Chilling wort: ice bath plus?

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wlwesq

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(Disclaimer: I tried searching for this question but to no avail. Perhaps I lost my search mojo.)

I've done a couple one-gallon batches. After boiling the wort, I put the pot in an ice bath in the kitchen sink. But that takes a while to cool it down.

Would it be wise or worthwhile to add properly cleaned and sanitized freezer bottles that you stick in small coolers to keep lunch cold? I figure a double-pronged approach might speed things up a bit.

Any downsides? I'm guessing not since some people are putting ice directly in their worts, but thought I'd ask before making a mistake for other people to learn from. ;)

Thanks in advance for your thoughts!
 
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Yes, I would say that it would be acceptable as long as the containers do not leach any unacceptable flavors into your wort when subjected to the high heat. (Make sure they CAN take the heat!)

I'm surprised that it takes very long to cool down such a small batch (1 gallon?). One thing I have found useful is to have 2 separate baths ready...one of just cold water which I use first to take the brunt of the heat down, then I move it to the ice bath shortly thereafter. (This helps keep the ice from melting too quickly and losing its potency.)

I guess a cooling coil is out of the question for a 1 gallon batch...

Best of luck!

Jim
 

jmill

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I would test those freezer packs in boiling water first. Or maybe at a few different temps to figure out when you could add them. Those are usually thinner plastic so I'm not sure they'd hold up to the heat.

Are you stirring the wort while it is in the ice? If not, you can cut your chill time in half by stirring.
 

BeerAddikt

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I regularly cool a 3 gallon boil to around 70 degrees in 20 minutes with an ice bath alone. My ice bath is in a Tupperware container (20 gallons I believe). Try swirling the kettle around the ice bath to help dissipate heat.

I'm not sure I would recommend putting a plastic bottle or ice pack in your hot wort, but I've heard of people actually adding ice to the wort (it must be sanitized of course) to speed up cooling.

You could also freeze 2 liter bottles and put them in the ice bath as they melt much slower and should help as well.

Good luck.
 
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wlwesq

wlwesq

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Good points about the containers standing up to heat. Hadn't thought of that (although I had thought of putting them into a freezer-quality ziplock bag since that might be easier to clean and sanitize). The idea of a two-step bath makes a lot of sense, as does stirring.

I'll have to give those ideas a try as well. I may brew this weekend so I'll report back on how things went.

And, yes, one gallon batches. I think one-gallon brews are a good fit for me. My wife and I don't drink a lot of beer, and it's a lot easier to move a smaller brew kettle around than a big one. Maybe I'll upgrade someday. :)

Thanks!
 

tgolanos

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Stir the wort while it's in the ice-bath but you can also stir the ice water in the opposite direction to help speed things up. You want to keep as much of the wort in contact with the cold ice/water as you can.

Change the water once it gets too warm, as well.
 

TennBrewer

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I just made a gallon batch the other day, I used a small aquarium pump with a short piece of plastic tubing to help circulate the ice water in the sink. I stirred the wort at the same time and the temperature came down really quick. I was able to pitch the yeast after only 15 minutes or so of cooling.
 

Sadu

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I have added frozen bottles into the wort before for 10G batches, but I don't like doing it. I don't think I would do this on a 1G batch where there are other easy and safer options. You need to fully remove the labels, make sure there is no sticky residue that bugs can cling to. Sanitise the insides of the bottles before freezing and fill with cooled boiled water in case it leaks into your wort. Then sanitise the outside of the bottles before adding to the wort. Only add the frozen bottles for the last part of the cooling to prevent the hot wort warping the bottles. This is a very effective way to cool hot wort, just I don't like the risk factor compared with other methods.

I normally cool my 1G batches in the sink, changing the water twice and adding ice after the last water change. Stir the wort every few mins to maintain good contact with the cooling water. I also have a 6' immersion chiller connected to a 12v water pump which recirculates iced water, this cost $20 to make and is a good addition to brew day, helps on bigger batches too.
 

Jim311

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Consider making up a small immersion chiller, it's really easy and cheap. Worth the investment.
 
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wlwesq

wlwesq

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A small immersion chiller...now why didn't I think of that?

"Forget thinking outside the box. Just think!"

Thanks again for the insights, advice and suggestions!
 

Jim311

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I made mine out of some copper I bought from the box stores and two washing machine hoses I already had laying around. You'll need some sort of adapter to make it work on the sink, but a few times I've used my chiller to cool down large stockpots full of soups and other things in the kitchen. It saves electricity since your fridge really has to work hard to cool down several gallons of hot soup, and it also heats up everything else in your fridge to unsafe temperatures until it can cool down properly. I did a quick google search and also found that they make these large "paddles" that you fill with water and freeze, and then you stir your wort/soup/whatever. They are used widely in commercial restaurants apparently. I was actually kinda thinking about buying one since the groundwater temps are so high at my house. I could get to pitching temperatures much more easily.
 

Pariah3j

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I made mine out of some copper I bought from the box stores and two washing machine hoses I already had laying around. You'll need some sort of adapter to make it work on the sink, but a few times I've used my chiller to cool down large stockpots full of soups and other things in the kitchen. It saves electricity since your fridge really has to work hard to cool down several gallons of hot soup, and it also heats up everything else in your fridge to unsafe temperatures until it can cool down properly. I did a quick google search and also found that they make these large "paddles" that you fill with water and freeze, and then you stir your wort/soup/whatever. They are used widely in commercial restaurants apparently. I was actually kinda thinking about buying one since the groundwater temps are so high at my house. I could get to pitching temperatures much more easily.
Could you link to one of those paddles ? That does sound awesome - I too am struggling with groundwater temp issues, I was thinking I'd get a pre-chiller but that could also work.
 

Jim311

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Try this link:

https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias=aps&field-keywords=chilling+paddle


A word of warning however, I have read you need something like 30-50 pounds of ice to chill down a 5 gallon batch. So these paddles that only hold 128 ounces of water may not do the job completely. Or maybe they will, I don't know. But I do know they look useful for getting that last bit of cooling that I would need after I've used my wort chiller and gotten down close to groundwater temps.
 

stieg000

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20ft of 3/8 copper flex tubing, a couple vinyl hoses, clamps, hose adapter and your in business for less than 30$
 

Pantherjon

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Try this link:

https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias=aps&field-keywords=chilling+paddle


A word of warning however, I have read you need something like 30-50 pounds of ice to chill down a 5 gallon batch. So these paddles that only hold 128 ounces of water may not do the job completely. Or maybe they will, I don't know. But I do know they look useful for getting that last bit of cooling that I would need after I've used my wort chiller and gotten down close to groundwater temps.
I have one of the 64 oz ones..It helps quite a bit actually on 5G batches..I use an immersion chiller and an ice bath in conjunction with the 'paddle'...I think that with 1G batches the 'paddle' would be a great fit..
 

jddevinn

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My starters sometimes end up at a gallon or so. They chill fairly quickly using an ice bath and a pond pump to keep the water in the bath circling. I normally use a cold water bath first then switch to ice
 
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