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Old 08-28-2013, 03:23 AM   #1
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Default Adding Cold Water to Hot Wort?

My last few batches I have been pouring hot wort from my kettle directly into a bucket and then topping off with cold (pre-boiled) water. I thought I had found a really clever (okay, not that clever) way to cool my wort faster, until I read in HTB that doing this introduces oxygen to the hot wort, which is a no-no.

That makes sense, but I'm wondering if there's some way I can continue my process of cooling the hot wort with cold water without causing the ills HTB speaks of. What if I racked my hot wort into a bucket already filled with the cold water, keeping the hose below the surface and thereby minimizing aeration? Would that be kosher? What if I took it one step further, even, and racked the cold water itself into the bucket, followed by the hot wort?

I just can't imagine that there's enough oxygen dissolved in the pre-boiled cold water to cause problems, sans any significant aeration from the transferring process. Am I wrong? Should I just give in and leave my wort undisturbed in the kettle until it reaches 80F, like Mr. Palmer says?

Thanks!

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Old 08-28-2013, 03:38 AM   #2
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Don't we want O2 in the wort for the yeast you're gonna add later?

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Old 08-28-2013, 03:44 AM   #3
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Go ahead and add cold water. If you are trying to cool the wort you have completed the boil. This is the only time you DO want to add oxygen. I think you may been reading about transferring to the boil kettle? But regardless introduce as much oxygen as you can at this time and go ahead with the cold water.

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Old 08-28-2013, 03:45 AM   #4
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Your system is good...aeration only matters after fermentation starts...prior to fermentation, you want as much oxygen as possible...that's why many people add oxygen to the wort, or shake their carboy prior to pitching their yeast.

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Old 08-28-2013, 04:02 AM   #5
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That's what I always thought but Palmer says you should not aerate until the wort is cooled to below 80F. Although a lot of old books recommended exactly the process I do, Palmer says that when wort is hot, compounds in it react (or bind?) with oxygen, and then release that oxygen later during the fermentation process, where it leads to staling.

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Old 08-28-2013, 04:05 AM   #6
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If you downloaded his book off the internet like I did than there is a lot of outdated information. That is because the one I downloaded was his first edition. He is on his 3rd or 4th edition now and many things have changed or been revisited. Check which one you have.

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Old 08-28-2013, 05:00 AM   #7
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I bought it in a store and it's the 3rd edition, which is his latest. The passage I'm talking about is on pg. 72. The process is called Hot Side Aeration. Apparently there's a lot of debate as to whether home brewers should even worry about it. A lot of people say it's only an issue for really light beers (e.g., lagers) or for beers that will be stored for a while. Still, I'm going to try to minimize it from now on...

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Old 08-28-2013, 05:11 AM   #8
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Update: Did some more searching and Charlie Bamforth, Prof. of Beer at UC Davis, says it's not something to worry about. So I guess I'm not gonna worry about it...

http://thebrewingnetwork.com/shows/475

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Old 08-28-2013, 01:57 PM   #9
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I wouldn't worry too much about it, as most of the wort that is being aerated will also be cooled almost immediately by mixing with the cold water. It's only the last portion of the wort that will see aeration at a higher temperature.

But if you are trying to chill your wort as fast as possible, it's best to use an immersion chiller or similar in the hot wort, before dilution, so that you have the biggest temperature difference between your wort and cooling water. This will give you a good cold break, and leave the trub in the kettle. If you chill 3 gallons down to 80F with a chiller, and then dilute with 2 gallons 50F water, then you'll get a good pitching temperature around 67-68F without needing to run the chiller with a very small temperature difference. Obv. if your ground water is in the 60's like mine is in the summer, you'll need ice to get the top-up water's temperature down.

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Old 08-28-2013, 03:34 PM   #10
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This past winter (I live in Wisconsin), when I'd brew an extract batch, I'd have the carboy half-filled with my "top-off" water and chilling in the garage days ahead of brew day.

On brew day, I'd measure the temperature of the chilled water, and then do some math to determine how much I would need to chill my wort before racking it onto my chilled water.

If I wanted to pitch yeast at 65, and my top-off water was chilled to 40, I'd only need to chill my wort to 90.

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