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Old 04-02-2007, 12:34 PM   #1
Mar 2007
Greenville, MI
Posts: 122

Saw my pops this weekend and he was talking about this great new method for chilling his partial boil wort. He froze his topoff water in a large cylinder the night before brewing and plopped it into his fermenter, then poured the hot wort right on top of it. He monitored the temperature of the cooling wort as the ice melted and when it got down to the low 70's he pulled out the ice that was left and topped off to 5 gallons with room temp. water.

He wanted to know why he'd never heard of anyone using this as a method for chilling wort before as it worked very fast. My first instinct was to tell him that since neither he nor I had heard of anyone doing it, there must be a reason why, but I could not think of any particular reason.

Anyone have an opinion on the old man's method, good or bad?


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Old 04-02-2007, 12:38 PM   #2
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May 2006
Adams, MA
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Well, hate to tell you....

There are several people around here who do the same. It seems to work for them. Some are worried about sanitation, so some will boil the water to be made to ice, other's don't stress. It's a legitimate method.
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Old 04-02-2007, 12:38 PM   #3
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Oct 2005
Madison WI
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Yeah-- I've heard of such before, except for the pullin gout part. Never heard of anyone trying to extract the ice from the wort to control temp before.
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Old 04-02-2007, 12:43 PM   #4
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Feb 2006
Manhattan, KS
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I think that this would work fine, as long as the container that the water is frozen in is sanitized and preferable sealed while it's freezing.

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Old 04-02-2007, 12:49 PM   #5
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Feb 2005
Atkinson (near the Quad Cities), IL
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I fill 4 each 1 gal water jugs with PUR filtered tap water and put them in the freezer for 4-5 hours prior to brewing. I've been doing that for over 10 years without any problems....from the tap to the freezer.

I only boil 1.5 gals and the wort gets cooled to the 60-70s.
HB Bill

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Old 04-02-2007, 02:07 PM   #6
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Nov 2006
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I'm sure this almost goes without saying, but I would not be trying this method with a glass carboy. That could be very bad.

However, you could get a CPVC pipe to freeze a "tube" of water. Then you could use the method with better bottles.
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Old 04-02-2007, 02:19 PM   #7
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Nov 2006
Central PA
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Originally Posted by kornkob
Yeah-- I've heard of such before, except for the pullin gout part.
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Old 04-02-2007, 02:26 PM   #8
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Aug 2006
Whitehouse Station, NJ
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The Sam Adams homebrewing video suggests this method as well. I've done it in the early days before full boils. If hot side aeration is not a myth, you might want to carefully transfer the hot wort and not violently pour it. If you ever go all grain, it's not possible anymore.
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Old 04-02-2007, 02:26 PM   #9
Dec 2006
Doylestown, PA
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I used to do something very similar when I did partial very well. I would stick my top off water in the freezer, in gallon containers. I would time it so they would be just about ready to freeze when I was transferring the wort to the fermenter. When I added the icy cold top off, it brought my temp down to pitchable regions.

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Old 04-02-2007, 02:38 PM   #10
Sep 2005
Baltimore, MD
Posts: 342

I can agree with this - although i have a modification which seems to work faster -

For probably 10 or more of our brews, we'd purchase 4.5 gallons of water and an 8lb bag of ice cubes, like you'd get for a picnic.

After the partial boil (usually about 3 gallons) we'd dump the ice in the fermentor, pour the nearly boiling wort right over it, and top off to 5 with the room temp gallon of spring water. All the water added post-boil came packaged or bottled and not once did we ever have a contamination issue, even when we accidentally bought bags of ice that had tears in the sides.

From my experience, 3 gallons of boiling wort, 8lbs of ice (which is approx 1 gallon) and 1 gallon room temp water usually hits 75 or 80 degrees in about 2 minutes. Pitch and seal up.

We learned the hard way that the 16lb bags of ice were way too big. Hit temps around 55 degrees... oops! We also tried it once with a single block of ice - that took way too long to melt down to temp. We much prefered the crushed or cubed ice - more surface area and a faster melting time.

I've since moved up to an immersion chiller, for the record.

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