How to Cool Wort (w/out wort chiller)

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web250

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I'm hoping to start my first batch tonight, as UPS just dropped off my new 20qt brew pot.

I'm concerned though about chilling my wort once it's done though. It'll be 2-3 gallons of wort in the 5 gallon pot. I don't want to splurge on a wort chiller yet.

What would be my best/easiest option to cool it? I was thinking maybe buy a bag of ice, and fill my sink with ice/water, and dunk the pot?

Thanks
 

SuperiorBrew

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Do that and stir the wort and ice water every couple of minutes
 
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web250

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c.n.budz said:
Do the ice bath. But you'll need more than one bag. I used to go through about 20lbs of ice to get my wort chilled to pitching temp
Ya I think I'll run to the 7-11 down the street and buy a couple of bags, well worth it for the buck and change each.
 

sirsloop

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I used to freeze 2L bottles... put the primary in the sink, fill with cold water, insert the bottles. It usually took 2-3 2L bottles ad one change in water to completely cool it. Expect to wait ike 30+ minutes for this to take place tho. An immersion chiller is one of the best additions you can make... next to the auto siphon that is ;)
 

wilserbrewer

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What i have done is use just cold tap water for the first soak of the very hot wort. Then once you have some of the heat knocked out you can proceed w/ the ice. This will use less ice.
 

Chad

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You'll also want two or three 3/4-full 1L water bottles. You drink or pour off about 1/4 of the water to give the ice room to expand, then freeze the bottles. Sanitize the bottles in your no-rinse sanitizer just before putting your pot into the ice water bath, then gently place the frozen bottles into the worth. That'll give you a lot more cooling power.

Don't forget to sanitize a big spoon, too. You'll want to gently stir the wort to keep it moving against the cooler sides of the pot.

Chad
 

BierMuncher

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If you're topping off with fresh water to get to five gallons:

  • Put three 1-gallon jugs of bottled water in the freezer at the beginning of your brew session.
  • When your boil is done, fill your sink with cold tap water.
  • Place the kettle in the sink and gently move both the wort and the water around.
  • Once the sink water warms up, replace the water. If you have a double sink, simply move the kettle from one sink to the other with fresh, cold water. If you repeat this process about 3-4 times, you'll get the wort down to 100 degrees pretty quickly.
  • Take one of the (now starting to freeze) jugs of water and pour it into the fermenter.
  • Add your wort, then top off with enough additional cold water to get to 5.25 gallons.
This should get you to 75 degrees on the money.
 

lembeck2001

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Yep...I'm just starting out and I put the pot in my sink with a little cold water and then I load up the sink the rest of the way with ice from the ice maker tray. I usually have enough ice already made to do the trick. It actually drops the wort to 100 degrees surprisingly fast.
 

sirsloop

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Chad said:
You'll also want two or three 3/4-full 1L water bottles. You drink or pour off about 1/4 of the water to give the ice room to expand, then freeze the bottles. Sanitize the bottles in your no-rinse sanitizer just before putting your pot into the ice water bath, then gently place the frozen bottles into the worth. That'll give you a lot more cooling power.

Don't forget to sanitize a big spoon, too. You'll want to gently stir the wort to keep it moving against the cooler sides of the pot.

Chad

Damn... you put the bottles right in the wort? Class capped bottles or something?
 

Donasay

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The other option if you are doing a 3 gallon boil is to get large one gallon ziplock bags, and freeze sterilized water into blocks in the bags the day before brewing. Then once you are done brewing toss the sterilized ice directly into the pot so it melts and provides the extra top off water to get to 5 gallons. You can sterilize water by boiling it, letting it cool then transferring it to the ziplock bags for freezing.
 

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I pre boil 2-3 gallons of water, to sterilize it, the day before brew day. I set the pot out side covered over night. On brew day, I cool my wort(in brew pot) in the sink to about ~100 with just tap water. I pour the wort into to my primary and then top off with the cold water. Takes about 30-40 minutes to chill to pitching temp.

Last brew day my well ran dry!!! Oops! My wort was boiling on the stove and my top off water was chilled...that was good...But I had no water to fill the sink! I threw a huge tub in the pickup bed drove to the neighbors and filled the tub with water. The tube holds about 20 gallons.
Next brew day I think I will fill it the night before, let it chill over night outside and forgo the cooling in the sink.
 

Chad

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sirsloop said:
Damn... you put the bottles right in the wort? Class capped bottles or something?
I actually use a Rapi-Kool 128oz soup & stock chiller. The 128oz is a little big, however. The 64oz is a better choice. PET water bottles work exactly the same way and cost next to nothing. All you have to do is make sure they are clean and sanitized.

Chad
 
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gerrg

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I'm going to have to do the same thing here in another week. How would putting the stock pot outside work? It's about 16 degrees outside here at night. ideas? Thanks!


peace
-gw
 

TexLaw

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Putting the kettle outside will work, but not very quickly. An ice water bath will cool the wort down more quickly than 16F air. Even if the wind were blowing pretty well, I don't know that you could get the wort temperature down as quickly (but I am just speculating here)

If you want to cool down your ice water bath even more, add some salt to the water. Don't forget to move the kettle around some in the bath, gently, as well as those frozen bottles, to get some more convection working you, as well.


TL
 

RickWG

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Most kitchen sinks have a middle that is lower than the sides. This allows for water to flow over into the other side rather than overflow onto the floor. I put a couple of bowls in my sink and plug the drain. I set the kettle on the upsidedown bowls and run water with just a trickle to keep it flowing over the top of the middle part. This replaces the warm water with cool water. When the wort has dropped to about 100 degrees or so I turn off the water and put ice in from the ice maker. (Stirring every once in a while.) This cools the wort down to 80 or so. I have had a 2.5 gallon water bottle in the freezer to chill it for top off water. I can usually get down to 65-70 this way. I like to start a little cold at around 65 because yeast can heat up wort pretty fast.
 

Bobby_M

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It's winter where I live ;-) and tap water is coming out at exactly 40F right now. If
I'd be wasting money on ice right now because the different in water temp would be like 8 degrees. If you tap water is under 50f, fill the sink, dunk the pot and stir both the wort and the sink water every couple minutes (different spoons please). Once the sink water gets warm, drain it and refill.
 

BierMuncher

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gerrg said:
I'm going to have to do the same thing here in another week. How would putting the stock pot outside work? It's about 16 degrees outside here at night. ideas? Thanks!


peace
-gw
You'll be an old man by the time that wort is cooled.

Cooling wort is all about heat transfer. Air is not a good conductor of heat. That's why double paned windows are so insulative.

Where do you go with a hot frying pan to cool it off??? Not outside...

Straight to a sink of water.

Trust me...if you don't have a wort chiller, an ice bath is the fastest method.
 

flowerysong

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gerrg said:
I'm going to have to do the same thing here in another week. How would putting the stock pot outside work? It's about 16 degrees outside here at night. ideas? Thanks!
Doing the ice bath outside would be slightly faster than inside, but you can't rely solely on air for cooling, since it's a poor conductor of heat. As an example of this in action, go stick your hand in a 500F oven (without touching the sides, of course) for five seconds, then contemplate what would happen if you stuck your hand in 212F water for five seconds.
 
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web250

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Ok, my results:
Bought a 16lb bag of ice ($3 from 7-11). Dunked the pot in water, then added ice, ice, more ice, etc.

Cooled down to about 70 in under half an hour. Then it was effortless to pour my wort, add extra water, pitch my yeast, and now my fermenter is sealed up waiting to bubble!
 

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Not to sound like an @$$ or anything, but with all the money spent on ice, bottles, water, etc for every batch you do it seems worth it to invest in an IC.

I found a 25' roll of 3/8 copper at Home Depot and all the connections for about $35-40 and about 30 minutes of my time. I cool down 5 gallons in about 10-13 mintues so far. I even recapture most of the water to mix with sanitizer.

Seems with all the other methods listed you'll spend $35-40 over the course of less than one year anyway.
 
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web250

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You're probably right...the water/ice used in cooling probably cost $4 a batch. But for right now, only running one primary, which means at most 1 batch every other week...I'm at most going to go through the $50 or so required for an IC in 6-8 months. If my brewing habit picks up, I'll splurge for an IC...but for now, I'm ok with ice and water.
 

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You can speed the process with salt. Back when I didn't have the IC I stocked up on a little bit of ice and put it into the sink with water and rock salt. I stir the water not the wort. It works really really well. you should have it cold in no time. I think 15- 20 minutes with no problem. This is really the old ice cream technique and it works quite well before you pony up.

That being said ... pony up. I found at true value 50 ft of 5/16 is like 20$ (dirt cheap) then buy 1 ft of 3/8 and solder it on to the ends. 3/8" slips right over 5/16". the 3/8" will go right on to whatever adapters you desire. 50' of 5/16" does a fine job for 20$-- 3/8" will be more than 2x that cost for sure and only cool slightly better.
 

DeathBrewer

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wilserbrewer said:
What i have done is use just cold tap water for the first soak of the very hot wort. Then once you have some of the heat knocked out you can proceed w/ the ice. This will use less ice.
this is what i do sometimes, especially with only 2-3 gallons, i can knock it down in 20 minutes if i change the water a couple of times and then put some ice in there.
 

alexanjm

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While the wort was cooling in the sink, I added about 1/3 of the water that most people have waiting in the primary fermenter to the pot itself, and let it cool a little more after that. I don't know if this helped at all... I guess it was still the same volume of water so no matter what order you add it the caloric energy it adds or subtracts from the wort is probably the same... I just thought it might temper the wort faster if it was mixed with 2 phases of cold water rather than just one. who knows-- this was my first try.
 

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Here's a super cheap method that works well for me.

I went to wally world and picked up a 10ft garden hose for a couple bucks. I drilled 1/8" holes every 2" along the first 3ft of the hose and plugged the end. When I'm ready to chill, I wrap the 3 foot section of hose around the top of my kettle above the handles with the 1/8" holes directed inward. I run cold tap water through the hose. The end result is kind of a cooling tower with a thin layer of cold water running down the entire outside surface of the kettle. This cools my wort very quickly. I'll post a pic next time I brew.

Cheers
 

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BierMuncher said:
If you're topping off with fresh water to get to five gallons:

  • Put three 1-gallon jugs of bottled water in the freezer at the beginning of your brew session.
  • When your boil is done, fill your sink with cold tap water.
  • Place the kettle in the sink and gently move both the wort and the water around.
  • Once the sink water warms up, replace the water. If you have a double sink, simply move the kettle from one sink to the other with fresh, cold water. If you repeat this process about 3-4 times, you'll get the wort down to 100 degrees pretty quickly.
  • Take one of the (now starting to freeze) jugs of water and pour it into the fermenter.
  • Add your wort, then top off with enough additional cold water to get to 5.25 gallons.
This should get you to 75 degrees on the money.

so how big was your primary boil? say finish with 2 gallons? and then top off with 3.25 ice cold gallons to get to 75 deg? i've been doing the ice bath thing, but would like to find a good system like this to save on some lifting.
 

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I'm thinking of using a frozen (full) stainless steel 1/2 gallon SIG or Kleen Kanteen type water bottle that I've sanitized as a wort chiller, alongside icebaths etc....Any problems with this idea? It would involve not having to buy new stuff which is very important to me at this juncture :)
 

Beer_Guy

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BTW, the reason for the salt is to help the water stay fluid. Otherwise the sides will thaw and the bottles will lose overall cooling ability.

I might have to pick up a six pack of beer in those new aluminum bottles and try it.
 

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For cooling partial boils the blocks of ice method as top off water is really unbelievably quick. Therefore u are not wasting water ice or money and it's down to pitching temps in probably 10 min. I used about 2 gallons of water for my blocks. Worked great.
 

laterholmes

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For cooling partial boils the blocks of ice method as top off water is really unbelievably quick. Therefore u are not wasting water ice or money and it's down to pitching temps in probably 10 min. I used about 2 gallons of water for my blocks. Worked great.

Sounds cool but how do you get sanitized 2 gal blocks of water?
 

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I put mine in the tub with enough water for the kettle to just begin to float. So there's water on all sides, and crack the lid ever so slightly.
 

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If you're doing a partial boil freeze 1 1/2 gallons of water and place directly in your wort. It melts and in the process adds your make up water and cools your wort down in about 10 minutes.
 

millaj92

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If you're topping off with fresh water to get to five gallons:

  • Put three 1-gallon jugs of bottled water in the freezer at the beginning of your brew session.
  • When your boil is done, fill your sink with cold tap water.
  • Place the kettle in the sink and gently move both the wort and the water around.
  • Once the sink water warms up, replace the water. If you have a double sink, simply move the kettle from one sink to the other with fresh, cold water. If you repeat this process about 3-4 times, you'll get the wort down to 100 degrees pretty quickly.
  • Take one of the (now starting to freeze) jugs of water and pour it into the fermenter.
  • Add your wort, then top off with enough additional cold water to get to 5.25 gallons.
This should get you to 75 degrees on the money.
This is very close to the method I use with one difference. I sanitize four 32oz cups then fill them about half way with RO water the night before and freeze them. After the BK is in the sink surrounded by water, I pop the giant ice cubes out of the cups and into the wort. I leave the water running barely so the hot water spills over to the other side of the sink and stir gently. When the 4 ice cubes are melted, I pour the wort in to a sanitized 7gal bucket that has 3 gallons of very cold water in it already. I stir this briefly, then siphon it to the primary with an aerator and it hits the carboy at 68 degrees. From there it's pitch, agitate, and done.
 

sportscrazed2

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yep ice water will drop it to pitching temp in under half hour with a 2.5 gallon boil. it's winter now so i don't have to run out in middle of boil just so ice won't melt by the time it's time to cool wort yay
 

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The one time living where snow stays around for ever actually pays off.....no need to buy a wort chiller or bags of ice! I just drop the kettle in a snow bank off the porch for about 20 mins. 3 gallon boil cools to about 95-100 in that time and the top off of cold water gets it to pitching temp.
 

laterholmes

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I'm thinking of using a frozen (full) stainless steel 1/2 gallon SIG or Kleen Kanteen type water bottle that I've sanitized as a wort chiller, alongside icebaths etc....Any problems with this idea? It would involve not having to buy new stuff which is very important to me at this juncture :)

Update on this practice: It isn't that fast, the lids don't prevent the bottles from gassing off when you stick em in the hot wort, and you have to sit there with your lid open til the ice melts. I'm pretty sure this practice led to my other thread about my beer tasting like a skunks hindquarters:

https://www.homebrewtalk.com/f39/my-beer-tastes-like-skunks-buttocks-232649/

Wort chiller city, baby.
 
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