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Old 01-27-2012, 04:27 PM   #1
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Default Chilling wort with Ice

I do not own a wort chiller as of right now, and I'm brewing a couple kits tonight. Usually, I just submerge my wort in a bathtub filled with cool water, and it takes about an hour to get the temp down to pitch-friendly range.

I was thinking, I dilute my wort eventually anyways as I normally do 3 gallons for the boil. Could I just dump a couple bags of ice from the grocery into the wort and stir it up?

I'm getting conflicting comments when I google this idea. Thougts?

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Old 01-27-2012, 04:31 PM   #2
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I wouldn't do that. You would be introducing potentially unsanitary elements to your wort with water that may not taste so great either.

If you dump the pot into a bathtub with ice, try stirring the wort with a sanitized spoon while it's in the bathtub. The circulation of the wort should be able to get the temperature down below 80 in under 20 minutes. It's what I used to do until I got a wort chiller.

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Old 01-27-2012, 04:32 PM   #3
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Also, when you dilute your wort with water, that water should have previously been boiled to kill any contaminates.

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Old 01-27-2012, 04:35 PM   #4
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I used to dump a bag of arrowhead ice into mine for a year and never had a problem. I was always nervous though, would hate to throw away a day of brewing because the ice contaminated it. I eventually started buying the 1 gallon arrowhead jugs and putting them in the freezer when I started my brew session. By the time I was ready to chill the wort down the water was near freezing.

If you go with the ice be careful of splashing, it makes a mess not to mention the wort is hot as hell at that point.

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Old 01-27-2012, 04:35 PM   #5
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Hm ok. First time I've heard of sterilizing tap water. But, I'll give it a go.

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Old 01-27-2012, 04:38 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Haputanlas View Post
Also, when you dilute your wort with water, that water should have previously been boiled to kill any contaminates.
I do partial boils and with every brew I have topped up my wort with cold water straight out of the tap. I've probably done 10 or so batches this way and have never had a problem. I'm not sure if I'm just lucky or not, but just wanted to share my experience.

As far as adding ice goes, I would definitely make sure the container I was freezing water in was sanitized before the water went in it. Also, it should be sealed so as not to pick up any other nasties from the freezer. I have never added ice to my wort, but have heard of others doing it.
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Old 01-27-2012, 04:38 PM   #7
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I wouldn't think it'd be any different than adding tap water to top off to the 5.0-5.25 gallons that some people do. I personally didn't go that route and just put my boil pot into an ice bath and it got down to reasonable temps rather quickly. It seemed to me it was quicker than when I used my buddy's wort chiller, but that's a completely empirical statement there.

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Old 01-27-2012, 04:40 PM   #8
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Try putting the BK in the kitchen sink,then fill the empty space around it with ice,then top off with water. Stir the wort now & then while chilling. It should get down to 70F in twenty minutes. The whole idea being to chill it as quickly as possible. 20 mins or less will give little to no chill haze when the bottles go into the fridge.
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Old 01-27-2012, 04:43 PM   #9
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<20 minutes eliminates the haze? Awesome. That's been an issue, so makes sense.

Now, I'm not a biologist; but I thought freezing water killed most bacteria. Is this not the case?

Sorry, I'm an engineer by trade. Still learning this whole microbiology side of brewing.

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Old 01-27-2012, 04:49 PM   #10
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My main issue with using tap water for anything outside of the main brew water is the chloramine/chlorine content. Even if you're only adding a gallon to top up a 4-gallon wort, that's 20% more bandaid-y taste you're adding. Boiling it doesn't so much sanitize the water as get rid of chlorine (and, of coyrse, you need to treat it first in the case of chloramines). Obvs this doesn't apply if your water isn't chlorinated.

I far prefer distilled water to top up, because I know that it's free of crap. And if I were to do the ice method, I'd make ice with it. But sink/tub immersion is much easier (assuming you don't have a wort chiller), and doesn't require caring about the quality of ice.

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