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Question on cooling the wort.....

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TJhands

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Lemme have a big "Hell Yeah!!" for my first post! :p

Howdy everyone, I have a question about cooling the wort without a copper cooling mechanism. I'm sure this has been covered ad nauseum on this board, so forgive me for adding a notch on the broken record!

1) When I pull the kettle off the stove, can I put ice cubes directly into the wort to cool it and get it closer to reaching the 5 gal level? Is store-bought ice a contamination source? I've read that one should put the pot into a sink filled with ice water, but that got me thinking.....why not just add the ice to the wort directly?

2) Kind of plays off the first question: Is my tap water OK to bring the level up to 5 gal in my primary? Is "the colder, the better" the rule o' thumb for the added 3 gallons?


I just ordered Homebrewing For Dummies (dats ME!) but I thought I'd seek some help from y'all while I wait for it to get here. Thanks for the wisdom! Peace from Iowa! :cool:
 

Janx

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TJhands said:
Lemme have a big "Hell Yeah!!" for my first post! :p
Hell yeah! :D

TJhands said:
Howdy everyone,
Hiyas. Glad you found us. Welcome!

TJhands said:
I have a question about cooling the wort without a copper cooling mechanism. I'm sure this has been covered ad nauseum on this board, so forgive me for adding a notch on the broken record!
Nah...it's a young community...chillers have been discussed some. Check the search. But there are still a lot of new areas to cover.

TJhands said:
1) When I pull the kettle off the stove, can I put ice cubes directly into the wort to cool it and get it closer to reaching the 5 gal level? Is store-bought ice a contamination source? I've read that one should put the pot into a sink filled with ice water, but that got me thinking.....why not just add the ice to the wort directly?
In short, you'll water down your beer a lot. It's kinda sorta maybe a source of potential contamination, but the biggie is you're watering down that beer you just made. I guess if you need to bring up the volume anyway, then it's a perfectly reasonable idea. More ideal IMO is to boil all your wort and use an immersion or counterflow chiller to chill it.

TJhands said:
2) Kind of plays off the first question: Is my tap water OK to bring the level up to 5 gal in my primary? Is "the colder, the better" the rule o' thumb for the added 3 gallons?
Again, I think the *best* solution is get a bigger kettle and boil the full volume of your beer. It *will* improve your beer if you do so. Your hop utilization will be better and you'll get less caramelization to name a few reasons. But, yes, most city tap water is considered OK to bring the volume up. A lot of folks on this board seem to do it. I have spring water, so absolutely everything gets boiled.

TJhands said:
I just ordered Homebrewing For Dummies (dats ME!) but I thought I'd seek some help from y'all while I wait for it to get here. Thanks for the wisdom! Peace from Iowa! :cool:
Cheers, Iowa! :D I hope you find the site useful. Feel free to fire away. There are a lot of experienced brewers around here.
 
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TJhands

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Thanx, Janx! :)

The snooping around that I've done on this board has been helpful. I have especially enjoyed your posts - good, straightforward advice is always appreciated, and your obvious knowledge has earned my confidence, 100%.

Granted, a full 5 gallon boil would be ideal - and I may get a kettle that big sometime soon - but, if ice is OK, why do people who boil just 2 gallons put the pot in a sink with ice water when they could cool the wort down a helluva lot faster by just dumping a 10lb bag of ice in it?

My first batch is going to be a light neo-American type beer. I'd like to brew an IPA or a porter right off the bat, but I have a girlfriend and friends to win over before I hit them with the REAL stuff! LOL Anyway, thanks for the advice!
 

Janx

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TJhands said:
Thanx, Janx! :)
Granted, a full 5 gallon boil would be ideal - and I may get a kettle that big sometime soon - but, if ice is OK, why do people who boil just 2 gallons put the pot in a sink with ice water when they could cool the wort down a helluva lot faster by just dumping a 10lb bag of ice in it?
Honestly, I have no idea. It seems like a pretty clever idea to me, given you're adding water anyway. Maybe it wouldn't cool it entirely, but it would definitely help, and would be very fast, which is a great thing in terms of chilling. Maybe bagged ice tastes bad? I guess the quality of water used to make the ice could vary. I'd test-run some and melt it and taste it to make sure it tastes nice and clean. But it seems a fine idea if the ice tastes OK. I'm interested to see what the other partial-boil folks think.
 
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TJhands

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Well heck, if it's simply a matter of whether it tastes OK or not, I can just freeze a hu-monstrous chunk of ice made from my own tap water, which I know tastes fine and dandy. If I freeze it in a sanitized milk jug and then cut the jug off when the wort is ready, I'll be one gallon closer to the 5-gallon mark and the wort will be much closer to being reduced to 80 degrees.
 

loopmd

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My last batch, I just cooked 2 gallons of wort, but it in my primary with 7lbs of ice and topped it off to the 5 gallon mark with cold tap water. Instantly, the temp went down to 70 and I was able to pitch my yeast within minutes. In the past, I have cooked the 2 gallons of wort and put it in my primary without adding the ice, topped everything off with the water and had to immurse the whole shebang in a tub of cold water until I got it down far enough to pitch my yeast. Took a long time. I liked adding the ice, and so far, so good. I racked to my secondary last weekend and it is clearing up just fine.
 

crum

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Janx said:
Again, I think the *best* solution is get a bigger kettle and boil the full volume of your beer. It *will* improve your beer if you do so. Your hop utilization will be better and you'll get less caramelization to name a few reasons. But, yes, most city tap water is considered OK to bring the volume up. A lot of folks on this board seem to do it. I have spring water, so absolutely everything gets boiled.
Janx, hopefully I am understaning your right. Is it better to boil all the water with hops, malt, ext all at once? Ususally I make my wort with 3 gallons and have 2 gallons preboiled that is cold.

Just a note also, I have city water and would never use it without boiling it first. To much risk invold.
 
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This is the 2nd separate post today on boiling the whole batch instead of the 2-3g and add water later. I'm intrigued on this conversation. How many experienced boyz do it this way? I have a 7.5g pot but she can even overboil if I do 3g agressively. If I watched it better I could do 5g for sure and just top it off later if this is a better idea.
 

crum

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I have a 7 gallon brew pot and had it overflow the one time I brewed the entire batch at once. There seems to be a “big foam” after adding the hops that is uncontrollable for the first 5 – 10 minutes. When I do the 3 gallon boil the foam does not get close to an overflow.
Also I start with 3.5 gallons when I am doing a 1 hour boil to account for the evaporation. It is marked on the pot where 3 gallons is and after an hour it is almost always at 3 g’s.
 

jimbrew

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I used to add frozen tap water from 2 liter pop bottles to my wort to cool it but like Janx said it does water it down big time. Now I put the kettle in the sink with water and gently stir the wort and turn the kettle in the opposite direction like the wine/beer chillers you see at the liquor stores. after the water heats up I empty the water add more and repeat after 3 times it has cooled enough to add ice to the water 3 more cycles with ice and it's pitchable in a total of 15 mins max once its below 30C I stir the hell out of it to aerate . Ya gotta love the 1.075 SG HELL YEAH!!!!
 

LaurenE

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My last batch, I just cooked 2 gallons of wort, but it in my primary with 7lbs of ice and topped it off to the 5 gallon mark with cold tap water. Instantly, the temp went down to 70 and I was able to pitch my yeast within minutes. In the past, I have cooked the 2 gallons of wort and put it in my primary without adding the ice, topped everything off with the water and had to immurse the whole shebang in a tub of cold water until I got it down far enough to pitch my yeast. Took a long time. I liked adding the ice, and so far, so good. I racked to my secondary last weekend and it is clearing up just fine.
I just followed a similar process after receiving some advice from the guy at my local home brew store. I made 3.5 gallons of wort. Before putting it in my primary I added some purchased ice to the bucket so the wort would begin cooling instantly (not a lot, maybe up to the 1/2 gallon mark). In my area, bagged ice that you buy at the store must be filtered first, so I wasn't too worried about contamination. Once the ice melted, I mixed it well and checked the OG so that I knew how much more volume I could add. I added a little more ice, let it melt, mixed it well, checked the OG. Repeat. Once I reached the appropriate OG (less than 10 minutes), I checked the temperature and it had already dropped from boiling to about 82 degrees. Almost there in less than 10 minutes! After that, I wanted to continue fast chilling the wort without adding anymore volume that would throw off my OG (volume wise I was just under 5 gal), so I put some ice in a large baggie, sealed it, and put it in the bucket, holding it down and stirring it around for about another 3-5 minutes. By then I was at 78 degrees and was good to go. So I took 3.5 gallons boiling to around 5 gallons at 78 degrees in less than 15 minutes without a chiller. I was thrilled!

My advice would be to not add an entire bag of ice all at once. Remember that ice will change in volume as it melts to water.
 

Pipelovejoy

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My advice would be to not add an entire bag of ice all at once. Remember that ice will expand as it melts to water and you could lose control of your volume and in turn your original gravity.
That is not true, in fact the exact opposite happens. Water expands once it is frozen. It will contract as it melts to room temperature.
Of note though, you will want to check your volume measurements.
 

LaurenE

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That is not true, in fact the exact opposite happens. Water expands once it is frozen. It will contract as it melts to room temperature.
Of note though, you will want to check your volume measurements.
Pipelovejoy,

Thank you for the correction. I got it turned around when typing quickly. I do know that water actually expands as it freezes. That's why you empty some water from a water bottle before freezing it! Either way, my point is to control volume and not let it get away from you by dumping an entire bag of ice in at once.

P.S. I have corrected my previous post.
 

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