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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Fermentation & Yeast > Cooling wort by adding cold water
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Old 03-24-2011, 08:00 PM   #1
sasabs
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Default Cooling wort by adding cold water

I have read that it s important to cool the wart rapidly after the boil and the techniques recommended are wort chillers or immersing the boiler in ice. I have also read instructions to fill the fermenter part way with cold water and then add the hot wort.

My question is - Is it okay for me to add cold water to the hot wort in the boiler to cool it before pouring it into the fermenter? It seems easier and cheaper then the other methods.

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Old 03-24-2011, 08:03 PM   #2
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Doing it that way will stir up more sediment, hot break, etc.

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Old 03-24-2011, 08:21 PM   #3
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a lot of people here do that

i put a 2.5g jug of water in the freezer before i would brew to get it as cold as possible without completely freezing solid

i waited till the wort is 100° or less and then add it to get you down to pitching temps instead of adding it right after the boil

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Old 03-24-2011, 09:26 PM   #4
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My last batch was a wheat beer extract with a 3 gallon boil. After flame out I added two gallons of room temp water to the boil kettle and circulated ice water through a copper pipe wort chiller, and went from boil to pitch temp in under 15 minutes. This was a personal record for me. I then siphoned to the fermenter and added water to the 5-gallon mark.

When siphoning from the boil kettle to the fermenter I did not notice any greater amount of sediment than in previous batches. This batch has been in bottles for one week (still needs two more) and I cracked one open last night out of sheer curiosity. I did not notice any off flavors or additional sediment.

Of course others' experiences may vary, but it worked for me.

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Old 03-24-2011, 09:41 PM   #5
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In theory, your idea is great, but in practical terms it is a big mistake. The reason; sanitation.

I was brought right back to Alton Brown's infamous homebrew episode, where he encourages dumping the near boiling wort into your fermenting bucket already full of an equal amount of store bought ice. His realization was that combining the two mediums will result in immidiate cooling, and will quickly get you in a pitchable range. His idea is logical. Again, it is a great idea, but completely ignores sanitization.

There is no way to know what is lurking in the ice or cool tap water that you are pouring your wort into. One of the functions of the boil is to kill off "nasties" in your water, which is why in ancient times, it was safer to drink beer than water. Obviously we are past a point that we need to be concerned about the safety of our drinking water/ice, but that does not mean it is sterile enough to add to cooled wort and still have a healthy, clean fermentation.

This was always one of the things that puzzled me about partial wort boils....I never understood how it could be sanitary to add tap/bottled water to your wort on the way to fermentation. I guess it is a 300 level concern for a 100 level process. I do not want that to sound insulting, I just mean that perhaps at that stage in your process, there are still other things that are being worked out, and that is fine.

That said, do what you need for now, but if your system allows full wort boils, do them. If not, make that your next upgrade. Sanitization is the first easy step toward better beer, and I just don't think it is wise to be knowingly doing something that puts sanitization in question. Ideally, preboil your "topping off" or "chilling" water for 15 minutes or so, then put it into the fridge, covered, to cool before brewday. I guess that would be the best compromise I can offer and still make your idea work without effecting sanitization too much.

Joe

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Old 03-24-2011, 09:51 PM   #6
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I have just dumped all the ice in my fridge ce maker to cool it down before and it worked great. The water is all filtered and it made for a great kolsch. However, I agree with the post above and I no longer do this. It did work, but it could have went wrong.

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Old 03-24-2011, 10:33 PM   #7
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Also, in John Palmer's book he says you do not want to introduce oxygen to hot wort. You want to cool it down to pitching temp before you aerate. Dumping cold water into the hot wort would probably introduce oxygen before the wort is fully cooled, which could cause staling reactions later on.

I'm no expert but that's how I understood it. Ideally you want to chill the wort without introducing any oxygen to it. Then once it is cool, mix with cold water and aerate all you like.

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Old 03-24-2011, 10:53 PM   #8
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That's known as hot side aeration, and it really isn't a problem for homebrewers. I boil some water with campden to get rid of the chlorine/chloramine, put it in a sanitized container, and freeze it. I then add this to my fermentation bucket, to which I add the hot wort. I have yet to have a problem.

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Old 03-24-2011, 11:04 PM   #9
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I usually take my 5 gallon pot with about 2-3 gallons of wort in it.. put it in an ice bath for a good 10 minutes stirring it. I take out 2- 1 gallon jugs of drinking water from Walgreens that I had in the freezer for 4 hours. I pour one gallon right into the pot to make it cool enough that it won't crack the glass.. then I pour the rest in once the wort is in the carboy.

I am pretty annal about sanitation.. but I think if you are using store bought drinking water that has never been opened.. I think you are ok.

I have never had a problem and I have done countless batches.

Edit:
But I do want to clarify that I do Partial Mash and not All Grain. Also I would recomend against using tap water or ice from your ice maker.

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Old 03-24-2011, 11:30 PM   #10
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i use a sealed water jug as well

although Revvy has posted several times that there is no reason to fear adding tap water - i've never tried

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