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Old 09-15-2006, 11:59 AM   #1
ayrton
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Default Using ice to cool wort?

Back when the Sam Adams competition was going on, they had a video that showed how to homebrew, and I watched most of it just to see if I could pick up a few tips. The only thing I learned was that he used two frozen gallons of water in the primary to cool the hot wort from the brew pot, instead of just adding the wort to cool water. I did this last night when I made my pumpkin ale, and it cooled it down almost immediately (as in < 5 minutes). I pitched the yeast, but afterwards, I thought it just seemed too easy. Is using ice this way ok?

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Old 09-15-2006, 12:17 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ayrton
Back when the Sam Adams competition was going on, they had a video that showed how to homebrew, and I watched most of it just to see if I could pick up a few tips. The only thing I learned was that he used two frozen gallons of water in the primary to cool the hot wort from the brew pot, instead of just adding the wort to cool water. I did this last night when I made my pumpkin ale, and it cooled it down almost immediately (as in < 5 minutes). I pitched the yeast, but afterwards, I thought it just seemed too easy. Is using ice this way ok?
yes, this is fine. There are some concerns about sanitation when using store bought ice or ice from your freezer's ice maker, but if you take clean water in a clean container and freeze it, it makes a fantastic chiller (MUCH faster than an immersion chiller for partial volume boils.)

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Old 09-15-2006, 12:20 PM   #3
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It dropped to 70 immediately! It almost makes me want to take my wort chiller back.

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Old 09-15-2006, 12:36 PM   #4
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It dropped to 70 immediately! It almost makes me want to take my wort chiller back.
If you ever move to AG or get a bigger pot and do full volume boils with extract you'll need that chiller. You can't 5 gallons cooled with an ice bath very fast and you can't add ice to the wort.

But, I understand your thinking. If I had not had the gift certificate to use, I wouldn't even have the chiller at this point.
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Old 09-15-2006, 12:55 PM   #5
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yep, it's super easy and super fast.

I just freeze a gallon of store bought. I usually take it after I get my boil going to make it a little softer. Then I just cut the bottom of jug off and tap the top and middle with a hammer. Well, maybe I do a little more than tap! Anyway, I make sure not to touch the ice with my hammer, plastic only.

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Old 09-15-2006, 01:42 PM   #6
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Sometimes it cools a little too well and I end up with a softball size (or larger) ice cube floating in my wort. This makes topping off to 5 gal a little tricky so I usually just remove the ice cube and go from there.

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Old 09-15-2006, 02:55 PM   #7
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I brewed last weekend and I used two gallons of bottled water that I put in the freezer. They weren't completely frozen, but it cooled the wort down to pitching temp in the time it took me to ladle it from the kettle to the fermenter.

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Old 09-15-2006, 03:09 PM   #8
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I use three 1 gallon milk jugs in the freezer. I put them in late the night before brewday. In the morning I take them out and crush the ice that has formed by smacking and squeezing the jugs. I crush the ice and shake up the jugs ever 2 hours until brewtime late in the afternoon. It keeps the ice from freezing solid. That way I can reuse the jugs.

It also helps speed things up because the ice in not a great big chunk that you have to wait to melt. I usually start the siphon from the brewpot to the fermenter and pour the ice water into the brewpot (so the ice will melt) and let it siphon over to the fermenter.

After flameout, I have a few things to do to get ready, so when I am ready to add the ice water to the wort it is @ 140 degrees. I always end up with @ 75 degree wort after adding the ice water.

140+140+32+32+32=376/5=75.2 degrees.


The one key advantage to this instant cooling is the Cold Break. You get a great cold break and the beer tends to be clearer compared to slowly cooling the wort in other ways.

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Old 09-15-2006, 03:19 PM   #9
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Wort Cooling
Formation of Cold Break
As the clear hot wort is cooled, the previously invisible coagulum
loses its solubility and precipitates. The precipitate is referred
to as the cold break and begins forming at about 60ºC (4). The cold
break mostly consists of protein-polyphenol (tannin) complexes,
whereas the hot break is mostly proteinaceous. The cold break also
has a higher level of carbohydrates (primarily beta-glucans) than
the hot break (7). Highly modified malts yield a higher percentage
of polyphenols in cold trub than do less-modified malts, while
under-modified malts yield more protein and beta-glucans and
relatively fewer polyphenols (1).
It is essential that the cold break be precipitated as much as
possible, which is done by a very rapid cooling. The wort must be
force-cooled to below 10ºC to secure a satisfactory break, and it
precipitates best at 0 to 5ºC. Complete precipitation of
polyphenol/proteins to achieve a brilliantly clear beer is achieved
by cooling the wort until it becomes slushy. Many brewers have found
that following this procedure greatly reduces the need for
clarification. A long, slow cooling does not give a good cold break
because more protein is trapped in suspension; this gives rise to a
finer trub, chill haze, and harsh, sulfur-like aftertastes in the
beer. Coarse trub is essential for good separation and good beer
stability. In addition, a rapid cooling will minimize the
development of dimethyl sulfide (DMS), which is more likely, to form
when using lager malt. If the wort is reheated, cold trub will go
back into solution, forming a chill haze.

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Old 09-15-2006, 03:21 PM   #10
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So a flash freeze of the wort and then a quick heating back up to pitching temps would be the ideal way to cool the wort to get a perfect cold break.

HMMM! My dumbass friend might have had a genius idea with his Fast Chiller that froze his wort almost instantly. Come to think of it, that beer was sparkling clear!

Did you ever wonder what the dark trub was that sticks to the top of your Krausen and to the side of the carboy when the krausen falls? Did you think it was hops? Grain residue? No, those things fall to the bottom. It is mostly the protein ,beta-glucans, tannins and polyphenols. In other words, it is the result of the Hot and Cold Breaks.

If you do not have a pretty solid ring that is about 2 inches wide and pretty thick, then you did not boil long enough or cool the wort fast enough, and the beer will most likely be hard to clarify.

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