Cooling Wort Fast Without A Chiller
Posted Dec 13th 2012 | By:
I use two different methods for cooling 5 gallons of wort down after boiling it. One for summer brewing and one for winter brewing. Neither of these include a wort chiller, as I have not purchased one yet. I thought sharing these methods just might help a new or even an experienced brewer out. Let's say they are using or getting ready to use a wort chiller and it cracks or breaks. What do you do?
Either one of these methods can be set up in minutes with minimum effort, saving the brewing day from being disaster. Both are extremely inexpensive and done without using an expensive wort chiller. They will take your 5 gallon wort temps down to yeast pitching temps in less than 20 minutes.
To cool your wort down to yeast pitching temps without a chiller, I use a $6 rope handle tub from Walmart. I start off by placing about 1 gallon of water in the rope handle tub, add about 3 lbs of ice, then place my boil pot in the rope handle tub. Next, I stir the wort, add as much ice as I can get into the tub and still have the ice floating in some water. You might need to add some water to keep the ice floating. I keep the water and ice moving around by stirring, and stir the wort at this time, too, as this helps the heat transfer faster. I use a different spoon for the wort than I use for the ice water. Add ice cold top off water if it's needed. This helps finish the cooling process even faster.
I use this method in the summer time, as our sink/hose spigot water here in Arizona runs at 95 degrees in the summer.
To do this you will need to have a double sink. You move the faucet to the back of the right sink basin, then plug the right basin with a stopper. Next, roll up a wash rag into a tight cylinder and lay it between the 2 sink basins, blocking off the middle high part of the two sinks. Place it near the faucet and lay it out as far as it reaches toward the front of the sink (leaving around 4" to 6" open on the front end of the sink middle), then pat it down. Next, I turn the faucet on cold until I have around 1 to 2 gallons of cold water in the right sink basin. After your boil, place your boil pot in the right sink basin then turn on the cold water. Slow to medium works well. Let the sink water overflow past the front of the wash rag. You will need to stir the wort every one to two minutes, as this helps the heat to transfer even faster. As stated in method 1, add ice cold top off water if needed.
Using this method will cool 4.5 gal of hot wort right off the boil down to 70 degrees in only 12 to 15 minutes depending on faucet water temp. I'm guessing by late January it will only take around 10 minutes to cool.
For the people that don't have a double sink and want to utilize method 2, you could combine method 1 and method 2 by using the rope handle tub outside. Put the end of your garden hose in it and turn it on low to medium. Place your boil pot in the rope handle tub and just let the water flow over the top. Stir the hot wort every one to two minutes, and once again add ice water to help make the process faster.
*BEFORE USING THE METHOD ABOVE* Please check to make sure that your boil pot is taller than the rope handle tub. If your boil pot isn't taller, you can still use this method by drilling a 1", 2" or 3" hole in the side of the rope handle tub about 4" to 6" below the height of the top of your boil pot when it is sitting in the rope handle tub.
I have found that both of these methods work very well for me and will hopefully work just as well for you, too.
I will be trying the 1/2 combo method right after Christmas, as my wife is giving me a stainless steel 15 gal boil pot with the steamer basket (oh yes, full boil BIAB here I come) and this pot will not fit in the sink.
I hope this helps and makes your brewing day a little easier.
and Tagged with