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Old 05-03-2011, 05:21 AM   #1
joetothemo
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Dec 2010
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Fun experiment:

Brewed a half batch of Amber Ale for my Pops visit. 3 Gallons with 2 gallons of wort at end of boil.

I used 1 Gallon ice block to top it back up and cool.

To my surprise, between the 33% ice and the ice bath it was sitting in, I hit 60f from boiling in 8:00 minutes. EIGHT MINUTES.

To say it produced a clear beer is an understatement. This iPhone pic does no justice.

(Sorry, I forgot to take a pic until I was almost finished with the last bottle ...Hic....... BURP)

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Old 05-03-2011, 03:31 PM   #2
Wyrmwood
 
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If I understand correctly, you are saying you got a very clear beer by topping up with ice rather than with water? That sounds worth an experiment... I was considering getting some 3 gallon and 1 gallon carboys so I can split up batches and start experimenting. This sounds like an easy experiment.
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Old 05-03-2011, 03:37 PM   #3
Runyanka
 
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Yep, the better the cold break, the clearer the beer.
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Old 05-03-2011, 03:42 PM   #4
ajwillys
 
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Did you make your own ice from boiled water in sanitized containers? If not, there is a concern for contamination, especially if you used bagged ice.

I used to do this when I was extract. I had a huge gallon rubbermaid container. The day before I'd boil some water, sanitize the container, then cool and freeze it. Of course, I did all this 24+ hours before brewing. When it came time, I'd just drop this giant cube into the fermentor. Worked well.

 
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Old 05-03-2011, 04:02 PM   #5
tonyolympia
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I have no good cooling system as of yet, so this idea is attractive to me. But is there a danger of cooling it TOO much?

Here's what I mean. In the next week I'll be doing a partial boil extract bitter in my big 10 gallon kettle. If I start with 3 gallons in the boil, end up with 2.5 gallons due to boiloff, I *could* plop 3 gallons of ice in there (prepared with attention to sanitation, of course) to reach the 5.5 gallons needed for my recipe before pouring into my carboy. But in doing so, would I cool my wort to below my yeast's temp range of 57 - 70? Should I use only one or two gallons of ice?

This will be only my third batch, so forgive my noob question.

 
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Old 05-03-2011, 04:20 PM   #6
joetothemo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ajwillys View Post
Did you make your own ice from boiled water in sanitized containers?
Yes. I lost my 3rd ever batch to infection and have become a total sanitation-zealot ever since.

My LHBS sells LME in little 1 gallon food safe buckets ("tiny fermenter buckets"). I Starsan the buckets and fill with pre-boiled, Britta-filtered tap water (same as the rest of my brew). I freeze those guys 2 days before brew day.

During the brew process (about 2-2:30 hours for a mini mash), I leave them out on my sanitized counter top so the ice melts away from the sides and begins to loosens itself.

Right before I add the ice to the wort, I dunk the buckets in my Starsan bucket to clean off any nasties from the outside of the bucket that may transfer into my wort.
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Centennial Pale Ale

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Old 05-03-2011, 04:30 PM   #7
joetothemo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tonyolympia View Post
I have no good cooling system as of yet, so this idea is attractive to me. But is there a danger of cooling it TOO much?

Here's what I mean. In the next week I'll be doing a partial boil extract bitter in my big 10 gallon kettle. If I start with 3 gallons in the boil, end up with 2.5 gallons due to boiloff, I *could* plop 3 gallons of ice in there (prepared with attention to sanitation, of course) to reach the 5.5 gallons needed for my recipe before pouring into my carboy. But in doing so, would I cool my wort to below my yeast's temp range of 57 - 70? Should I use only one or two gallons of ice?

This will be only my third batch, so forgive my noob question.
Are you already doing an ice bath? I do an ice bath and stir the wort (ice and all) with a sanitized stainless steel slotted spoon. I think keeping the wort moving is key...similar to a whirlpool. You keep the cooled wort circulating and moving across the ice and ice bath as much as possible.

From my limited experience, that may be a bit much ice. You don't want to get too cold or else you'll just be waiting around for it to free-rise to pitching temps.

Two weeks ago, I did a 6 gallon batch (3.5 wort) with 2 gal of ice, an ice bath in my sink and some room-temp, pre-boiled water.

That put me at 66f in < 22:00 min. I rocked the bucket for 5:00 and pitched a 2L starter. The whole thing took off in 4-6 hours like a beast (I was sleeping).

Still waiting to see how clean that beer is...but I'll tell ya, I liked shortening my brew night by 15-20 min.
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A Stout I brewed for a guy as a lesson

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Centennial Pale Ale

On Draft:
Imperial Red Ale


 
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Old 05-03-2011, 05:24 PM   #8
tonyolympia
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joetothemo

Are you already doing an ice bath?
An ice bath is impractical for me due to the layout of my house, the dimensions of my sink, and other reasons. My place was built in 1895, so it's different in lots of ways from the typical dwelling.

I would like to give the ice trick a try. It recently occurred to me to try an improvised immersion chiller made out of a cleaned and sanitized stock pot, filled with water and re-freezable picnic ice. I thought I could dunk that into my brew kettle and stir the wort around it.

Maybe I could try 1 gallon of frozen ice in the wort, and have my improvised IC on hand as a fallback in case the temp stabilizes too high after the ice has melted?

 
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Old 05-03-2011, 05:30 PM   #9
joetothemo
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I've done your "improvised IC" with a stainless steel mixing bowl full of ice in the past. As long as everything is pre-boiled and sanitized, you should be ok.

If you can't get the sink to be your ice bath, there are other options out there. Picnic cooler, biga$$ bucket, bath tub. I wouldn't give up on that yet, if I were you. It really is a huge help!
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In Primary:
Amarillo Pale Ale
A Stout I brewed for a guy as a lesson

In Bottles:
Jamil's Belgian Tripel
Centennial Pale Ale

On Draft:
Imperial Red Ale


 
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Old 05-03-2011, 05:30 PM   #10
Wyrmwood
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ajwillys View Post
Did you make your own ice from boiled water in sanitized containers? If not, there is a concern for contamination, especially if you used bagged ice.
I thought the issue was from the contaminants in the freezer? Or do you mean using a sanitized and sealed container?
Quote:

I used to do this when I was extract. I had a huge gallon rubbermaid container. The day before I'd boil some water, sanitize the container, then cool and freeze it. Of course, I did all this 24+ hours before brewing. When it came time, I'd just drop this giant cube into the fermentor. Worked well.
So do you seal the rubber maid? I like the idea of one giant cube. Seems like a milk jug or other container with a small opening would be a pain...
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