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Old 08-21-2008, 04:47 PM   #1
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Default wort chiller necessary?

i've decided to jump right into AG, but was wondering if i need to really spend the extra money for the wort chiller for my first batch or if it can wait. would a huge ice water bath and frequent gentle stirring be enough, or do i truly need the chiller? thanks.

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Old 08-21-2008, 04:50 PM   #2
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The bath would work. In fact if you use salt in that bath it will decrease the time it takes to cool.

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Old 08-21-2008, 04:50 PM   #3
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It's gonna take a LONG time to chill a full volume boil without a chiller, in my honest opinion. That would have to be one BIG ice bath.

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Old 08-21-2008, 04:52 PM   #4
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It'll take you 20-30 minutes tops with active stirring of the ice bath. You can decrease the time even more if you gently stir the wort in the opposite direction that you stir the ice bath. And I'll say it again. Salt. Good stuff

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Old 08-21-2008, 04:54 PM   #5
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thanks guys.

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Old 08-21-2008, 05:12 PM   #6
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It'll take you 20-30 minutes tops with active stirring of the ice bath. You can decrease the time even more if you gently stir the wort in the opposite direction that you stir the ice bath. And I'll say it again. Salt. Good stuff

I don't agree at all- even with a wort chiller, it takes 30 minutes to chill 5.25 gallons of boiling wort. You'd have to have a way to lift a boiling hot pot FULL of boiling wort into an ice bath without scalding yourself, also. I don't see how it's possible to do this in 30 minutes.
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Old 08-21-2008, 05:27 PM   #7
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I don't agree at all- even with a wort chiller, it takes 30 minutes to chill 5.25 gallons of boiling wort. You'd have to have a way to lift a boiling hot pot FULL of boiling wort into an ice bath without scalding yourself, also. I don't see how it's possible to do this in 30 minutes.
Well you can get down to 15-20 minutes if you shake the chiller until the temp drops to around 110 or so, and then switch from your ground water supply over to a pump recirculating ice water from a cooler through the chiller. Boil to 110 is about 7-8 minutes and it takes longer to get to pitching temp.

I second the concern of safety with the water bath method, even though it will work, I value my body parts at more than the $50 a chiller costs.
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Old 08-21-2008, 05:31 PM   #8
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I've got 5 gallons sitting in the bathtub under 20lbs of ice and it's been over an hour (got the day off). I changed the water twice before adding the ice to get it below 130.

Based on the previous batches I'm looking at another 45 minutes minimum before it's down to a reasonable pitching temperature (~75F). It isn't helping that my tap water is coming in at 78F

It's totally possible to do a full volume boil without it but my next purchase is going to be a wort chiller.

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Old 08-21-2008, 05:38 PM   #9
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On my first full boils before I had a wort chiller I was able to chill it reasonably quickly. Looking at my notes the first time it took 40 minutes to get down to 82F, the second time it took 16 minutes to get to 90F, after that I used a chiller.

What I did was set my aluminum pot with lid on in one of those cube coolers with the spigot open on the bottom. Then I stuck the garden hose in the cooler and adjusted the flow so as much water was going in as was coming out. IIRC I had stuck the hose through the handle of the cooler so the water was circulating around the cooler.

I'm sure I could have cooled it quicker if I had stirred inside the pot during the process, but I didn't know any better at the time

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Old 08-21-2008, 06:35 PM   #10
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I don't agree at all- even with a wort chiller, it takes 30 minutes to chill 5.25 gallons of boiling wort. You'd have to have a way to lift a boiling hot pot FULL of boiling wort into an ice bath without scalding yourself, also. I don't see how it's possible to do this in 30 minutes.
I don't know about you but I don't chill my wort while the pot is sitting on the turkey fryer. I bring it into the kitchen and then run my chiller in there. If he has cooking mits and has the ice bath ready to go then all he would have to do is take his pot from the fryer and put it directly in the ice bath.

Before I went to a 10 gallon pot I would ice bath 4.5 gallons of wort every weekend in my double sink with a 6 gallon pot. I got the temps down to 70-72 within 15 - 20 minutes consistently. I would go back and forth in each sink for the first 75 degrees and then it stayed in one sink until it was done. If you are gently stirring your wort and stirring the ice bath in opposite directions you dramatically increase your effeciency in temp drop.

With the use of salt it makes the ice last that much longer. If he had a tub and followed this method of active stirring and salt in the bath he is going to be able to do it. My own experience tells me that he can. Now if he is not capable of moving the pot then all bets are off.

What really stinks about all of this is that because I can't ice bath my pot in the sink anymore I have to use the chiller. Takes me about 10 or 15 minutes longer with the chiller.


EDIT: This was done with an aluminum pot. Better for conduction than SS
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Prim 1: Ogre's Inverted Extra Red Ale
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Last edited by devaspawn; 08-21-2008 at 06:36 PM. Reason: This was done with an aluminum pot. Better for conduction than SS
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