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Old 03-24-2009, 01:52 PM   #1
mciaio
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Default Wort chilling in ice bucket?

Planing to do my first all grain soon. I have a cooler MT setup and now I am working on cooling. I am going to be boiling in a turkey fryer. I have a very large round plastic bucket that I can fill with water and ice. Can I just submerge my brew kettle in this ice water bucket and get sufficient cooling and fast enough? Does anyone do it this way?

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Old 03-24-2009, 02:12 PM   #2
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Sure you can do it that way. Just make sure the ice water doesn't get in the wort. It would also help to stir the wort around gently to make sure as much of it as possible touches the cold sides of the pot. Change the ice as needed, because it will melt quickly.

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Old 03-24-2009, 02:45 PM   #3
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I do this regularly. This will work even better if you have two tubs as you will need to changeout the cooling water two or three times.

Depending on how much ice you have available, i would just use cold tap water for the initial cooling. If you use an ice water mix initially, you will use a lot of ice!!!! My usual routine is to drop the temp down to around 120 on the first bath w/ just water, then I will use ice and water for the second bath. If I have plenty of ice available, I will just drop the hot kettle into a huge ice bath and it works fast!!

Occasionally I have access to a commercial ice machine, I find it almost easier to grab 50 - 60 pounds of ice for chilling rather than fooling w/ my immersion chiller. This is especially true in the summer when the tap water is quite warm, and will not bring the wort down to the low 60's. I figure I am going to have to do an ice bath anyways, so why bother with the chiller at all. If you are bying ice, this method is somewhat cost prohibitive. I have also culled the ice from my fridges icemaker in advance of brewday so I have 2-4 batches of ice from my fridge.

Everytime I read someone someone saying that a chiller is mandatory equipment and ice baths don't really work, I kind of chuckle. With enough ice and a big enough tub, water/ice baths are very effective! More effective IMO than any one stage chiller w/ higher tap water temps.

It also helps to have a nice large oversized kettle, You will want to have the ice bath at a level that when the pot is submerged the cooling water is a few inches below the rim of the kettle, and the kettle is stable sitting on the bottom of the tub, so there will be no cross contamination.

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Old 03-24-2009, 03:14 PM   #4
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Thanks for the input guys. I can "harvest" ice from my freezer prior to brew day. I plan on using this 20 gallon palstic bucket I have.

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Old 03-24-2009, 03:42 PM   #5
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I usually put the kettle in a tub of ice water, drop the chiller in, then fill another tub with icewater. I put a fountain pump in the second tub, hook it up to the IC, and run the ice water from the second tub through the chiller and back into the tub. the water slowly warms up, but I just add bags of ice as needed and it chills the wort down a treat.

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Old 03-24-2009, 03:56 PM   #6
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How big do you think your tubs are?

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Old 03-24-2009, 04:34 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by mciaio View Post
How big do you think your tubs are?
I dunno; I think they probably hold 10-15 gallons. they're round colored plastic with plastic rope handles attached through the lip. I got them at Walmart for about $8 each if I recall correctly.
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Old 03-24-2009, 05:06 PM   #8
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I cool my wort in an ice bath like that. I don't switch between buckets, I just put a lot of ice in. I put just a couple inches of water in the bottom of the big bucket, put the covered kettle in, and carefully put the ice between the kettle and the bucket, trying not to let water from the ice doesn't seep under the kettle lid.

I use 3-4 7 lb. bags of ice plus 10 or so of the reusable "blue ice" thingies. I should harvest ice every day too to save on cost. I also have the round bucket with the plastic rope handles. It works great for that. I don't know how much ice you've saved, but maybe you would like to pick up some more if you can? I find I need a lot to cool it fast.

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Old 03-24-2009, 06:37 PM   #9
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I have had great results for years using a white food grade 55 gallon plastic drum that is cut down to a inch below the top weld skirt line on the boil keggle. On the inlet are back to back 3/4" 90 degree fittings to hook or hang the copper pipe to the barrel. On the bottom of this copper pipe app 2" before the bottom of the barrel is a 90 degree fitting for the whirl pool action. On the top bolted thru the barrel is a 1" fitting that's 3" below the rim of the barrel with another 90 degree fitting added in the opposite direction of the inlet fitting. this 1" fitting drains off the water flow fast enough to not overpower the inlet water. This outlet fitting is connected to a short piece of hose just to get the hose on the ground and 4' away from the barrel. The well water is cheap plus with two degrees difference of 62 degrees year round. On the top of the boil keggle I use the same keg lid as used on the HLT, (same diameter) with a 90 volt variable speed motor to stir the HLT or wort slowly. A 9" diameter bronze outboard motor racing prop rotates fron 25 -150 rpm's.
With the plastic drum you can get the boil keg or pot fully submerged to get the maximum cooling effect, just cut a barrel a little less heigth than your boil kettle. No way will the cooling water reach the wort. Call me cheap, this has saved purchasing chiller coils.

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Old 03-25-2009, 01:14 AM   #10
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Brewbeemer, I bet your cooling system works real nice. I was also thinking of using a big drum sort of like you have done. Thanks for the tip.

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