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Old 02-10-2008, 09:08 PM   #1
Duder
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Default Cooling the wort

I'm brewing my very first batch and am concerned that my wort is not cooling fast enough. Immediately after the boil I placed the wort on my back deck in a pile of snow. It is 3 degrees F outside. After 40 minutes the wort temperature is down to 120 F. Is this taking too long to cool, what am I doing wrong? It seems that in 3 degree F air and a pile of snow that the wort should cool much faster. Do I have anything to worry about? Thanks for any help,
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Old 02-10-2008, 09:15 PM   #2
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If you don't have a wort chiller an ice bath is the next best thing, with frequent change outs of the water...Usually 3 changeouts get me down in under 45 minutes to the temp I want....I also add salt to the ice bath to make it colder. The problem is that you melted the snow around the pot and unless more snow is moved against the pot, nothings going to happen....if you have a plastic tub fill it with snow water and salt and place it in there....when the water around the pot feels hot, swap out the water...also swirling the water around the pot with your hands helps...it moves the hot water away from the pot and lets colder water in....

Cooling the pot with an icebath or a chiller works as a heat exchanger...and just setting it in the snow wont exchange the heat fast enough.

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Old 02-10-2008, 09:17 PM   #3
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When it comes to cooling wort, faster is better. There are a number of reasons for this including infection prevention, and cold break formation. However, beer as been made where it has taken hours for the wort to cool.

Stirring the wort will greatly increase cooling time, as will continually repacking the snow around the pot. One of the problems with the snow method is that it metls, and pulls away from the side of the pot.

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Old 02-10-2008, 09:19 PM   #4
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Default Any concern?

Should I be concerned about any undesirable bacterias forming in the wort, given the longer cooling time. It seems that if it's been sitting in 3 F air that there is not a lot of bacteria that may contaminate the wort to begin with.

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Old 02-10-2008, 09:57 PM   #5
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You should only be concerned if you've had the lid off the entire time. If the lid is on, nothing's going to get in. Also, temperature doesn't matter when it comes to bacteria. They're still there, they're just dormant in the cold. Do the above advice, and you should be fine.

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Old 02-10-2008, 09:58 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Duder
Should I be concerned about any undesirable bacterias forming in the wort, given the longer cooling time. It seems that if it's been sitting in 3 F air that there is not a lot of bacteria that may contaminate the wort to begin with.
Don't worry....if your pot was covered you're fine...if your pot was uncovered and no birds pooped in your pot...then you should be fine...

Despite what you might have read...it's really hard to ruin your beer. And since it's 3 degrees it's highly doubtful anything really bad nasties are flying around out there. Just get it cool asap and pitch.
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Old 02-10-2008, 10:04 PM   #7
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Done and done... I definitely kept the lid on and there are definitely no birds flying around in this cold. Thanks for all the help... much appreciated.

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Old 02-10-2008, 10:05 PM   #8
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Quote:
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Done and done... I definitely kept the lid on and there are definitely no birds flying around in this cold. Thanks for all the help... much appreciated.
Keep us posted.
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Old 02-10-2008, 10:13 PM   #9
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As weird as this sounds, snow is actually an excellent insulator. Not only is it melting and pulling away from your pot, but there is so much air in it that it acts to insulate your pot as well. The best way in your situation would be to get a large tub with water, put your pot in it, and just add handfuls of snow to the tub o' water and stir it around your pot. Water will absorb the heat from the pot, and throwing in the snow will act to cool the water back down. Swirling your pot around would also speed up the cooling process.

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Old 08-18-2012, 01:18 PM   #10
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Default Same problem...

I was going to make a new thread but I found this one and figured it'd be just as easy. I have a couple of specific questions regarding long wort cooling times. I'm trying as hard as I can to decrease the total time used in the process and I've really got it all down, except cooling the wort. It's the most frustrating part for me! Granted, it takes me about an hour to get it down to 70 degrees and that's not too bad, but I've heard of a couple of things that might help, just need opinions about it: One option is to Let it sit overnight with a lid on it and pitch in the morning. Another is to use less water in the boil, bring extra water to near-freezing point, and add that water to the wort after the boil. I've heard that can bring down temps 100 degrees in a half-hour. Opinions?

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