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Old 02-16-2010, 04:41 AM   #1
Jan 2010
Southwestern PA
Posts: 120
Liked 4 Times on 4 Posts

I'm about to brew my first batch tomorrow, a B3 American Red Ale extract, and I'm thinking about how I'm going to cool it down. Does anyone make use of all the snow and cold in the NE especially to quickly cool their wort? I'm wondering if it'd cool quicker outside in the ~30 degree garage with a lid on than with a sink water bath.

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Old 02-16-2010, 04:44 AM   #2
CrazyJames's Avatar
Aug 2009
Calgary, AB Canada
Posts: 89

Dont stick it in a snowbank, the snow acts as an insulator.

I tried just letting it sit in my garage at ~30 degrees and left it for about 12 hours and then pitched, which worked but you do risk some aeration, infection etc.

Probably best off with the sink water bath, you could also bring in shovels of snow to use instead of ice...

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Old 02-16-2010, 06:02 AM   #3
mojotele's Avatar
Jan 2010
Baltimore, MD
Posts: 833
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Yeah, don't stick it in the snow, and you won't get the really fast cooling you'd want by leaving it in the garage.

As CrazyJames said, you could use snow in the water bath instead of ice. I'd think the snow would melt awfully quick, though, so you probably won't get much use out of it.

When you have the finances, I highly recommend buying or building (cheaper) an immersion chiller. I held off buying one for quite awhile, but once I had one I really don't know how I did without it.

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Old 02-16-2010, 08:50 AM   #4
Dec 2009
Posts: 151

I put a tub of water outside before I start brewing. By the time my wort is ready, the water is just about freezing, usually with a film of ice over the surface. This brings 2.5-3 gallons down to 70F in about 1/2 hour with an outdoor temp in the high teens - 20's.

"We brewers donít make beer, we just get all the ingredients together and the beer makes itself."
~ Fritz Maytag, President Anchor Brewing

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Old 02-16-2010, 01:13 PM   #5
Nov 2009
Northfield, Minnesota
Posts: 162
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I have tried putting it in the snowbank and CrazyJames is right. It melted the snow and left an air barrier then didn't cool much at all. The last couple of batches, I've just scooped up snow and added it to the water in the sink and it cooled extremely quickly. (I would then scoop off the top of the water where it's the warmest and add another big scoop of snow).

I just bought the parts to make an immersion chiller but I wouldn't if I had snow here year-round.
Member of the Milltown Mashers

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Old 02-16-2010, 02:10 PM   #6
Jan 2010
Posts: 57
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Winter tap water works better than a snow drift. You can bring 5 gal wort down to 70 deg in 15 -20 minutes.

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Old 02-16-2010, 02:52 PM   #7
Sep 2009
SIDNEY, ohio
Posts: 3,526
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I agree on the immersion chiller. I found some 3/8 inch refrigeration tubing ( copper) at LOWES in 20 foot rolls for $18.00 I bought two rolls and connected them by setting the rolls side by side and connecting them at the bottom with a 90 degree elbow ( uses 1/4 inch connectors) then intertwined the coils. ( look up ribcage chiller) hooked up some hoses I already had here and viola. A wort chiller is born lol...used it 3 times so far and it has cooled boiling to pitching in 15 minutes or less every time. I do move it around in the wort however as that aids in the cooling process.
Originally Posted by Mikethepoolguy View Post
I started brewing 69 days ago, 35 gal so far. SWMBO hasnt complained yet! Better than the hookers, gambling, and crack I used to do, I guess.

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Old 02-16-2010, 03:00 PM   #8
Oct 2009
Valparaiso, Indiana
Posts: 808
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I have been using the ice bath method and it works great. I have been using a utility sink that I preload with snow. I know some will say not to do it, but I stir the wort while its chilling. I will also stir the ice water. So far, it has been chilling 2.5 gal in about 10 minutes. This summer, I'm probably going to have to cave and either buy or build a wort chiller. I could buy bags of ice, but that just seems like an unnecessary expense. Plus, gadgets are cool.

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Old 02-16-2010, 05:50 PM   #9
Mar 2009
Menomonie, WI
Posts: 476
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Snow usually melts away too fast, and then you get a layer of air between the pot and the snow. Water works great because it is always in contact with the pot.

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Old 02-16-2010, 06:07 PM   #10
Jan 2010
Posts: 119
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I've done a total of 4 brews and all 4 I used snow and water in the sink to cool wort. usually takes 10-15 minutes to cool 2.5-3 gallons to about 80*F.

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