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Old 06-04-2010, 04:01 AM   #1
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Default Ice cold water straight to brew kettle

I just completed my first batch of homebrew! Should be a delicious brown ale in a few weeks.

To cool the wort I did something rather unorthodox- or at least something I haven't been able to find any mention of online. Instead of adding the wort to cold water in the carboy I added about 2.5 gallons of ice cold water to the brew kettle. I did this while stirring and it dropped the temp down to about 90F in 5 minutes. After I hit 80 I syphoned the wort into the primary and pitched the yeast. It just seemed easier to syphon 5 gallons of 80 degree wort than pour 2 gallons of (near) boiling wort.

I'm probably just being paranoid but why haven't I heard of anyone adding water to the kettle to cool the wort? Is this a bad thing? Thoughts?

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Old 06-04-2010, 04:14 AM   #2
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Same effect, different process. No worries. Doesn't really matter if you pour hot water into something else and then add cold water or add cold water right to the boiling wort to cool it. You'll be fine, so sit back and let the yeast make you some great beer

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Old 06-04-2010, 05:09 AM   #3
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You could also syphon your beer onto ice. People have issues with this though. Mainly because of sanitation and somewhat of a lack of temperature control. Generally, if the ice is made from water you already boiled, most will say you should be fine. The other issue is with the temperature control; what happens if the ice cools your wort too much, or not enough? You have less control overall, but that doesn't mean you don't have control or that your beer will turn out bad.

I did the ice thing with my 1st batch too. Granted, I made soo many mistakes that I can't say for sure that the ice hurt or helped anything. In theory, I don't see anything wrong with it. Just be a little extra careful in your process. If you can boil the water you make ice out of, or the water you cool to ice cold, that would be better. Also, make sure the wort is in the right temperature range before pitching (@70). Depending on how a particular batch works out, it could mean you need to possibly let the wort warm or cool some more, which opens the door for bad stuff to get in a little bit.

Again, overall, I think you'll be fine. Congrats and best of luck to you.
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Old 06-04-2010, 05:52 AM   #4
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It isn't usually that big of a deal, but freezing water doesn't kill all the bugs in water so there is a risk of infection. Sanitation is most important after the end of the boil, so thats why most people avoid it. Chances are, you will have good beer in about a month, so like everyone else said, no worries.
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Old 06-04-2010, 12:45 PM   #5
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Congrats on your first brew!

As mentioned by IronCity - you may want to get it cooler than 80F. Check your yeast - online is a great source - to find the optimum temperature range for your yeast, and err toward the low side.

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Old 06-04-2010, 01:30 PM   #6
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I did the same method with my first 2 beers. I used bottled water that was in the freezer for a couple of hours, for a slushy effect. I also placed the kettle with the slushy/wort in large bucket with ice/water. I got from boiling to 72* in about 7 minutes.
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Old 06-04-2010, 02:11 PM   #7
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I use ice. No problems.....yet.
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Old 06-04-2010, 11:22 PM   #8
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I think the reason you haven't seen mention of this before is because almost by definition the type of brewer that has to do significant topping-off (enough to effect the temp of the wort significantly) of the fermenter does so because they're doing a partial boil, meaning they're more likely to not have a large enough kettle to hold 5 gallons. Of course there are situations where a person does have enough for 5 gallons, but chooses to partial boil for fear of boil over, in which case they still might not want to fill it full to 5 gallons with ice water because it would fill it too close to the top and be difficult to pour.

Hopefully that made sense. If you have sufficient room in your kettle, you might consider doing full wort - or at least a larger % of wort - boil instead of using it to be able to add ice water. I've heard mention of full-wort boils being a significant improvement to people's beers (for better hop utilization, though maybe other reasons, too).
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Old 06-04-2010, 11:36 PM   #9
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I think it would be more efficient/quicker to cool the wort in another vessel (carboy/bucket) as your brew kettle is still kicking off and transferring a lot of heat to the wort, right?
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Old 06-04-2010, 11:36 PM   #10
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just a thought here but I would be careful about pouring hot wort into a cold or cool carboy for fear of it shattering. I've seen many posts on here about carboys magically exploding.

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