Putting Ice in the Wort to Cool

Homebrew Talk - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Forum

Help Support Homebrew Talk:

thomer

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Aug 23, 2021
Messages
21
Reaction score
8
I have been cooling my 5 gallon kettle (with 3 gallons of wort) by putting ice in a sink with water. I live in AZ and in the summer cold water is not easy to come by. My local brew shop suggested it is okay to put fresh ice (made from filtered water) directly into the wort to cool it. Any opinions on this?
 

Falstaff

A Bad Influence
Joined
Jul 14, 2021
Messages
253
Reaction score
485
Unless you add a lot you will still need to cool it down a bit. I don't think it's worth the risk of infection or the risk of the ice picking up and adding bad flavors in your freezer/store freezer. Make or buy a lot of ice to put around the kettle in the sink and stir IMO.

I also switched to kveik yeast for most beers because you can pitch higher and save time.
 

Beernik

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 26, 2009
Messages
4,106
Reaction score
878
Location
Camano Island, WA
If it was pre-boiled & frozen in a sanitized container or store bought bottles of water that are nearly frozen, yes. But one of the risks is over or undershooting your volume.

I think you are better off with ice in the sink. That’s what I did until I made an immersion chiller. But that only gets you to your water pipe temp.

At one time I had an evaporative cooler pump that I could put in a bucket of ice and pump ice water through the immersion chiller. That worked really well.
 

bobeer

Fermentation Specalist
Joined
Feb 21, 2012
Messages
2,861
Reaction score
837
Location
Hamilton
I got tired of chilling and cleaning it so I've been doing 'no chill' brewing for years now and I've had no issues. It extends the brew day another day but I don't deal with the hoses, water waste, and cleaning a chiller.
If I'm doing a brew day with other people I break out the chiller just so everyone can see the brew day through but that's about the only time I use it.
 
Joined
Jul 16, 2006
Messages
7,508
Reaction score
1,446
Location
Redding Ca
When we would do Brew demonstrations at the store. I would just buy a couple gallons of good spring water. Put them in the freezer and let them get super cold. I mean not frozen but you know ice water. We would do partial boils and top up with the almost Frozen fresh ice-ish water and it worked like a champ.
Cheers
Jay
 

Teufelhunde

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 4, 2020
Messages
145
Reaction score
121
I have been cooling my 5 gallon kettle (with 3 gallons of wort) by putting ice in a sink with water. I live in AZ and in the summer cold water is not easy to come by. My local brew shop suggested it is okay to put fresh ice (made from filtered water) directly into the wort to cool it. Any opinions on this?
Why risk the chance of infection? I, too, live in AZ and I cool in the sink.

I empty my refrigerator ice tray two times into a plastic bag and put it in my standalone freezer in the days before brew day. On brew day, when the boil is done, I put my kettle in the sink (stopper in). I pour in the bag of ice from the freezer(outside of the kettle), put in the now full again tray full of ice from the refrigerator(again, outside of the kettle), then add cold tap water (outside the kettle) until the kettle starts to float.

20 minutes later, I remove my hops (I bag ALL hops) then pour the wort into two gallons of fresh water(3 gal boil) . Top off as needed to get to 5 gallons, and check the temp. 90% of the time it is sitting about 76 degrees at that point, and I can aerate and pitch yeast....
 
Last edited:
Joined
Jul 16, 2006
Messages
7,508
Reaction score
1,446
Location
Redding Ca
All that having been said my brewing career started over 20 years ago watching Alton Brown do a segment on making beer at home. I remember to this day he topped up his wort with ice cubes straight out of his freezer. Even back then I never did it. I just don't think I would want to put ice in my wort. I mean I've drank water where the ice is melted and it just doesn't taste good..
Just my .02

Cheers
Jay
 

Beermeister32

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 20, 2013
Messages
816
Reaction score
1,191
Location
Southern California
Summers here in SoCal the ground water is too hot to adequately chill wort. I generally get the wort down to about 80F and then bring it down to pitching temperatures in a refrigerator. I also have a double chill coil available in an ice bath for the final few degrees.

In the past, I’ve pre-boiled additional store bought water on the stove, then chilled down to 34F in one of my lagering refrigerators. You can safely top up with this. You probably should use RO or distilled water, unless you are really dialed in to the mineral content of whatever water you are adding. I’ve also topped up with straight distilled water right off the shelf without issues, but you should boil it again anyway just to be on the safe side. Make sure to spray the jugs with Star San solution and wipe them down before transferring.

I wouldn’t use SoCal tap water for anything except showering. I can seasonally detect organic odors in the water, I’m not convinced it is safe to add to wort either unboiled or ice cubes. Plus Chloramine. Eck!
 
Last edited:

hotbeer

Opinionated Newb
Joined
Mar 10, 2021
Messages
394
Reaction score
228
Ice absorbs refrigerator odors. So that's why some peoples ice tastes bad. So if that is your ice and you are going to use it in your wort, then make certain it's fresh ice.

I'm happy with my chiller I made from 3/8ths copper tubing. I made another to stick in a bucket of ice water to cool the tap water prior to getting to the chiller. But the results were not enough of a temp difference for getting the wort cooled down as fast as it does with the winter time tap water temps.

On the next batch I just put a submersible aquarium water pump in the bottom of a large container of ice water and when the normal temp tap water got the wort cooled somewhat, then I switched it to the ice water to run through the chiller and it got down below pitch temp real quick.

I'll have to tidy things up in the plumbing department next time, but I think I like this approach. However I'm only cooling a 1 gallon batch so a 5 or 10 gallon batch might need several bags of ice and more than just the 6 gallons of water I had in the canner.
 

dwhite60

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 13, 2009
Messages
1,068
Reaction score
658
Location
Wake County NC
I have an immersion chiller and a fountain pump. Ice and some water goes in a bucket with the pump, pump pushes water through the chiller. I recirculate this until wort is cool adding more ice if needed.

I run just tap water down to about 120F before switching to ice.
 

Gusso

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 3, 2020
Messages
235
Reaction score
271
+1 for kveik in the hot months
Pretty much for 4-5 months of the year in Charleston, SC unless I'm using pressurized fermentation. I even just pressurized a Kveik to get automatic carbonation.
 

Steveruch

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 15, 2016
Messages
1,770
Reaction score
990
Location
Fort Wayne
I just bottled a three gallon batch that I used a semi no chill on and finished the cool down by taking a 1.5 gallon pot that I froze a 1.25 gallon ice block in and putting it to float in my 5.5 gallon brew pot.
The no chill got it down to 118f over about five hours and the ice block in the smaller pot got it down to 66f in a bout a half hour.
 

davidabcd

Detroit, Mi.
Joined
Jul 19, 2018
Messages
2,157
Reaction score
2,513
During warm weather and 2.5 gallons-2.75 gallons of hot wort, I use nearly frozen gallons of spring water (as mentioned above). No off-flavors. Cooling with an ice bath turned out to be very inconvenient and expensive since, until recently, I didn't have the space to make and store enough ice to viable.
Even with adding near-frozen water, this method had to be in conjunction with a wort chiller in warm weather.
When the weather is cool, just a wort chiller does the job quickly.
 
Joined
Nov 26, 2016
Messages
3,999
Reaction score
3,790
Location
Chicago
I use bags of ice to chill my cooling water but only after the wort gets down around 100f. I have thought about adding store bought ice directly to the wort but haven't been brave enough to do it yet. I worked at an ice plant during summers in high school, I dunno how standards are now but back then seeing the condition of the plant and the equipment made me not want to use it directly in soft drinks.
 

bwible

I drink, and I know things
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Oct 31, 2017
Messages
970
Reaction score
1,113
Location
Oxford
All that having been said my brewing career started over 20 years ago watching Alton Brown do a segment on making beer at home. I remember to this day he topped up his wort with ice cubes straight out of his freezer. Even back then I never did it. I just don't think I would want to put ice in my wort. I mean I've drank water where the ice is melted and it just doesn't taste good..
Just my .02

Cheers
Jay
I remember that show. Alton Brown was my favorite host on the Food Network. I was already homebrewing for a couple years when he did that show.

Valid point, ice cubes usually pick up flavor from the freezer, and flavor that probably doesn’t compliment your beer. Also means they are exposed to contamination.
 
Joined
Jul 16, 2006
Messages
7,508
Reaction score
1,446
Location
Redding Ca
I remember that show. Alton Brown was my favorite host on the Food Network. I was already homebrewing for a couple years when he did that show.

Valid point, ice cubes usually pick up flavor from the freezer, and flavor that probably doesn’t compliment your beer. Also means they are exposed to contamination.
Yep that's what started it all for me I have Alton Brown to blame... Uhhhh I mean "THANK"... HA ha ha ha ha
Cheers
Jay
 
OP
T

thomer

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Aug 23, 2021
Messages
21
Reaction score
8
Thanks for all your replies. What I have recently done is to put ice and water in the sink to initially chill the wort. Then I use 3 x gallon bottles of water that I have put in the freezer for a couple of hours and use that as my top off in the carboy. With this method I got the wort down to about 65f pretty quick and can pitch the yeast immediately. I will let you know if it causes any issues.
 

JJinMD

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 9, 2021
Messages
83
Reaction score
109
If you are in drought conditions or just want to save water, you can always go with an old car radiator and a box fan...
 

odie

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 18, 2016
Messages
1,633
Reaction score
748
Location
CC, TX
I you adjusted your boil volume for the added ice at the end I suppose this would work. You would want to be sure or the quality and sanitation of your ice.

Or pour some very cold bottled water in at the end to reach your target volume. Basically you will be brewing a small batch high OG beer and then diluting it at flame out. Nothing new at all here.

Maybe another way is to freeze some bottles of water or use those reusable ice packs and drop those in...but again...sanitation are your issues. if you can resolve that issue then I suppose it's a possible solution.
 
Top