Most basic homebrewing kits will not include wort chillers that help to speed up the cooling process after you have boiled the wort. And for most amateurs creating their favorite brew, this really isn’t going to be a huge problem.
You simply stand your pot of wort in an ice bucket or the kitchen sink. This might take an hour for about 4 gallons of wort, but it’s not really the end of the world.
However, once you get into creating larger batches, or you start getting complaints about taking over the kitchen, then it’s time to invest in a counterflow wort chiller.
It’s essentially a hose coil with a copper pipe inside. When wort and cold water flow through the system, then heat will exchange through the copper which has a chilling effect.
It’s important to understand that the wort and water will not mix using such a device.
If you find that you spend a lot of time on a brew day waiting around to get started with fermentation, then the Exchilerator could well be a great addition to your homebrewing gear.
Let’s take a closer look.
ExChilerator Wort Chiller Highlights
The Exchilerator counterflow chiller consists of a copper pipe covered in a proprietary co-helical wrap that sits between the copper and the hose. The result is a steadier flow of wort and water that speeds up the chilling process.
The company claims that chilling 5 gallons of boiling wort can be achieved in about 5 minutes using this system. That’s from the boiling point all the way down to about 65F.
I haven’t personally tried the Exchilerator with such a small batch, but it does sound plausible.
I regularly brew 15-gallon batches of beer, and they usually take about 40 minutes of chilling. Without a wort chiller, this would easily take 4 hours or longer depending on the time of year.
The reason it’s called a counterflow chiller is that the cooling water will flow in the opposite direction of the wort. This is the most effective way to get through many gallons of wort in a short space of time.
Overall, the performance of the Exchilerator was very impressive, and getting everything connected was easy.
- Counterflow chiller is very easy to set up and use
- Proprietary copper wrap speeds up the process considerably
- Temperature gauge is included
- Precision valve system helps to adjust the flow
- Exchilerator wort cooler is less prone to clogging than other available chillers
Are There Any Downsides?
While the Exchilerator counterflow wort chiller has some great benefits, there were a couple of minor flaws that we found.
The first one isn’t specific to this model, but just a general issue with these counterflow types. Basically, the cleaning and sanitizing process will take a bit of time.
If you think this chiller will save you 4 hours of brew time, then I would add at least half an hour for cleaning.
Secondly, while there is a temperature gauge attached, it’s not a digital one. This means you cannot easily upgrade the chiller with a pump that stops at a certain temperature.
For a small amateur setup, this will be a great addition, but if you run larger batches of wort, then you might need to go for something else than the Exchilerator. See here for some our favorite wort chillers out on the market.
- Cleaning and sterilizing the chiller takes quite a long time
- No digital temp gauge
The Exchilerator is pretty spectacular. It dropped the water over 100 degrees F in the 29-seconds. – Robert, Homebrew Academy
Exchilerator Wort Cooler: The Bottom Line
If you’re tired of waiting around for hours, or the wort chilling in the kitchen sink is causing World War III with your significant other, then don’t let that get in the way of your brew day.
Counterflow wort chillers like the Exchilerator make homebrewing so much easier, and because they are so compact, you can get it set up right on top of your kettle.
Once you’ve used it a couple of times, you’ll know how long it takes, and you’ll be able to take care of other things while it runs automatically.
The only thing it doesn’t do is cut out automatically when it reaches a certain temperature. Such wort chillers are available, but they require a digital thermometer hooked up to the pump. And that will cost you quite a bit more.
Based on this Exchilerator review, we found out that this equipment is very good value for money and suitable for home brewing batches up to 20 gallons.