Cooling wort rapidly is pivotal to the beer brewing process. Removing sediment from from wort before fermenting is also very helpful. Whirlpooling your wort can help you streamline both of these processes.
What is Whirlpooling?
Whirlpooling is what it sounds like: creating a whirlpool in the wort while it is in the brewing kettle. The whirlpool will force any debris, such as hop leaves, cold break proteins, etc., into the center of the kettle, allowing you to siphon off the beer easily from the side of the kettle.
How Do I Create a Whirlpool?
The best way to create a whirlpool is to re-circulate the wort into the kettle. If the wort is being cooled with a counterflow wort chiller or a plate wort chiller it can be pumped from the chiller wort outlet back into the kettle.
If the wort is being cooled with an immersion wort chiller it is best to pump the wort from an outlet on the kettle itself back into the kettle. When the wort is re-circulated into the kettle it should enter at an angle to the kettle wall so that it smoothly forms a whirlpool and turbulence is avoided. A whirlpool can be created by stirring the wort with the immersion chiller itself, but this increases the risk of contaminating the beer.
An Example of a Whirlpooling Setup
The best example that we have seen of a setup for whirlpooling wort is over at Mrmalty.com. They use a special setup for a whirlpool in addition to an immersion wort chiller to collect debris at the center of the kettle and to increase the cooling of the wort by circulating it around the cold copper pipes of the chiller.
Have you ever used a whirlpool while brewing? How did it affect your results?