Immersion wort chillers work fantastically for cooling wort to pitch-safe temperatures and most homebrewers choose copper wort chillers for their superior heat transfer and speed.
When considering heat exchange, copper is a better conductor of heat than stainless steel. A copper immersion chiller will cool your wort faster, produce a better cold break, and halt the isomerization of the alpha acids. It could seem that the decision is clear.
Brewmasters know that a perfect, clear glass of amber beer can only result from a precise chilling process. The process requires the use of a wort chiller.
A good wort chiller – whether copper or stainless steel – can cost anywhere between $50-$100.
The primary benefit of using a wort chiller is that it significantly reduces the time it takes for your wort to cool down. Without it, five gallons of wort will take several hours to cool. With the help of a wort chiller, that process is done in 15 minutes.
A good wort chiller can last for several years and withstand many brews.
Pros : – Easy to use. – Copper is easy to maintain and to clean. – Copper is also resistant to corrosion in the wort. – Highly efficient. It has the highest heat exchange rate of chillers. – Copper is easy to weld. You can mend or solder the chiller, should it break.
Cons : – One slight disadvantage of using a copper wort chiller is that it can develop a green-blue toxic oxide, called verdigris, when stored in a wet environment. – Copper chillers are less rigid than stainless steel chillers.
Pros : – Easy to keep clean. – Stainless steel can withstand corrosion for years. – Stainless steel chillers can last longer than copper chillers. – Stainless steel chillers are slowly becoming the standard for brewing.
Cons : – Stainless steel is hard to manipulate. – Stainless steel leaves behind no beneficial trace minerals for yeast. – Stainless steel is not as efficient as copper. Steel chillers can cause weaker cold breaks and longer isomerization of hop alpha acids.