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Old 03-27-2011, 08:15 PM   #1
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Default Can't I cool wort by adding cold water?

Since I'm doing extract brewing and adding water to the fermenter can't I just add cold water while the wort is still hot to get it to pitching temperature? Why cool it first, THEN add the water?

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Old 03-27-2011, 08:23 PM   #2
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Many do, you should probably boil and chill it first vs coming from the tap.

You will probably find that you needed to do some chilling as well, and that it best done with the small prewater add volume. Ice bath for a bit, then addition of chilled water works well.

I actually boil, put the water into clean ziplock bags and freeze them the night before brewing. Ice cools better than water.

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Old 03-27-2011, 08:27 PM   #3
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While I was brewing extract, I would sanitize containers, put filtered water into them, and freeze them... Just put some of those into the wort post boil to start getting the temps down. Another item that works is to use water bottles (the plastic ones) and simply fill them with filtered water (not too far though) and partially freeze them. An hour or two is all you need to get a good slush in them which also helps reduce the wort temp.

Depending on your pot size, you can also try a cold water, and ice bath in the kitchen sink... Once you get it closer to pitching temp, usually topping off with cold water (from the fridge if your tap water isn't cold enough) finishes the job...

Once you get a wort chiller, though, the issue goes away...

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Old 03-27-2011, 08:28 PM   #4
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I put a couple of gallon jugs of water in the fridge whenI start brewing. When I am done with the boil I put the pot in an ice bath in the sink to cool it to about 85. Pour it into the fermenter top off with a couple of gallons of the water from the fridge. It gets about 68 degrees.

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Old 03-27-2011, 08:31 PM   #5
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I have used ice baths to get wort to <100F and then just added 60F tap water straight from the faucet for my last half dozen or so extract batches. The faucet aerator does a good job helping aerate the wort, and once I'm done it's usually 5gal around 70F.

Maybe I should boil it to remove the chlorine or other chemicals, but I haven't had any issues with infection. Soon I'll be using a 0.5 micron filter for all the water, a full boil and a 50' counterflow chiller so I'm not going to be dealing with the issue much longer.

I just throw caution to the wind until it bites me in the ass, though.

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Old 03-27-2011, 08:35 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Golddiggie
Once you get a wort chiller, though, the issue goes away...
Why even hassle with the ice bath? It is a pain, spend $30 and make a 25 ft counterflow chiller or spend $40-50 and make a 50 ft
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Old 03-27-2011, 09:40 PM   #7
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I use two $1.50 bags of ice from the liquor store and a sink full of cold water; just put the pot into the ice/water combo and I can get my wort down to 65-70 dF in about 20 minutes.

I had a couple cheaper-than-a-store-bought-wort-chiller/cheaper-than-a-home-made-wort-chiller ideas.

One I was thinking of filling some gallon jugs from the water I used for my last batch and freezing them; sanitizing the outside and dropping it right into the middle of my hot wort.

I then thought that the plastic jug might melt so I was thinking of getting a couple of cheap $5-$10 metal containers (maybe 1/2 the diameter of my brew pot) from some store (Bed Bath Beyond or just CVS), filling them with water and freezing them. I'd sanitize the outside and plunge them into the middle of my pot; the metal would get nice and cold by freezing and the ice inside would help it stay cold to cool down the wort.

Thoughts?

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Old 03-27-2011, 10:27 PM   #8
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The reason you don't want to add cold water to a hot wort is hot-side aeration. You will probably introduce oxygen into the beer. I guess you can probably do it using high temperature resistant plastic tubing and a bottling bucket with cold water. But if you pour the cold water in it's a bad idea. Thinking about it you might even introduce oxygen with cold water in the hot wort. There may be other issues at play someone more experienced can comment on.

But I don't see what the problem is with simply cooling the wort in an ice or cold water bath in the sink or bathtub. The bath will allow you to bring the water level higher and the sheer volume of water means you'll cool it more efficiently. It's what I do now, used to use the sink. If you're using top off water then what I do is get the wort temperature to 100 at bottom and 120 at top - since chilling in a cold water/ice bath often means the kettle bottom temps are cooler then the wort at the top (heats rises duh). Once I hit that the wort goes into the fermenter and I top off with cold water, watching the temps the whole way. As I get closer to the 5 gallon line if the temps get a bit too cool then I'd use warmer water. So far though I've never needed to use anything other than cold water. I've so far always hit desired temp with no more than 3 degrees F higher.


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Old 03-27-2011, 10:30 PM   #9
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I get what you're saying but I thought that my two ideas (frozen jug or frozen metal container) are the exact same idea as an immersion cooler/copper coil wort chiller only cheaper. What am I missing, why are they not the same thing?

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Old 03-27-2011, 10:52 PM   #10
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It may be herasey (sp?) but I use water right from the tap. I heard a while back that if you like drinking your tap water, it can be used to top up. Never had a bad batch and I've done this in North Carolina and Cape Cod with municipal water. Probably wouldn't be as comfortable with well.

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