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Old 02-27-2012, 01:41 PM   #1
Naptown
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Default Wort chiller vs. Ice Bath

I saw the other thread and it seems everyone recommends the wort chiller. I still haven't bought one and wonder what you guys think about the ice batch method. I have the ability to make as much ice as I need (I have a walk in freezer), so cost should not weigh into this as a factor.

I have had extremely good luck with this 55 gallon drum that is cut in half. I put a bottling spigot on the bottom, so I can drain water, add ice, add water etc... if needed. I'm doing a full 6 gallon boil, in this 32 quart aluminum cookpot. It cooled my wort to about 70 degrees in about 20 minutes.



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Old 02-27-2012, 02:00 PM   #2
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The fact that you got it down to 70 in 20 minutes tells me you don't need a wort chiller. That is awesome.

The only reason you would want a wort chiller would probably be convenience. I assume that it takes you a while to fill and drain that bucket. Wort chiller maintenance doesn't take long at all.


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Old 02-27-2012, 03:09 PM   #3
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I ice bath in my sink. only done two brews got it down in about 20 minutes as well,I just plug the sink fill with ice water,unplug it and refill ect until the wort temp is down,takes about 20 minutes also. my LHBS sells wort chillers for like 60$ and since the two brews I have done ,the ice bath method worked I doubt I'll drop that,or at the very most ,make a wort chiller myself.
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Old 02-27-2012, 03:28 PM   #4
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In Houston, our groundwater is generally pretty warm, so I would have to get a plate chiller in addition to an immersion chiller, and, frankly, the idea of just dropping the kettle in a bucket of ice, as you have done here, seems simple and refreshing. Definitely good work on your setup - 20 minute cool down is solid!
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Old 02-27-2012, 03:35 PM   #5
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With a thick ice bath like that, there's no need for a chiller. If it works, do it!
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Old 02-27-2012, 04:25 PM   #6
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With a setup like that, the only reason I can think to switch to a chiller is to avoid picking up a pot of near boiling wort. I try to avoid that as much as possible unless I'm dealing with small scale stove top stuff.
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Old 02-27-2012, 04:34 PM   #7
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A wort chiller sounds like a great , albeit costly, idea. However, I prefer the sink ice batch method myself. I wouldn't want to worry about dropping in a coiled chiller into my nice, fresh sanitized wort. Also, who the heck would want to clean it and store it when your done????
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Old 02-27-2012, 04:47 PM   #8
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Can anyone comment on the impact of an ice bath on a stainless steel pot? My brew kettle is a fairly nice stainless steel one with an aluminum insert in the bottom and it warns not to suddenly expose it to cold temps. I'm concerned that the rapid cycling may cause it to distort. My stove is an electric one, so it's fairly important that the bottom stay flat to get good contact on the burner element.

Anyone have thoughts or experience? I suspect I'm going to get a chiller one of these days, but I'm curious about this anyway.
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Old 02-27-2012, 04:50 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NJtarheel View Post
A wort chiller sounds like a great , albeit costly, idea. However, I prefer the sink ice batch method myself. I wouldn't want to worry about dropping in a coiled chiller into my nice, fresh sanitized wort. Also, who the heck would want to clean it and store it when your done????
I dont use a chiller myself, but from what I gather, the trick is to submerge it in the wort close to the end of your boil thus taking care of the sanitizing issue.

I think my next major purchase will be a chiller. Getting a little tired of buying and storing bags of ice every brew day.
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Old 02-27-2012, 05:27 PM   #10
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I've used an ice bath in my sink for my first two batches and it cooled my wort down in about 20-25 minutes which is not bad at all. Out of convenience I bought a chiller, mostly because hauling 2-3 bags of ice up 3 flights of stairs to my apartment is a PITA, but I used my chiller now on my most recent batch and it chilled it down in a whopping 8 minutes! Granted I'm doing extract brewing and chilling about 3 gallons of wort, so a larger batch would probably take a bit longer, but so far I'm very happy with my purchase.


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