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Old 06-18-2010, 02:16 PM   #1
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Default finally got my act together - ice for chilling

I started using ice-water for IC chilling several months ago. I love it, but was always running to the store to grab a bag of ice on brew day and spending another $4 per batch or so.

After repeatedly telling myself, "You need to strart collecting ice from the freezer ice-maker instead of buying this crap ," I finally wised up and worked this into my daily routine.

Every morning after I start the coffee brewing, I dump the contents of the ice maker tray into a bucket that I keep in the chest freezer in the garage. It takes all of 30 seconds and since I attached it to something I do everyday, it makes it easier to remember. I also have some disposable tupperware containers that I fill up and freeze into larger blocks of ice. Those are getting refilled every other day.

I just started doing this on Monday of this week and I think I already have about 20# of ice in that bucket. I brew every two weeks, so this should give me WAY more ice than I really need.

Not a monumental thing to share I suppose, but $4 savings per batch is pretty significant when you consider that the actual beer ingredients for a batch run me about $20 to $25. $4 for ice on top of that is pretty significant.

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Old 06-18-2010, 02:29 PM   #2
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What about freezing 2 liter bottles? Maybe fill em part way and squeeze out the air before sealing to make room for expansion. Then you could just drop bottles in and cycle them right back to the freezer after the brew?

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Old 06-18-2010, 02:33 PM   #3
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I thought about that, but don't think I would get the best heat transfer with large blocks of ice enclosed in plastic. The "large" blocks that I am making are maybe 1 quart in size, but most of ice ice is the standard 1oz semi-circle shape that come out the ice maker in the fridge.

I don't drink much soda, and never have 2-liters of it, but I might pick a couple up to try it out, augmented with the cubes I am already harvesting.

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Old 06-18-2010, 02:36 PM   #4
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During the summer brew season, I use this setup to sub-cool my tap water. I place the tub with water and the cooler into the freezer the evening before a brew and use it with great effect. Just make sure the chiller does not have any water in it when you place it in the freezer or it will not move water through it or it may rupture. Also when setting up, make sure it is completely hooked up before you run water through it or the water inside will freeze very quickly.



Salute!

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Old 06-18-2010, 02:46 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Walker View Post
I thought about that, but don't think I would get the best heat transfer with large blocks of ice enclosed in plastic. The "large" blocks that I am making are maybe 1 quart in size, but most of ice ice is the standard 1oz semi-circle shape that come out the ice maker in the fridge.

I don't drink much soda, and never have 2-liters of it, but I might pick a couple up to try it out, augmented with the cubes I am already harvesting.
Good point... I bet the outside would melt, then the plastic and water would act as an insulator. Large chunks may be fine if they aren't in a container.
I was trying to think of a way to get the ice you need with less effort.
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Old 06-18-2010, 03:42 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Walker View Post
I thought about that, but don't think I would get the best heat transfer with large blocks of ice enclosed in plastic. The "large" blocks that I am making are maybe 1 quart in size, but most of ice ice is the standard 1oz semi-circle shape that come out the ice maker in the fridge.

I don't drink much soda, and never have 2-liters of it, but I might pick a couple up to try it out, augmented with the cubes I am already harvesting.
It's great that you worked this into your daily routine, but wouldn't it be way easier to just toss all your containers back into the freezer at the end of your brew day and know that you have enough ice ready for your next brew day without having to stay on top of it?

For my money (and my time making ice) your large blocks/soda bottles are the way to go. Take the caps off the bottles when you add them and the insulation is negligble. Also, don't get hung up on soda bottles, snapple, gatorade, water bottles - they all work, just make sure you don't fill them up all the way and that you loosen the caps so there's room for the ice to expand.

The trick for me is finding the ones that fit most efficiently in my freezer. Space is at a premium in NYC apartments.
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Old 06-18-2010, 04:35 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Walker View Post
I thought about that, but don't think I would get the best heat transfer with large blocks of ice enclosed in plastic. The "large" blocks that I am making are maybe 1 quart in size, but most of ice ice is the standard 1oz semi-circle shape that come out the ice maker in the fridge.
The soda bottles or ice packs don't work well for this reason. I tried last time and it was not nearly as effective as small cubes. All about surface area.

I was having the same problem as you, always having to go to the grocery and get ice and hating to pay for it. A couple months ago one of those automated ice places opened in a random parking lot about a mile from my house so now i can just take a bucket and $1.25 from the change dish and get 20lbs of ice. I am happy.
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Old 06-18-2010, 04:46 PM   #8
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Could you break up the water bottle ice before you use it?

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Old 06-18-2010, 04:46 PM   #9
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I have been collecting ice like this for the past couple of weeks in anticipation of brewing a bock tomorrow morning. I plan to chill down to 30's or 40's, and haven't chilled that low before so I've saved a LOT of ice.

I filled an empty corny keg, and also have another couple 2.5 gallon buckets filled in the freezer. And, I still have the icemaker churning away on the "max" setting.

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Old 06-18-2010, 04:50 PM   #10
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I also chill with ice. I finally remembered this week to start accumulating ice-maker ice in the garage freezer.

+1 on cubes over blocks. More surface area equals better cooling.

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