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Old 03-28-2008, 06:32 PM   #1
Caine
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Default Cooling wort question

I'm getting ready to brew a batch of beer using malt extracts (my 2nd brewing attempt) and had a question about chilling the wort after boiling.

In Papazian's "The New Complete Joy of Home Brewing", I found a way of cooling wort that doesn't seem to require a wort chiller and I wanted to make sure I understood it correctly. The way I get what he is saying is that you just fill the primary fermenter with like 3 gallons of chilled water and just boil the extract, hops, etc. in a more concentrated 1.5-2gallon brewpot and then pour them into the cold solution to rapidly cool the hot wort to rapidly bring it to a temp that's okay to pitch yeast. I understand that maybe it won't go -all- the way down to 70-75F, but I'm assuming this is a shortcut to putting all 5 gallons in a brew pot, then trying to cool everything from boiling to pitching temp without having to either have a wort cooler or try to move to an ice-filled sink and then pour what I am imagining is a rather unwieldy 5 gallons of liquid into the primary fermenter all at once.

Am I understanding this correctly? Is this a good way to chill the wort?

Thanks!

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Old 03-28-2008, 06:42 PM   #2
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The problems associated with adding cooled water to hot wort are in assuring that bacterium aren't in the cooled water. Even ice can have a high bacterial load, albeit dormant.

Another method is to fill clean (inside and out - No labels or goo) plastic bottles with water and freeze them. You'll need several. At cooling time you dunk the frozen bottles into a sanitizer and then into the mixed wort.

This IMO is the most sanitary method without the use of a chiller. Might as well get or build a chiller because in the short term waiting for the wort to cool is gonna get old fast.

If you can hammer a nail in straight 3 out of 5 times in a row, you can build a chiller. If not, ya' might consider just buying one.

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Old 03-28-2008, 06:44 PM   #3
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Well, I think you pretty much got it. BUT, what I would do is this- chill the 2 gallons in a cold water/ice bath in the sink to under 100 degrees, then put that in your primary and add water to get you to 5 gallons. That way you don't over or under-cool it. The first time, I added the water like you described, and it took a LONG time to get under 90 degrees, and then I had 5 gallons of too hot to pitch the yeast wort, instead of 2 gallons of too-hot wort. To take a boiling liquid and cool with with cold water or even ice doesn't work as well as an ice bath.

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Old 03-28-2008, 07:24 PM   #4
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I usually fill my kitchen sink (er - brewery sink) with ice water and put my boiling pot right into it when I am done with my boil (I generally do two gallon boils). I leave it there until all the ice melts (usually about ten or fifteen minutes), then put it into my fermenter with water right out of whatever container it was in, freshly opened. I use either a five gallon jug of water or five one gallon ones (plus a little extra in either case to account for boiling off).

The quick cooling helps you to get a decent cold break. I've look at wort chillers and someday I might invest in one, but for now this method works fine (I'm pretty low tech and non-gear oriented in my brewing).

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Old 03-28-2008, 08:04 PM   #5
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SteveM,

When you say "then put it into my fermenter with water right out of whatever container it was in, freshly opened", do you mean you use bottled/distilled water?

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Old 03-28-2008, 09:12 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Caine
SteveM,

When you say "then put it into my fermenter with water right out of whatever container it was in, freshly opened", do you mean you use bottled/distilled water?
Not distilled - spring water. I use it right out of the container without extra boiling. I think if you ask around a bit, you will find that many people do the same. Some people like distilled water but I hate how it tastes and can't imagine that it would make good beer. My tap water is not so great tasting (to put it mildly) compared with spring water. This has nothing to do with whether it is safe to drink - I have no doubt that it is - it's just about flavor.
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Old 03-28-2008, 09:40 PM   #7
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I get gallon jugs of water at the supermarket, and put them in the fridge the morning of brew day. By the time i'm done boiling, I cool the wort down to about 90º, then put it in the carboy and add cold water. It usually makes it down to the 60's.

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Old 03-28-2008, 09:49 PM   #8
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Many people will buy a gallon of bottled water, and freeze it. Brew as usual, then when you are done with the boil, cut the frozen cube of bottled water out of the packing and put it into the sanitized fermenter. Then pour your concentrated wort on top of it. Stir with a (sanitized) spoon or paddle and add the rest of your unfrozen bottled water to attain your 5 gallon volume. Works pretty quickly, I did this on my first few extract batches.

However, the best way, as mentioned above, is to do a full boil and use an immersion chiller to quickly cool the wort.

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Old 03-28-2008, 10:46 PM   #9
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One thing to realize if you use papazian's method is NOT to do that in a glass carboy....there is a risk of thermal shock to the glass, and possible shattering...I've done it a couple times in plastic buckets with ice cold water...but I just find it easier to do it in a salt water ice batch in my sink, changing out the water three times, and I get it down into the 80's in around 1/2 hour, then add it to 70'ish degree water in the fermenter.

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