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What is a wort chiller?

A wort chiller is a device that allows the homebrewer to bring boiling wort down to yeast-pitching temperatures in a fraction of the time an ice bath takes. Why is it important? Homebrewers want to cool their wort to below 80 degrees as quickly as possible after the boil. This is the time that wort is most susceptible to bacterial contamination. Using a wort chiller nearly negates any chance of infection. Some say a wort chiller is the most time-saving, economical device a homebrewer can buy.

What is a hydrometer used for in home brewing?

In homebrewing, the hydrometer is a necessary tool that will show you the degree to which the yeast is converting sugar into ethanol - ultimately helping you gauge the health and success of your beer’s fermentation. Homebrewers use the hydrometer to measure the original gravity (OG) prior to fermentation, and the final gravity (FG) after fermentation. These numbers help to calculate the alcohol level in the finished beer.

Originally published in our newsletter Micro Brew News' Trivia Time, Payette Brewing Company edition.