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Old 12-09-2007, 12:49 AM   #1
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Default Poor Man's Wort Cooler

I just brewed my first batch today after being out of the hobby for about 3 years. Finally have a big enough place to brew!

So today I brewed a Brewer's Best German Oktoberfest Kit (Partial Mash). My brewpot is only a 4 gallon so I had about 2.5 gallons of hot wart I needed to cool down. I thought that just dumping in the rest of my cold water along with the wort into the fermenter would do the trick, but it did not.

I figured that this was not a fool-proof plan so I already had the bath tub filled with cold water. After letting the wort sit in the tub for about 15 minutes I didn't notice much of a change so I sanitized 2 large ziplock bags and loaded them full of ice and dropped them in the fermenter.

This didn't cool the wort lightning fast or anything but was a noticable improvement. I am hoping that I didn't take too much of a chance contaminating the wort with the ziplocks but I will let you all know in a month or two when I taste it.

Might be worth a try if you don't have a wort cooler. Definately not a replacement but it gets the poor man by!

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Old 12-09-2007, 01:28 AM   #2
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You'd have been better off using an ice bath on your brew pot for a half hour. likely have to change the water out 2-3 times.

keep stirring it too. You can easily cool 2.5 gallons of 200F wort to 75F in under 30 minutes with a water/ice bath.

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Old 12-09-2007, 03:16 AM   #3
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I've read some instructions that suggest you not aerate the wort until it's ready (correct temp) for the yeast. Does stirring while it's cooling down negatively affect the beer?

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Old 12-09-2007, 06:20 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by malkore
You'd have been better off using an ice bath on your brew pot for a half hour. likely have to change the water out 2-3 times.

keep stirring it too. You can easily cool 2.5 gallons of 200F wort to 75F in under 30 minutes with a water/ice bath.

I am sure you are probably right. The metal of the brew pot alone probably would have crated a better heat transfer. The reason i didn't do this was a combo of a small kitchen sink, and I thought that the extra 2.5 gallons of H20 I was adding would reduce the temp more that it did.

As far as stirring up the wort goes I am not sure. I hear that it needs to be oxygentated (espeacillly in full boils) and normally folks do that after the wort is cool, not sure if doing it at a higher temperature affects the taste or not. If so, I would like to know the theory behind that.

As a sidenote, fermintation started about 7 hours after pitching.
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Old 12-09-2007, 06:38 AM   #5
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You do NOT want to aerate the wort while it is still hot, this will lead to hot side aeration (HSA), which will speed up the oxidation of your wort. NOT a good thing. You are correct, that AFTER you have cooled the wort, then you want to aerate, so that the yeast have an optimum growing environment, but ONLY after you have cooled to pitching temperatures.

As to stirring, as long as you are not aggressive with your stirring, you can stir hot wart with minimal concern for HSA.

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Old 12-09-2007, 06:38 AM   #6
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I just used my kids' little pool as my ice bath. Sink is too small. Just take a $5 Wal-Mart kiddie pool and a couple of frozen milk jugs, and you have a cheap chiller. Got me from boiling to 80 degrees in 15 minutes. I have the luxury of a yard, though.
As for stirring the wort- do it gently till cool, then you can pitch and aerate. There is a scary monster called "hot side aeration" that some guys believe, some don't. Use the search function for it- lots of opinions.

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Old 12-09-2007, 03:30 PM   #7
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I suspect the hot wort sanitized the bags, above and beyond the sanitization you did first. I've frozen soda bottles of water, sanitized them and used them to cool the wort.

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Old 12-09-2007, 03:33 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by david_42
I suspect the hot wort sanitized the bags, above and beyond the sanitization you did first. I've frozen soda bottles of water, sanitized them and used them to cool the wort.
That is the Alton Brown technique from his "Amber Waves" episode that so many around here have seen, and so many complain about...
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Old 12-09-2007, 04:31 PM   #9
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Hot Side Aeration is a highly debated topic/issue. I think you'll find a lot of the sage-like brewers on this forum think its a non-issue.

even if it is, you can still gently stir hot wort to speed up the cooling process by creating more contact with the the cooler brew pot walls, without splashing the hell out of it.
I stir for the entire 25minutes it takes my chiller to cool 5.5gallons of boiling wort to 75F, and none of my beers present any kind of oxidized flavors.

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Old 12-09-2007, 09:23 PM   #10
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Can someone please describe the "oxidized flavor" caused by HSA?

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