Adding ice to cool the wort down?

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ANewrBrewr

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This may seem like a "dumb" question, however.......Why not just add ice to your wort to bring down to yeast temps.? I understand that by adding new water to the wort you will dilute it and that will have slight variance on your flavor, very minimal I'm assuming (i brew 7 gallon batches, so possible adding one gallon worth of ice). However it seems that for all of the hassle of counterflows, chillers and other devices it would be easier to just add ice. I also understand the sanitation issues with ice as well.

:tank:
 

Slowfro

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When I did extract batches I would do a 3 gallon boil and then use ice as my top-off water which cooled to pitch temps in no time. People will argue that it's not a good practice, but it worked for me a handful of times.

Ever since I moved to having equipment capable of doing full boils though I haven't done that at all.
 

Timmyg316

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So far every batch I've made has used ice as the top up liquid. It is more sanitary then water because commercial ice is made from spring water (just like bottled water) and is sealed in plastic bags. Unlike water, ice is colder so you can get the temp of your wort down faster thus limiting exposure to foreign microbes. I'm not too sure about other cooling rigs, but I am fairly certain they are more expensive than a bag of ice and probably require regular cleaning to be sanitary. :mug:
 

tre9er

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The concern is sanitation, and that's it. If you never have an infected batch, you'll never wonder if it was the ice.

Formulate your recipe as a partial boil and the flavor will be just what you want after topping-up with ice.
 

dcp27

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its a sanitation problem. you can freeze ice in bottles and toss those in if you sanitize the bottle

So far every batch I've made has used ice as the top up liquid. It is more sanitary then water because commercial ice is made from spring water (just like bottled water) and is sealed in plastic bags.:
commercial ice is actually considered unsanitary.
 

tre9er

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Commercial bagged ice is regulated as a food product by the FDA. Whether this guarantees that it is sanitary enough for dumping into wort, I don't know. But you could say the same thing about bottled water.

http://www.foodsafety.gov/blog/packaged_ice.html
My only point would be that one is completely sealed and the other is not. Most ice bags have tiny holes all over them.
 

dstranger99

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Frozen water bottles work effectively for 5 gallon batches, I drop 6 in the BK and add more cold water in the primary to get pitching temp, it's just not worth the risk using ice, it could ruin your whole batch.

From John Palmer:

Ice


People often wonder about adding ice directly to the cooling wort. This idea works well if you remember a couple key points.

Never use commercial ice. It can harbor dormant bacteria that could spoil your beer.
Always boil the water before freezing it in an airtight container (like Tupperware). It must be airtight because most freezers also harbor dormant bacteria.
If the ice will not directly contact the wort, (i.e. you are using a frozen plastic soda bottle or other container in the wort) make sure you sanitize the outside of the bottle first before you put it in the wort.
 

Timmyg316

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I guess the consensus is that bagged ice is ok if you check for holes? Also, if you do get a contaminated batch, consider another brand of ice.
 

ACbrewer

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The problem with saying that commerical ice is FDA approved as food safe is that the FDA may have a bacteria count acceptable going into a general consumption in the near time (ie 2 or 3 hours after being put into a soda) and not after 2 weeks of existance in a growth media (aka wort). One of the books (Palmer? Papazani?) mentions that you are after sanatized, not sterlized and adding so much yeast that it over powers anything else that survived to that point in the process. So by adding commerical ice (or unsanatized home ice) is asking for trouble. There is almost no surface of the earth that doesn't have some bacteria living on it.

If you really want to add ice to the wort, either 1 freeze bottles and sanatize the outside and remove bottle. 2. make sanatized ice by some method (ex. microwave water in container, with lid, to a boil. Move said container with lid to freezer and freeze add to wort later).
 

ZombieBrew83

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I've made many batches by cooling wort with Ice. I aim to finish my boil with about 4 gallons left over then add about 1.5 gallons of ice made from sanitized (boiled) water frozen in sterilized ziploc containers. No infections yet (25 batches and counting) and it gets the beer down to about 75 in 10 minutes. I also have my BK in a sink filled with cold water to help knock down the temp.

I've never tried commercial ice for the reasons listed above. You might be playing with fire (oh the irony) with that practice.
 

davekippen

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If I am topping off with water, I buy a few gallons of distilled water from the store and put them in the freezer when I start brewing. By the time I am ready to cool the wort they are super cold, so I top off with "almost freezing" water. Just as effective and gives me a little more piece of mind when it comes to sanitation.
 

Timmyg316

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If I am topping off with water, I buy a few gallons of distilled water from the store and put them in the freezer when I start brewing. By the time I am ready to cool the wort they are super cold, so I top off with "almost freezing" water. Just as effective and gives me a little more piece of mind when it comes to sanitation.
thats actually pretty good :)
 
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Awesome thanks everyone. So it seems that you can just boil then freeze water (in an airtight container) and you have no worries! So if it is that easy and that effective at cooling then why would people (myself being one) buy all of this expensive and labor intensive equipment for cooling the wort? It seems silly.
 

tre9er

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Because while it may have only a slight impact, carmelization, hops utilization, etc. are affected by less wort at a higher gravity.
 

ACbrewer

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Because while it may have only a slight impact, carmelization, hops utilization, etc. are affected by less wort at a higher gravity.
Sure they might be or not (there is a debate about this). I will assume not doing a full boil decreases overall flavor (in part because I think it does). If you are doing stovetop unaided brewing. Boiling 5 gallons of wort is between very hard and impossible to do. There just isn't the power out of a single burner this way. That means that the OP and I use top off water to get to our 5 gallons well 5.5 I expect .5 gallons of trub. If the OP wants to find a way of making sanatized ice to use instead of water, more power to him. I'll stick with what is working for me (ice bath and time)
 

johnny5000

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With my first batch of beer, I bought a bag of commercial ice and filled the sink with it to cool down my wort. As I was trying to even out the ice around the pot, a few ice cubes fell into the wort (after sitting in my not-sanitized sink full of ice and tap water.) I was pretty sure I'd end up with a disgusting infected brew, but it turned out fine.

Of course, this doesn't mean I'm going to dump a bunch of ice into my wort to cool it, but it worked out OK in this one case.
 

tre9er

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Sure they might be or not (there is a debate about this). I will assume not doing a full boil decreases overall flavor (in part because I think it does). If you are doing stovetop unaided brewing. Boiling 5 gallons of wort is between very hard and impossible to do. There just isn't the power out of a single burner this way. That means that the OP and I use top off water to get to our 5 gallons well 5.5 I expect .5 gallons of trub. If the OP wants to find a way of making sanatized ice to use instead of water, more power to him. I'll stick with what is working for me (ice bath and time)
I didn't argue with doing it, only explained why everyone doesn't, which was asked.
 

AL73

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Cooling the wort is the only thing i wish to be more easily done, i use a 50 ft SS wort chiller and in the summer i have little extra work reaching the apropiate desired temps (let say 65F-68F), but no problem during the winter
I think using frozen water bottles is a good idea, im just concern about if it is a plastic reaction with high temp,. yeah i know the bottles are freeze but just wondering if someone have an idea of this

saludoss

Al
 

tre9er

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I'm definitely going the "pond pump in bucket of ice-water" method as soon as I can. Running ~35* water through the IC should make a huge difference.
 
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ANewrBrewr

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It sounds like you are actually putting the plastic jugs in the wort?? Why would you do that? If adding ice I would just simply freeze the water in baking pans or tupperware or something the night before the brew and drop the giant ice cube in. I also agree with the guys about adding near freezing water to the wort. FYI-I'm currently doing 10gallon batches full grain using two wort chillers; one in the wort and one as a pre-chiller in a 5 gallon ice bath. We can bring the temps. down pretty quickly, but as you can see it is a lot of equipment, cleaning, sanitizing, etc. That is why I would love to just add the cold water/ice as a top off. Sometime I will compare the final product to the same beer I've brewed using the chillers and see if there is a difference. Next batch will be the first wet hopped IPA from the greenhouse hops!!
:mug:
 

ACbrewer

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Frozen sanatized water bottles don't change the wort volume. If you are a full volume brewer, then it woudl be a way to go to help speed chilling in absence of a wort chiller.
 
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ANewrBrewr

ANewrBrewr

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Sooooo I just brewed using ice to cool the temp. down instead of my wort chiller (well that was the plan). So we added 1 gallon of near frozen water, 33F to 4 gallons of wort.....the temps went from around 200 to about 140! Pretty fast drop, but far from where I need to be, around 70F. I ended up hooking the wort chiller up to bring it the rest of the way down. I think next time I will use the wort chiller to bring the temps down to around 90 then add some ice to finish the job, for me the last 10-20 degrees are the hardest to drop, probably due to the fact that the water going into my wort chiller is around 80F (I live in the desert).

So if one wants to use ice to bring temps down from boiling I'm assuming you would have to use at least a 50/50 ratio of ice to wort, that makes doing a full boil impossible, and this is why people use wort chillers. TA-DA! I knew there would be a reason, but no one seemed to have the answer.
 

dfc

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This may seem like a "dumb" question, however.......Why not just add ice to your wort to bring down to yeast temps.? I understand that by adding new water to the wort you will dilute it and that will have slight variance on your flavor, very minimal I'm assuming (i brew 7 gallon batches, so possible adding one gallon worth of ice). However it seems that for all of the hassle of counterflows, chillers and other devices it would be easier to just add ice. I also understand the sanitation issues with ice as well.

:tank:
I did this all of the time when I used to do partial boils. It worked perfectly for me every time.
 

dfc

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Commercial bagged ice is regulated as a food product by the FDA. Whether this guarantees that it is sanitary enough for dumping into wort, I don't know. But you could say the same thing about bottled water.

http://www.foodsafety.gov/blog/packaged_ice.html
I don't trust the FDA anyway, but I always filtered my own water and put it in rubbermaid containers in the freezer. It always worked just fine.
 

tre9er

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So if one wants to use ice to bring temps down from boiling I'm assuming you would have to use at least a 50/50 ratio of ice to wort, that makes doing a full boil impossible, and this is why people use wort chillers. TA-DA! I knew there would be a reason, but no one seemed to have the answer.
We had the answer. The people who suggested the method you used likely were talking about partial boils that added significant amounts of water to top-off. Either way, it's a math problem. The only real fast way to chill wort is counter-flow or plate-chiller, many of which can chill it to pitching temps as it drains into the fermenter as opposed to 10-15 minutes chilling in the kettle THEN racking to fermenter.
 

LoboViejo

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My first post here..I am also from Tijuana Mexico, and I use a combination of ice surrounding the pot, cold water and some ice cubes inside...this ice cubes are from a bag I got from the around the corner store, so it is sanitized....my batches are 5 glls, so my question here, is, does this changes the OG drastically?
 
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wow.I learned something new today. even though I already have a wort chiller, would I use frozen water bottles knowing what I know now? you betcha. How many regular sized frozen water bottles would it take? I may use this idea during the hot summer months, to finish cooling the wort when my water temps from the hose will be 85 degrees
 

ACbrewer

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My first post here..I am also from Tijuana Mexico, and I use a combination of ice surrounding the pot, cold water and some ice cubes inside...this ice cubes are from a bag I got from the around the corner store, so it is sanitized....my batches are 5 glls, so my question here, is, does this changes the OG drastically?
It is generally a bad practice to add ice cubes to your wort as they can pick up bacteria while freezing. Usually something settles in an ice tray or there is something in a commercial setup, etc. OK to eat, but leaving it in a sugar solution for a week with yeast can cause a bad batch of beer.

As to your question. your OG should be calculated to a given volume. So if you use extract, and are suposed to start the ferment at 5 gallons, then adding ice and water to a partial boil til it gets to 5 gallon you should be fine. I'd still be concerned about ice and it possibly carrying bacteria, but other than that, as long as your final volume is about what you were supposed to have, adding water or ice wouldn't change OG
 

CSS

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It is generally a bad practice to add ice cubes to your wort as they can pick up bacteria while freezing. Usually something settles in an ice tray or there is something in a commercial setup, etc. OK to eat, but leaving it in a sugar solution for a week with yeast can cause a bad batch of beer.
Don't make the ice in an ice cube tray.

I bought zip lock containers. The night before I'll boil a bunch of water. While the water is boiling, I'll soak the containers and covers in sanitized solution. Allow water to cool a bit, pour in the water, and seal. Place in freezer overnight.

During the brew, take out containers. As long as the sides melt, the block of ice will fall right out.

Hint: Use the stirring spoon to gently drop the ice block into the wort. Otherwise you'll get wort on your ceiling like I did.
 

FrostyJR

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And now I am worried... Why couldn't I have read this post Saturday before I used ice from the freezer tray to cool down my Irish Stout wort? Guess I will just cross my fingers and hope for the best. We'll call this part of the learning process.
 

ZombieBrew83

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And now I am worried... Why couldn't I have read this post Saturday before I used ice from the freezer tray to cool down my Irish Stout wort? Guess I will just cross my fingers and hope for the best. We'll call this part of the learning process.
RDWHAHB

I made this mistake on my first batch and it fermented just fine without getting infected. Using ice directly from your freezer is not a guaranteed infection, it just increases the risk. Proper sanitizing practices are all about mitigating this risk. You'll most likely be fine!
 

glenn514

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I have used store-bought ice on a couple of brews, to no ill effect, but I did check over the bag carefully before I bought it.

glenn514:mug:
 

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I use 3 20ounce bottles that I've frozen, I soak them in a large bowl of starsan with a lid for a couple of minutes. I'll pull the bottles out and place on a sanitized surface and let them drain for a few minutes, transfer the starsan out of the bowl and put the bottles back in the bowl. Cover the bowl with the lid again and throw the bowl back in the freezer. When I get the wort below a hundred degrees or so I'll add the sanitized frozen bottles to the wort with sanitized tongs. This along with my wort chiller helps drop the last 20 or 30 degrees much more quickly.
 

dstranger99

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^

Same here, but I also use a 1/2 gallon frozen water bottle, and drop it right in the hot wort. I just rub them down with Starsan first, then drop them right in.......
 

bootscity

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Sooooo I just brewed using ice to cool the temp. down instead of my wort chiller (well that was the plan). So we added 1 gallon of near frozen water, 33F to 4 gallons of wort.....the temps went from around 200 to about 140! Pretty fast drop, but far from where I need to be, around 70F. I ended up hooking the wort chiller up to bring it the rest of the way down. I think next time I will use the wort chiller to bring the temps down to around 90 then add some ice to finish the job, for me the last 10-20 degrees are the hardest to drop, probably due to the fact that the water going into my wort chiller is around 80F (I live in the desert).

So if one wants to use ice to bring temps down from boiling I'm assuming you would have to use at least a 50/50 ratio of ice to wort, that makes doing a full boil impossible, and this is why people use wort chillers. TA-DA! I knew there would be a reason, but no one seemed to have the answer.
Not 50/50 if the water is frozen.. In fact it will need to be much less since latent heat (melting) is so much bigger than sensible heat.

To decrease temperature almost instantaneosly from 100ºC (boiling temp) to 24ºC (about 75F) you will need 0,72 liters of frozen water for every liter of most (I assumed sensible heat of the most to be the same as water). That means about 3,7 gallons of frozen water for 5 gallons of most (using your nonsense measurments).

I would suggest about 3 gallons inside bottles to not dilute, and about 0,7 gallons of ice to compensate for boiling water.

I really liked the bottles with frozen water idea, I'm gonna use it in my next batches
 

ronjonacron

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I keep several frozen gallon jugs for use in my son of fermentation chamber. Like other have said, its that last 20 degrees that are a pain when your ground water is 80 degrees.

Ill try using my IC until 85 or so then drop in a couple santized frozen jugs. Tired of having to overnight chill for the last 20 degrees.
 

Nummey

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Forgive me if this has already been asked. Assuming a partial boil in a 5 gallon pot. Starting with 3 gallons and then getting down to 2.5 at the end of the boil. Couldnt I just add say 2-2.5 gallons of near frozen store bought water directly to the 5 gallon pot and then use an ice bath to get me to pitching temps. I realize I'd still need a little top off wather to get a bit over the 5 gallon mark in the fermenter. Has anyone done this...how much quicker did the temp drop by adding 2 gallons to the kettle as opposed to adding 2.5 gallons to an ice bath and topping off in fermenter?

thanks
 
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