Wort chillers are exactly what the name implies. They will chill your boiled wort down to yeast pitching temperature quickly, and this is necessary for many reasons. The reason you want to chill your wort as quickly as possible is to minimize the amount of time your wort is exposed to possible contaminants, and also to reduce the chances of having off flavours in your homebrew due to dimethyl sulfide. Quickly cooling wort helps to avoid what is called 'chill haze', which is caused by the proteins being allowed to re-dissolve due to the fact they were not 'shocked' out of the wort.
So how does an immersion wort chiller work? The cold water enters one end of the chiller coil, and as it circulates through the coil, it cools the wort. The warm water exits through the other end of the coil and may be used later for cleaning. Both stainless steel and copper immersion wort chillers work well for quickly reducing the temperature of your wort, and deciding which one works best is a personal preference. Stainless steel chillers will last you a very long time, look good and are easier to clean. Copper chillers may work slightly faster; however, the finish tends to oxidize, they are more pliable (so if not handled properly they could kink) and the cost may fluctuate depending on the market.
Are you interested in how a plate chiller works? The cold water flows through the plates in one direction while the wort travels in the opposite direction and then directly into your fermenter.
For those of you that want to make immersion wort chillers, HERMS or jockey boxes, we do offer both Stainless Steel and Copper coils in various lengths and diameters. We do like to remind brewers that making wort chillers, HERMS or jockey box coils is for the mechanically inclined, and all non-fabricated coils are a final sale.
Our Mash King Counterflow Wort Chillers are proudly hand-made in Canada!
If you want more information on wort chillers - read my blog titled Wort Chiller Coils