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Old 06-14-2009, 04:16 AM   #1
Omahawk
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Default Chilling Wort

This might be a common new guy question, and if so I apologize.

I did my first batch today, extract with specialty grains. I boiled about 3 gallons of wort and added more water to the fermenter to get to 5 gal. To chill it, I switched the brew kettle between two ice baths and I was able to chill the wort to 70 degrees F in just under 20 minutes.

I almost bought a wort chiller before this first batch, but am now thinking that I can get away without one with my current approach. From what I've read, 20 minutes is likely sufficient to avoid off-flavors.

Any advice / thoughts on the benefits of wort chillers with my current approach (less than 5 gal wort extract brewing)?

Thanks.

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Old 06-14-2009, 04:19 AM   #2
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I did just what you are doing - works just fine! Ice baths work great for partial boils.

Jim

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Old 06-14-2009, 04:23 AM   #3
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A chiller is not really necessary unless you're doing a full boil IMO. I do it pretty much the same way you described, I top off with spring water that I put in the freezer when I start the brewing process and after 3 hours it's close to freezing. Between the water bath and the cold top-up water I'm always at 67-70 and ready to pitch within 15-20 minutes. The other nice thing about this approach is that you get plenty of oxygenation from the top-off water, especially if you shake the jugs before adding them to the fermenter.

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Old 06-14-2009, 04:38 AM   #4
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Thanks for the reaffirmation, folks. I keep running to the basement to watch the bubbling airlock ... I'm like a kid with a new toy.

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Old 06-14-2009, 04:49 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Omahawk View Post
Thanks for the reaffirmation, folks. I keep running to the basement to watch the bubbling airlock ... I'm like a kid with a new toy.
I've been brewing for years, and I still do that!

-Steve
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Old 06-14-2009, 08:09 PM   #6
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Only benefit I can think of is that you don't have to figure out where to come up with a bunch of ice every time you make a brew. I went to a wort chiller just because I didn't want to mess with buying/freezing that much ice every time I brewed...

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Old 06-14-2009, 08:25 PM   #7
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Florida is a different animal. We're under harsh water restrictions so running water to cool beer with a water temp that won't ever hit close to 70-75 without a fridge dispenser just isn't a possibility.

I used 2-1/2 gallons of water and froze the other one while I was boiling.

I'm going to recycle the containers and use them for block ice.

Yesterday I bought 6 bags of ice and dropped it from 120 to 80 and then added in the other 2-1/2 gallons of water from the freezer. That took under 10 minuets. It was just starting to freeze when I brought it outside. I put the stainless steel pot on top of a round baking pan and filled it with water till it reached the bottom of the SS pot in a tupperware storage container. I added ice from there and kept on adding. It was pretty warm here yesterday in Tampa but the ice held and I swirled the wort while it was chilling in the icebath.

I was experimenting with trying to brew outdoors so I'm not trashing the kitchen and can sit/swim/drink and smoke cigars while I'm doing the homebrew thang!

It's all good.

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Old 06-14-2009, 08:26 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeremyjudd View Post
Only benefit I can think of is that you don't have to figure out where to come up with a bunch of ice every time you make a brew. I went to a wort chiller just because I didn't want to mess with buying/freezing that much ice every time I brewed...
Good point. I did plan ahead quite a bit, hording ice for a week ahead of time.
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Old 06-14-2009, 08:28 PM   #9
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I was experimenting with trying to brew outdoors so I'm not trashing the kitchen and can sit/swim/drink and smoke cigars while I'm doing the homebrew thang!http://www.homebrewtalk.com/images/smilies/occasion14.gif

It's all good.
I got up at 5:30 AM to start brewing, so most of the carnage was cleaned up by the time everyone else got up to see it. Outdoors is looking more attractive.
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Old 06-14-2009, 08:33 PM   #10
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I got up at 5:30 AM to start brewing, so most of the carnage was cleaned up by the time everyone else got up to see it. Outdoors is looking more attractive.

I have a screened-in enclosure so I wasn't freaking out too much about airborne flies and skeeters sampling the wares.

I shudda took pictures. I will next time.
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