Chilling wort with Ice

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TryPA

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I do not own a wort chiller as of right now, and I'm brewing a couple kits tonight. Usually, I just submerge my wort in a bathtub filled with cool water, and it takes about an hour to get the temp down to pitch-friendly range.

I was thinking, I dilute my wort eventually anyways as I normally do 3 gallons for the boil. Could I just dump a couple bags of ice from the grocery into the wort and stir it up?

I'm getting conflicting comments when I google this idea. Thougts?
 

Haputanlas

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I wouldn't do that. You would be introducing potentially unsanitary elements to your wort with water that may not taste so great either.

If you dump the pot into a bathtub with ice, try stirring the wort with a sanitized spoon while it's in the bathtub. The circulation of the wort should be able to get the temperature down below 80 in under 20 minutes. It's what I used to do until I got a wort chiller.
 

Haputanlas

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Also, when you dilute your wort with water, that water should have previously been boiled to kill any contaminates.
 

fxdude

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I used to dump a bag of arrowhead ice into mine for a year and never had a problem. I was always nervous though, would hate to throw away a day of brewing because the ice contaminated it. I eventually started buying the 1 gallon arrowhead jugs and putting them in the freezer when I started my brew session. By the time I was ready to chill the wort down the water was near freezing.

If you go with the ice be careful of splashing, it makes a mess not to mention the wort is hot as hell at that point.
 
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TryPA

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Hm ok. First time I've heard of sterilizing tap water. But, I'll give it a go.
 

jdubb75

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Also, when you dilute your wort with water, that water should have previously been boiled to kill any contaminates.
I do partial boils and with every brew I have topped up my wort with cold water straight out of the tap. I've probably done 10 or so batches this way and have never had a problem. I'm not sure if I'm just lucky or not, but just wanted to share my experience.

As far as adding ice goes, I would definitely make sure the container I was freezing water in was sanitized before the water went in it. Also, it should be sealed so as not to pick up any other nasties from the freezer. I have never added ice to my wort, but have heard of others doing it.
 

TheKeg81

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I wouldn't think it'd be any different than adding tap water to top off to the 5.0-5.25 gallons that some people do. I personally didn't go that route and just put my boil pot into an ice bath and it got down to reasonable temps rather quickly. It seemed to me it was quicker than when I used my buddy's wort chiller, but that's a completely empirical statement there.
 

unionrdr

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Try putting the BK in the kitchen sink,then fill the empty space around it with ice,then top off with water. Stir the wort now & then while chilling. It should get down to 70F in twenty minutes. The whole idea being to chill it as quickly as possible. 20 mins or less will give little to no chill haze when the bottles go into the fridge.
 
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TryPA

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<20 minutes eliminates the haze? Awesome. That's been an issue, so makes sense.

Now, I'm not a biologist; but I thought freezing water killed most bacteria. Is this not the case?

Sorry, I'm an engineer by trade. Still learning this whole microbiology side of brewing.
 

elvestinkle

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My main issue with using tap water for anything outside of the main brew water is the chloramine/chlorine content. Even if you're only adding a gallon to top up a 4-gallon wort, that's 20% more bandaid-y taste you're adding. Boiling it doesn't so much sanitize the water as get rid of chlorine (and, of coyrse, you need to treat it first in the case of chloramines). Obvs this doesn't apply if your water isn't chlorinated.

I far prefer distilled water to top up, because I know that it's free of crap. And if I were to do the ice method, I'd make ice with it. But sink/tub immersion is much easier (assuming you don't have a wort chiller), and doesn't require caring about the quality of ice.
 

jdubb75

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My main issue with using tap water for anything outside of the main brew water is the chloramine/chlorine content. Even if you're only adding a gallon to top up a 4-gallon wort, that's 20% more bandaid-y taste you're adding. Boiling it doesn't so much sanitize the water as get rid of chlorine (and, of coyrse, you need to treat it first in the case of chloramines). Obvs this doesn't apply if your water isn't chlorinated.

I far prefer distilled water to top up, because I know that it's free of crap. And if I were to do the ice method, I'd make ice with it. But sink/tub immersion is much easier (assuming you don't have a wort chiller), and doesn't require caring about the quality of ice.
This is a good point. And I've seen many people ask about brewing with tap water or topping up with tap water. Usually the general consensus was "if it tastes fine from the tap, it won't hurt the beer." Of course, that does not cover the bacteria side of it...just the chloramine/chlorine.
 

unionrdr

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No,freezing water doen't kill bacteria. they just go dormant. We've had this discussion several times in the past. Anyway,tap water for topping off is ok,as long as it tastes good to drink & doesn't smell like flat Alkaseltzer in my experience. It can also depend on the time of year. Around here in summer,spring water is better. Tap water in winter,as the pipes get very cold in the snow belt. And if the yeast are treated well,& given good temps,any small amount of bacteria serviving the chlorine still in the water will be starved out by the rapidly multiplying yeast. Not to mention that any pathogins that make us sick can't survive in beers alcohol content.
But yeah,chilling in 20 minutes or less,regardless of method,will give less chill haze at the point the bottles go into the fridge. Or when chilling kegs for that matter.
 

fxdude

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I use Campden tablets in all of my water, it gets rid of chlorine and chloramine. Chilling your water really fast makes for a better cold break so a lot of the undesirable proteins clump together (chill haze causing proteins being one of them) and hopefully don't end up in your fermenter (irish moss and whirfloc tablets also help).

Make sure when you're adding water or ice you don't splash too much when temps are over 90 degrees, it can cause some hot side aeration.
 

ChaosStout

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Just go down to the store and Buy acouple bottles of distilled water. Put them in the freezer till they start to get ice in them. Add them to your wort to top off with. Then I use a drill and one of those stir wand thingys to aerate and mix it really well.
 

bja

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I far prefer distilled water to top up, because I know that it's free of crap. And if I were to do the ice method, I'd make ice with it. But sink/tub immersion is much easier (assuming you don't have a wort chiller), and doesn't require caring about the quality of ice.
Most store bought bagged ice (actually all that I've ever seen) is made from RO water (reverse osmosis) which is just as pure as distilled water and should be just fine to top off beer with.

Throw some ice in water and then look at it when it starts to melt. If the ice is crystal clear, it's been made with RO water. If it's cloudy it was probably made with tap water. The cloudyness is from air coming out of solution during the freezing process. RO water has no air dissolved in it.
 

unionrdr

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I've often wondered about that,since water is quiecently frozen into ice in a sort of huge candle stick like mold in tanks of liquid nitrogen. Saw a video on that once. Some may be filtered,others RO,others just tap water. Hard to know that off hand.
 

glenn514

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I've used store-bought ice to cool my wort...but that was before I built my immersion chiller. The company that supplies the bags of ice to my nearest grocery store claims that they use RO. Any company that supplies ice for purchase by the public would certainly want to insure that the product is clean, pure and wholesome, simply from a liability standpoint.

On my boils, I use cold tap water to top up, and have never had a problem.

glenn514:mug:
 

jman300sd

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I live on the third story of a building and brew on my balcony. No access to a hose for the immersion chiller and I haven't gotten around to building my circulating cooling system with a pump. Whats the point when the tub method works so well? I keep leftover OJ bottles, fill em with water and freeze them. I have about 8 and put them in the tub to help the wort cool. As others have mentioned, just stir the wort and you should get it down to 80 in no time. The bottles are great because they are reusable, but the bad part is I have to down to the freezer in the garage to get them - guess it's better than buying ice.
 

BamaRooster

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Try putting the BK in the kitchen sink,then fill the empty space around it with ice,then top off with water. Stir the wort now & then while chilling. It should get down to 70F in twenty minutes. The whole idea being to chill it as quickly as possible. 20 mins or less will give little to no chill haze when the bottles go into the fridge.
+1 this method also works for me in roughly the same time frame. :mug:
 

Jayhem

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I get my wort from boiling down to 70 degrees in 20 minutes flat now using nothing but a large stainless kitchen sink.

1. Fill the sink half way with cold tap water and insert boiling pot move the pot side to side about 6 inches back and forth to circulate the cold water around the pot.

2. Alternate slowly stiring the wort in a circular pattern to expose it to the cold sides of the pot and sliding the pot back and forth.

3. Once your water is turning warmer, drain the water, dump in 16lbs of ice into the sink around the pot and put in additional cold water to give a nice thick ice water bath. Continue the slow stiring of wort and moving of pot and I garuntee you will have 75 degree F wort in less than 30 min. My last wort was almost too cool after 20 min at 67 F!
 

unionrdr

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I've gotten that temp in 20 minutes or so myself. Cold water bath 1st to knock off some initial heat. Drain water,then fill sink to the top with ice,then top that off with cold water. Down to 70F in 20 mins.
Rather amuzingly,this last time I was chilling the wort,got it down to 70F,but only after the sink drain failed to seal.
I then remembered I forgot about the FV's spigot in a mug of starsan on the FV stand. Took care of that,sanitizing the fermenter...oops! Forgot about the BK in the ice bath! It'd gotten down to 13C,or 55.4F. Topped it off,stired,& pitched. Took a few swirls & 5 hours,54 minutes to get it warmed up to 16C,or 60.8F before they started reproducing,pegging the airlock center piece against the cap. So the ice bath can do quite a bit,given the right amount of time. Just make sure other things are all ready when you go to start the chill. It's easy to get distracted while waiting.
 

midfielder5

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I know many use tap water to top up, and say they have not yet had any problems.

or the: If it tastes good, then it is ok to brew with.

Do what you want (I am not going to argue about it) but--
new brewers should be informed that the best practice is to sanitize anything that comes into contact w/ wort after boiling and that includes water which of course makes up a huge part of beer.
Boiling also draws off chlorine which gives off-flavors; I also treat my water with a campden tablet to remove chloramine.
My water tastes great out of the tap, but it still has cr!p in it per my muni water report.
 

Zak

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Water bath, followed by ice bath, followed by brittaed tap water
 

Airplanedoc

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You can always throw some rock salt in the sink/tub filled with ice water. Brine solution gets colder than just ice water.
 

Transamguy77

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When I started brewing I used to make my own ice in cheap sandwich containers the night before, I used a 18 gallon rubbermaid tote and lined the bottom with the blocks of ice and put my BK on top then add water and the rest of the ice blocks. I could cool down 4ish gallons in less than 20 mins.

I bought a wort chiller and can get to 70ish in about the same amount of time. I also put 3 gallons of water in the fridge when I start brewing for cold top off water. For me the chiller is much easier and I'm not lifting and carrying a pot of boiling wort around. But uses Sooo much more water, I liked the ice method cause I only used about 10 gallons total and I have no idea what I use now but I guess the it's a trade off ease of cooling compared to time for preparation.
 
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