Wort chillers are essential brewing accessories for the fermenting process. The wort chillers purpose is to cool down the wort to an optimal temperature as efficiently as possible. Once the wort reaches 130° Fahrenheit, various bacteria can contaminate the brew which can lead to a change in taste. This is why it’s key to bring down the temperature to approximately 70°F as quickly as possible before adding the yeast.
There are three basic types of wort chillers, each bringing a little bit of innovation to the brewing table. The most common is the immersion chiller, which is basically a copper tube that you can place inside the kettle in direct contact with the wort. Immersion chillers are popular because they are easy to use and maintain. The counter flow is similar in design, but it actually has two set of tubes, one for the wort and one for the water. The third – and possibly most efficient chiller – is the plate wort chiller. Cost is the only disadvantage of those accessories, as they will offer you the best surface/volume ratio.