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Old 06-11-2012, 12:03 AM   #1
MistFM
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Default Cooling wort like a noob.

So I bottled my first 5 gallon batch today (honey brown ale) and brewed my second kit ever (summer ale), and boy did I learn a lot! I thought I'd post this so any other new people can read and learn from this so they don't make the same mistakes I did.

I don't have a wort cooler, so I was thinking that I could just put my wort in the sink with a cold water/ice bath to cool it off. Little did I know that my wort was going to be ~ 200 F and would melt all the ice that my fridge makes in 10 minutes. After 2 hours of waiting for my wort to chill to < 90 F I decided to get some ice from the store. If you are going to brew and don't have a wort chiller, be sure to have a ton of extra ice so that you can cool your wort down.

I am definitely going to buy/make a wort chiller before I brew again, because that was such a pain in the ass and I hope that having it exposed and continually dipping my spoon to stir and thermometer to measure temperature didn't infect my batch.

Any other methods out there to cool your wort without taking all day?

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Old 06-11-2012, 12:07 AM   #2
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No need for a chiller yet. Sanitize some water bottles and put them in the freezer and then just add them to the wort as you cool. Keep cool water and ice around your pot as well :rocking:

That or boil a couple gallons and freeze them. You can then use that as your addition to the wort to make 5 gallons.

edit: just make sure to keep everything CLEAN

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Old 06-11-2012, 12:08 AM   #3
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If you're doing full boils ( all 5 gallons) then I'd recommend a standard wort chiller. I only boil 2.5 gallons, give it an ice bath and then add 2.5 gallons of cold water. That gets me down to the correct temp. I'd love to do full boils but don't have a wort chiller.

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Old 06-11-2012, 12:12 AM   #4
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I use frozen gatorade bottles which are the same ones I use for my swamp cooler during fermenting. Keep heaps of them in the freezer. Although I don't put them directly in the wort but just keep the water surrounding my pot good and cold. Doesn't take too long if you keep them coming in there and it gives me time to clean up other stuff while that is chilling.

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Old 06-11-2012, 12:13 AM   #5
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I do about 3 - 4 gallon boil, my pot is a "5 gallon" pot, but every time I pour into primary it's short 1.5 - 2 gallons. I just didn't realize that I'd run out of ice so fast and that it'd take so long to chill.

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Old 06-11-2012, 12:14 AM   #6
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I just did my first batch last night and used a water bath in the sink to cool the wort. It was a PITA, but it didn't take two hours. I would fill the sink and add some ice. When the water in the sink got hot, I'd remove the pot, drain the sink and start again. I eventually seemed to get about a 10 degree drop with each fresh cold water/ice bath. I agree that I need to find a better way before my next brewing day.

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Old 06-11-2012, 12:19 AM   #7
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I've been using the sink method for a while now, this may help:

Don't put your ice in until you want to drop those last ten degrees or so. Let the cold water take all the heat out and just drain and refill with fresh cold water, frequently at first. Like 5 minutes for the first change, again 10 minutes later, then again like 15 minutes after that. I get mine to pitching temp in less than an hour, with maybe 5 water changes and minimal ice. I don't even put the ice in until the wort is around 80f, you don't really need it until then and like you discovered it will just melt immediately.

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Old 06-11-2012, 12:35 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrclean View Post
No need for a chiller yet. Sanitize some water bottles and put them in the freezer and then just add them to the wort as you cool. Keep cool water and ice around your pot as well :rocking:

That or boil a couple gallons and freeze them. You can then use that as your addition to the wort to make 5 gallons.

edit: just make sure to keep everything CLEAN
Not necessary to sanitize the bottles before you freeze them as they can easily get contaminated in the freezer. Have a StarSan solution ready.. dip the water bottles and then put in the hot wort.

As a thought about freezing water.. rather than using bottles, you can use those tapered food containers with the snap on lids... they usually all have tapered sides allowing easy removal of the ice to drop in the hot wort. Sanitize the containers and the lids and freeze the boiled and cooled water, and cap. Just to be safe, I'd remove the lid from the frozen container(s), dip in StarSan (which might help release the ice from the containers) and dump in the wort.

My son is having this issue. He's in Germany and doesn't have easy access to goodies like a chiller yet.
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Old 06-11-2012, 01:32 AM   #9
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Instead of gatoraide or soda bottles, if you are using lme clean the plastic containers they come in, fill with water and freeze. Recycling is awesome!

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Old 06-11-2012, 03:21 AM   #10
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Wow guys, thanks for the advice/help. Most forums I've been on the noobs are treated like crap, but all of this helps out a lot. Next time I brew I'm going to have some ice ready, whether that's in water bottles or just bagged ice or whatever.

I like what you said ChessRockwell about adding the ice at the end. We just used cold sink water to get the temp down to 90, just that last 15 degrees took forever, but once we put a bag of ice in the sink it cooled off very quickly.

Regardless, this is an awesome hobby and it's even better with HBT.

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