Monitoring the temperature of the wort is necessary in making beer. When the temperature falls below 140 degrees Fahrenheit (60oC) even before any fermentation activity is observed, the beer is at high risk of being contaminated with bacteria and wild yeast strains. In order to reduce this risk, it is important for the wort to spend as little time as possible in this temperature range. Thus, force cooling is usually employed by home brewers so that the yeasts can take effect without the risk of contamination.
The hot wort needs to be cooled down to reduce the production of dimethyl sulfide which can affect the flavour of the entire beer. Dimethyl sulfide is produced in large volumes during the boiling process. And once the boiling process stops, so does the natural removal of the gas. If the dimethyl sulfide is not removed, it produces a flavour and aroma reminiscent to sweet canned corn.
There are many techniques and equipment that home brewers use to cool down the wort and one of them is using copper coils as wort chillers. Copper, in brewing metallurgy, has the highest conductivity of heat thus it can handle hot wort well. It is also inert and it builds up a stable oxide layer that protects any interaction with the wort; thus, the flavour of the wort remains the same.
However, copper can develop into a toxic blue-green oxide which is made up of copper sulfate, cupric acetate, and cupric chloride. To avoid the formation of this toxic substance on the copper coil, cleaning it with vinegar is necessary. Do not use oxidizers like bleach or hydrogen peroxide because it corrodes the surface which makes it weak in handling and the wort acidic .
Another option would be the use of stainless steel chillers. All of our Stainless steel immersion wort chillers are made in Canada and constructed from food grade material.
So the question many ask - "Which is better Copper or Stainless Steel chiller coils"? The answer is - it is up to an individuals preference.
While copper may (or may not depending on various factors) chill your wort faster, it is more pliable (and may kink if not handled properly) and harder to clean. Copper chillers tend to have thinner walls so that they can chill your wort quicker, however many stainless steel chillers are now being made with the same sized walls. Copper is easier to scratch, so there are more places for contamination to hide.
Stainless steel on the other hand is strong and durable and should last you a lifetime of brewing. It is easier to clean and looks great year after year as it does not oxidize.
Another consideration is price. While many may think that it is less expensive to use copper, truth be told - both metals are about on par with each other when it comes to cost.
So, do some research and decide for yourself which chiller coil you would rather invest in. We do carry both copper and stainless steel coil wort chillers in various sizes and different options as well as plate and counterflow chillers.
Our copper and stainless steel coils are made in Canada so you can be assured of the quality of these products.