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For $5 at Lowes, I built an “external wort chiller.”  I’ve never seen any other homebrewers with this setup, so I figured I’d post my results on the internet.  With only the standard wort chiller it takes about 30 minutes to cool our wort from boiling to yeast pitching temperature (85F for us).  With the external chiller, it took just under 20 minutes.  This may seem like a long time to you, but we live in the middle of a desert.  Ambient temperature is often over 100F on a summer brew day.

Here’s a picture of our full chiller assembly.  The internal chiller is on the right, and the external chiller is on the left.

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I enjoy brewing beer, and have invested a lot into equipment.  But most of this equipment is useful for more than just beer.  We can use it to make food! Some friends and I do this with a group called Food not Bombs.  Basically, we just serve free lunches at our local college campus, no strings attached.  It’s a great way to connect with your community and make friends.

This post describes how I combined the two hobbies, and will hopefully inspire you to do the same. First we’ll take a look at how to use the homebrew equipment, and then we’ll look at a recipe for Chinese stew.  It’s easy to cook, cheap to make, and delicious!  If you’re cooking outdoors, you can smell the amazing spices hundreds of feet away.  You can serve between 120-150 people spending less than $30 for food!

And if you serve it, they will come:

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