Summer is usually the off season for me in regards to home brewing. For one, I generally keep pretty busy doing other things I like, most of which involves being outside. For two, it’s just too friggin hot. Brewing is pretty BTU intensive when you mash your own grain. For three, I just don’t drink much beer in the summer during the week, because of the previous two reasons. I haven’t yet drank what I made this prior winter.
I’m thinking about getting one of these. It’s a plate chiller, called “The Therminator”. It would solve one of the big problems I have making beer in summer; the water coming out of the tap is too warm. Typically, in summer, my tap water is about 65 degrees, and it takes forever to chill 5 gallons of wort down with my self-made immersion chiller. In contrast, winter time tap water temperatures are typically about 50 degrees, which gets the job done much faster.
Counterflow chillers have their downsides, in that you have to work hard to keep them clean, and keep them sanitized. Immersion chillers can just be rinsed off, and that’s about it. Not so with counterflow chillers, which must be cleaned and sanitized. But being able to get my wort chilled and into the fermenter in just a few minutes would be a big help.