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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > General Beer Discussion > Wort chilling
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Old 08-15-2011, 12:51 PM   #1
tpitman
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Default Wort chilling

Aside from using a wort chiller or placing the boil kettle into ice baths, has anyone used something like half-gallon milk jugs, washed, filled with water, frozen, sanitized, then put right into the wort to cool it down? I'm struggling with cooling down the wort with tap water that's over 80 degrees here in sunny Orlando in the summer, and placing the kettle in a tub of water with ice gets the ice melted quicker than the wort can cool. Good idea/bad idea?

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Old 08-15-2011, 12:55 PM   #2
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I used to boil water, pour it into tupperware containers, freeze them, and then use the ice straight in the wort to chill it down that last infernal 10-15 degrees that we don't seem to be able to attain here in Florida. As long as you are very sanitary, there is only a miniscule risk of contracting an infection using the method I used to use (which, of course, increases the volume of wort and decreases the OG, which has to be accounted for when formulating the recipe), or the one you propose (which is going to be a bit slower, but doesn't affect wort volume or OG).

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Old 08-15-2011, 01:55 PM   #3
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I have tried this, but it is not too effective because the plastic bottles seem to give a layer of insulation between the ice and the cooling water. If you are doing partial boils, put your topping off water in the freezer before you begin, an hour or two. I find that if I place gallon jugs in my deep freeze at the start of the boil, it starts to ice up around finish time. I use my Wort chiller to cool to about 90, and then top off my 3 gallon boil with 2 gallons of super chilled spring water, bringing the overall temps down to mid 60's. With the hot summer, my tap water is around 82 degrees this month limiting the effectiveness of my wort chiller, so the ice water trick works well.

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Old 08-15-2011, 02:01 PM   #4
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What type of brews are you doing? If you're doing all grain using an ice bath can be effective if you take the right steps and depending on what you have available to hold the water/ice/vessel. When I was doing extract batches where I'd top off the wort I would pour the hot wort right from the boil kettle over a 7# bag of ice in primary. The wort melts the ice, getting your final volume, and the ice cools the wort to pitching temps. I know some people will say you shouldn't use commercial ice, but I never had an issue with it.

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Old 08-15-2011, 02:13 PM   #5
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I was doing a BIAB so I had my final volume in the kettle after the boil. Doing extract I've dumped ice water in to make up the final volume and got it down into the low 70's after a short bath in tap water in the sink. I was thinking getting frozen jugs directly into the wort would be the most efficient, maybe after a short stint with either a wort chiller or a simple tap water bath to bring it down from a boil to around 100.

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Old 08-15-2011, 04:10 PM   #6
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This is one reason I have not graduated to doing full boils; I don't want to spend the money on a chiller only for it not to be 100% effective. Additionally, that would put me brewing outside in the 100+ degree temps. I make great beer inside, doing partial boils. I do chill my top-off water on brew day. I also have .5L frozen water bottles that I put into my ice bath. It works for me.

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Old 08-15-2011, 07:52 PM   #7
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what I do is chill my wort to the terminal ip degree range then start to siphon off to my fermentor. I then take a wire strainer with a 1 liter bottle of frozen water in it and then lay my siphon tube so the wort pours over this bottle. The bottle is of course sanitized first. It kools faster and helps with aerating.

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Old 08-15-2011, 07:58 PM   #8
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Before I made my IC I used plastic liter soda bottles with frozen water. I sanitized the heck out of them and never had a problem. Go for it. I always left a little space at the top so that when they were floating the cap was submerged. I didn't want to take a chance and have H2O leak into the wort. ....and keep hands off of them and your fingers out of the wort

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Old 08-15-2011, 08:18 PM   #9
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I just use RO ice straight into the bucket to fill up the 2-3 gallons that were not boiled in the initial wert. Haven't had a problem so far.

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Old 08-15-2011, 08:33 PM   #10
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I know you're asking for things other than an wort chiller, but if you already have one you could get some copper tubing and build a pre-chiller to add onto your system. This would cool the tap water down before it enters your wort chiller.

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