Use of ice?

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eljefebrewing

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Hi again,

Got a lot of responses to my first post, and quickly! This is a great site!

Here's another question: I am a fan of Alton Brown's show, "Good Eats," on the Food Network. He seems to have a very practical approach to everything he does. In the episode titled "Amber Waves," he makes a batch of homebrew. His method was to boil 3 gallons, add a 7 lb. bag of ice plus 1 gallon and 1 pint of refrigerated bottled water (makes 2 gallons) to the fermenter bucket, and pour in the hot wort.

To me, that seems like a quick and easy way to cool the wort quickly, and to make up a total of 5 gallons! However, this doesn't seem to be a method that's recommended by a lot of people. Why wouldn't one do things this way? I would think that doing a full 5 gallon boil would require A) a bigger pot, B) more cooling time, and/or C) a wort chiller. The full boil would require a bigger, more expensive pot, and a wort chiller is also extra cost, and probably not as fast as using ice to cool the wort?

Your input is appreciated!
 

llazy_llama

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If you're going to use ice, you'll have to be careful. Just buying a bag of ice at the store, or taking the ice from your freezer isn't very sanitary. Boil tap water, then freeze that. Make sure you cover it with plastic wrap or tinfoil the entire time it's in the freezer.

It can be done, but for me it wasn't worth the $50 a wort chiller cost.
 

ArcaneXor

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HI am a fan of Alton Brown's show, "Good Eats," on the Food Network. He seems to have a very practical approach to everything he does. In the episode titled "Amber Waves," he makes a batch of homebrew.
I suggest you forget everything you "learned" from that episode. Brown doesn't know what he is talking about, and following his technique dramatically increases the odds of getting an infected or astringent beer.

That said, I do use pre-boiled water to make ice and use it to accelerate the cooling process. When your tap water is nearly 80 deg F in the summer, an immersion chiller doesn't do you much good unless you get a pre-chiller as well. You just have to be extremely careful to keep everything sanitary that way.
 

JPicasso

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+1 on using boiled water for ice.

I got 12 containers with lids from the $1 store and freeze water in them. I have an IC, but the last few degrees are slow going, so I put a couple of ice blocks in around 80°F
 

Homercidal

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LOL! I love Alton Brown, but there is just too much to brewing to cover it correctly in one episode. That said, his method will surely work. Generally ice is ok, especially if you make your own. The chances of actually getting an infection are probably pretty low in reality.

If you are only going to brew a batch or two to see how you like it, his method is ok. If you are going to brew on a regular basis, then get a bigger pot and a chiller. It's worth it.

I'd still recommend making your own boiled ice over buying it. When you factor the time and energy you spent doing that, you could have set up and put away a chiller. They are NOT hard to use.
 

MikeG

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I've gone to 5 gal boil (end up with ~4 - 4.5 gal wort) and need to cool that without a chiller.

I buy top-off water (spring) from the local supermarket. Before I start my steeping I throw the gal jug in the freezer.

Brew, use ice bath, get wort temp down to around ~100F. Take jug out of freezer (cut out if needed) and put into wort. Down to 80F!

:mug:
 

Homercidal

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I've gone to 5 gal boil (end up with ~4 - 4.5 gal wort) and need to cool that without a chiller.

I buy top-off water (spring) from the local supermarket. Before I start my steeping I throw the gal jug in the freezer.

Brew, use ice bath, get wort temp down to around ~100F. Take jug out of freezer (cut out if needed) and put into wort. Down to 80F!

:mug:
Why would you need to cool without a chiller? No water source nearby?
 

kaiser423

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Or he's like me, where the "cold" water out of the tap is pretty lukewarm and you hit diminishing margins pretty quickly.

Last night, I just put a boil under running water, and even on just a kind of warm day I had a hell of a time getting below 90 degrees. Ended up tossing the wort in the primary and letting it sit overnight, then tossing the yeast in the morning.

If I had some sanitary ice, I could use it to get me the last 10-15 degrees that my tap water just doesn't do. There just isn't a large enough temperature differential to cool that last bit quickly with tap water.

I've been tempted to rig some peltier coolers, but I need to do a bit more research!
 

EvilTOJ

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You can freeze 2L bottles sure, but the heat transfer isn't as efficient as plain old ice.
 

ScottyT

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I love Alton Brown. I actually got into homebrewing because of that very episode. Of course there is so much more to it, but that is what made me want to learn more and eventually make my own beer. In the episode I seem to recall that he did encourage a visit to your LHBS to learn more.

Wouldn't using his method be oxygenating hot wort, which is a no-no?
 
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I love Alton Brown. I actually got into homebrewing because of that very episode. Of course there is so much more to it, but that is what made me want to learn more and eventually make my own beer. In the episode I seem to recall that he did encourage a visit to your LHBS to learn more.

Wouldn't using his method be oxygenating hot wort, which is a no-no?
HSA is pretty much proven a myth. There are big brewers whose methods (there's avideo somewhere on this board) would definitely result is HSA. It's just isn't real.

But yes I too love Good Eats, but hate watching that episode and I'm sure other people who are "experts" in other areas he's covered most likely cringe when he covers theirs. Not that he doesn't know what he;s doing. But he has to cover it all in a 30 minute episode.

Doing a full boil gives you better Hop utilization than a partial boil with top off water and is preferred if you have a pot big enough. But you of course need a chiller. I prefer my new CFC 1000000 times over the old IC it was built from.
 

Boodlemania

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You can freeze 2L bottles sure, but the heat transfer isn't as efficient as plain old ice.
True, but if you're doing full boils and have issues with wort chillers as referenced above, this could be a viable option.
 

MikeG

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Or he just doesn't own one. I didn't buy one right away. Probably should have, but I didn't.
Yep, don't have one. Sometimes you make do with what you have and in my case, it's a sink and ice maker. :eek:

My main point about using ice is I use spring water to top off (hopefully 'clean') and instead of dumping in at room temp I try to get near or at freezing to not only top off but also chill the wort down to pitching temps.
 
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