Now is the time to take a hydrometer reading. Using a sanitized wine thief or turkey baster, remove enough wort to fill the hydrometer sample jar. Take your reading but DO NOT return the sample to the fermenter. You may however, drink the sample. It will taste bitter and nothing like beer, but it is still delicious.