Why not use ice to cool wort?

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knuckleball

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I've been reading through some of the threads on wort cooling. It seems that a lot of people are opposed to adding ice to the wort (a la Alton Brown) because of risk of infection. Yet topping off with water is extremely common. So why not top off with ice to get the temps down more quickly?

I have never added ice myself, but now I'm wondering why not?
 

FishinDave07

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I remember seeing Jim Koch in an old Sam Adams brewing video pouring hot wort over a fermenter frozen with ice. The only thing is that if you do full boils this wouldn't apply to you.
 

Dave258

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I have been thinking the same thing. I have brewed 6 batches so far, extract, partial boils. I do not have a wort chiller, and have been doing the sink bath. It is a pain in the a$$.
He used a 7 pound bag of ice and a pint of water as one gallon. Dose anyone do this?
 

GilaMinumBeer

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Wife keeps fish in the freezer. Ice tastes like fish half the time.

Ice may put the nasties in a cryo hold but it won't kill them and we have no idea what the conditions are like at an ice plant. Tap ice made at home may be different given the treatment the water receives, plant ice may be purer still.

Most who do use ice, just freeze it in a water bottle so they can sanitize the outside and then plunk the bottle in the wort.
 

springer

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you can boil up say 1 gallon of water and after it cools pour it into some sanitized tupperware type containers seal and freeze.
 

SWAMPER

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but if you take a sealable container (say half gal.) and sanitize it and fill it with purified water then seal the lid on and freeze it and then just plop the purified ice block in the wort is that ok ? or is putting ice in hot wort bad no matter what ?
 

ZombieBeer

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In the food industry they have a tool called a freezer paddle, it is used for chilling stocks more quickly. Basically it is a 128 oz paddle filled with ice pack fluid. You can freeze the paddle, dip it in touch sanitizer then use it to chill your wort. I suppose you could do something similar with the regular freezer packs.
 

mkory

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I always wondered the same thing, especially since after a partial boil I bring the beer to 5 gallons using tap water. About 5 batches ago, I figured since I was using tap water anyway, I might as well cool it down with ice. I've been bringing my volume up/temps down with ice water since then with no infections/ill effects to date.

It is really nice just to pour the hot wort into a fermenter with 2 or so gallons of ice water, read the temp, and pitch the yeast all in a matter of minutes. I hate waiting for wort to cool in a sink.
 

arturo7

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This topic comes up every other month. If you search you will find it debated ad nauseum.

There are basically two camps.

Those who say you can't used store bought ice.

And those who have been doing it for years with no problems.
 

Homercidal

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If I had to cool with water (but I don't because I do full boils), I'd probably freeze boiled water in a few sanitized 2L pop bottles. Just cut the ice out and plop in. No real risk of infection.

I have tried dropping frozen 2L bottles right into the wort before and it didn't seem to make much difference to the cooling time. But cutting the ice out of them would probably speed it up quite a bit.
 

OCLemon

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I have tried dropping frozen 2L bottles right into the wort before and it didn't seem to make much difference to the cooling time. But cutting the ice out of them would probably speed it up quite a bit.
Did the ice melt? You may not have experienced much difference because the plastic of the water bottle conducts heat poorly. Ice has to melt in order to really provide the maximum cooling power. Otherwise ice isn't much better than very cold water. It's the phase change that sucks up the heat.
 

HBHoss

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Perhaps using those 1 gallon Zippy freezer bags would be easier to get the ice out of. Hadn't thought of that until reading these posts. Those bags seal tight and are food grade.
 
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knuckleball

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Okay, I get that ice from the factory is an unknown. What I am still wondering is why is it that I may safely pour water from my tap into the fermenter, but I should not use ice from my own tap. The same tap that I would use to top off the fermenter.

I do full boils. BUT, for a 5.25 gal recipe why not boil down to 5 gallons or so and add a quart of ice to get the wort down from the 80's or 90's to a nice pitching temp?

I'm not trying to debate something that has already been hashed out. I am just trying to understand what is the problem with pitching homemade ice.
 

Scooby_Brew

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I've been reading through some of the threads on wort cooling. It seems that a lot of people are opposed to adding ice to the wort (a la Alton Brown) because of risk of infection. Yet topping off with water is extremely common. So why not top off with ice to get the temps down more quickly?

I have never added ice myself, but now I'm wondering why not?
Some people are just way too paranoid about things like that. Don't worry about it, you can use store bought ice.
 

HBHoss

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Okay, I get that ice from the factory is an unknown. What I am still wondering is why is it that I may safely pour water from my tap into the fermenter, but I should not use ice from my own tap. The same tap that I would use to top off the fermenter.

I do full boils. BUT, for a 5.25 gal recipe why not boil down to 5 gallons or so and add a quart of ice to get the wort down from the 80's or 90's to a nice pitching temp?

I'm not trying to debate something that has already been hashed out. I am just trying to understand what is the problem with pitching homemade ice.
Same reason people put baking soda in the freezer, it helps absorb the odors. You don't want ice that's been absorbing odors and picking up whatever has been floating around the freezer to end up in your wonderful wort. That's why using sealed containers makes a difference.
 

Synovia

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Okay, I get that ice from the factory is an unknown. What I am still wondering is why is it that I may safely pour water from my tap into the fermenter, but I should not use ice from my own tap. The same tap that I would use to top off the fermenter.
Because the water from your tap is chock full of chlorine and chloramine to kill bacteria.

The ice from your local liquor store has been sitting in the bottom of a cooler that probably hasn't been cleaned since it was first turned on. There are most likely holes in the bag. I've seen some crazy crap in the bottom of those coolers: dead animals, produce, band aids, trash, etc.
 

Homercidal

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Did the ice melt? You may not have experienced much difference because the plastic of the water bottle conducts heat poorly. Ice has to melt in order to really provide the maximum cooling power. Otherwise ice isn't much better than very cold water. It's the phase change that sucks up the heat.
I think that the plastic allowed a bit of the ice to melt quickly, then the insulation factor kicked in and prevented the cooling to work effectively. Getting the ice in contact with the hot wort makes it more effective.

I think that most sources that tell you to add water also mention boiling it and cooling it first. Not straight from the tap. I've used tap water for a few small things once in a while, with no problems, but if I had to add water to my wort again, I'd boil it first.

And I'd make large ice chucks in the freezer in a sealed and sanitized container of some kind.
 
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knuckleball

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Because the water from your tap is chock full of chlorine and chloramine to kill bacteria.
Got it. Doesn't this change though if the ice water is filtered? My ice dispenser uses filtered water, unlike my tap (which contains chloramine -- I am thinking about changing this).
 

springer

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I have also heard of people just taking spring water putting it in the freezer till it starts to ice up sanitize the neck open and dump that in. From the Poland spring sight

"To maintain the purity of our water, we employ a comprehensive, multi-barrier filtration system that involves carefully controlled and continuously monitored disinfection processes in hygienically designed lines. We test our water when it comes into the plant and for consistency several times per hour at every stage of the bottling process. Every year, we screen for over 200 possible contaminants-far more than state and federal regulations require."

1 gallon is 99 cents at the local grocery store.
 

springer

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Got it. Doesn't this change though if the ice water is filtered? My ice dispenser uses filtered water, unlike my tap (which contains chloramine -- I am thinking about changing this).
if the ice isn't in a sealed container then its coming into contact with all sorts of bacteria . Ever have something mold in the fridge? That air is moved from the fridge to the freezer every time the fan comes on since the freezer side cools the air and the fridge just uses a fan to take some of that cooled air to keep it cold.The air circulates between the two.
 

phatuna

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Like the others have said, this debate has been hashed silly.

If your question is "can you use ice to cool off wort" - the answer is yes

If your question is "is ice sanitary" - the answer is maybe, do your best to find and add sanitary ice.

on partial boils, I chill store bought spring water in the freezer and just before freezing, add to my wort. Try it, it works just fine. I have also dumped my tray of ice from my freezer's ice maker, it worked just fine.
 

Arkador

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I used ice for about 10 of my first batches. Half of them i just boght the big bag of ice at the store, the other times i made it myself in advance using a stack of ice trays. Never had an infection or offtaste, and it always made tasty beer.

granted, using a proper sanatized CFC i do make better beer, but alot has changed in my process since the old days.
 

OldSole

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Personally, I would never do it, especially from an ice machine. It can definitely be a nice home for something like lactobacillus species to hang out.

On the other hand though, I know an extract brewer who uses ice all the time and never has problems.
 

kingjokin

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My third batch.. random Porter
I am so mad at myself!!!
Never!! out a glass carboy in ice water and then pour hot wort into it!!!!
It shattered all over the place!! Fail!! Almost lost my whole batch saved at least four gallons in another carboy.
Rookie mistake. Never brew at 10 at night after working 10 hours!!
 

Marius

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I've done it several times, sanitize an hermetic plastic 0'5 litre box (don't know how this is called in English) an fill it with bottled water. Freeze it night before brewing. If you can't get your temps down fast enough it's a good solution. I stopped using this but just because now i don't need to do it.
 

Brewkowski

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If you're dumping the ice in right at the end of the boil, the water is about 200F, how much of any bacteria is on the surface of the ice? If you're killing bacteria at 180 or so I would think that by the time the ice melts and the water is cool the surface bacteria has been killed???
 

The Soft Underbelly

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Man y'all have me convinced, i'll try ive directly in my wort next time out. Took me 45 min in an ice bath to cool my beer today. Which i poured directly onto some ice mountain water which was in my carboy. Why not ice i say!!

It'll be a small batch...
 

duskb

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Okay, I get that ice from the factory is an unknown. What I am still wondering is why is it that I may safely pour water from my tap into the fermenter, but I should not use ice from my own tap. The same tap that I would use to top off the fermenter.

I do full boils. BUT, for a 5.25 gal recipe why not boil down to 5 gallons or so and add a quart of ice to get the wort down from the 80's or 90's to a nice pitching temp?

I'm not trying to debate something that has already been hashed out. I am just trying to understand what is the problem with pitching homemade ice.
I don't use tap water, hence why I wouldn't use "frozen" tap water. I suppose in some municipalities you can get away with it, but ultimately your beer is only going to be as good as your water. I can't understand why someone would go to all the effort that brewing requires just to cheap out on the main ingredient. Seems counter-productive to me.

I'm not saying it wouldn't work but I'm sure if one A/B'd a beer made with filtered water versus the typical tap crap you'd notice a difference. Hell, that's what Coors bases their entire value of their name on...it certainly isn't the taste.

I personally pull my water from my fridge door which has a filter on it. I have never topped my beer off with tap water.

YMMV
 

trailblazer

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idea:

put an unopened gallon jug of water into your freezer till its about to freeze....


when its nice and cold (after your boil) pour it into your wort

3 gallon boil + two gallons 35 degree water = pitching temp ( possibly)
 

gator_brewer

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idea:

put an unopened gallon jug of water into your freezer till its about to freeze....


when its nice and cold (after your boil) pour it into your wort

3 gallon boil + two gallons 35 degree water = pitching temp ( possibly)
I use this method and it works fine.... I do a single ice bath (single as in I only added ice once and once it all melts I move one to step two)

Basically I add my water to the freezer before I turn on the stove for the seeping grains.

Once everything is finished, I put the pot in an ice bath and stir the **** out of it to aerate and speed up cooling.

Once the ice bath is hot, I add a gal of freezing water to the pot, one to the bucket... add pot to bucket... stir more... and my temps are usually in pitching range.


But to stay on topic, the answer seems to be, don't use store bought ice, make it yourself in sealed tupperware and you'll be fine.
 

Talloak

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When I was doing extract, I would boil my top off water a day ahead of time, then put it in the freezer in gallon jugs. Then I would bring it to about 35 degrees or so to top off. Worked great. But now I do allgrain with full boils, so no topping off.
 

ElPresidente77

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I've been doing the ice thing for quite a while now with no issues. The only problem I've found is that pouring it over 1 bag of ice in a 5 gallon buckect. Just melts your ice real fast and doesn't really bring the wort down in temp enough. What I have found to be more effective is when you use a carboy as a fermenter you put the ice in your funnel and pour over the ice. This cools wort much faster.

Although my new wort chiller came today. So, no more ice for me.
 

rico567

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It's not sanitary, and I don't do it. OTOH, I do full boils and use a wort chiller, so I don't really need to, either. That being said, last Tuesday I attended a brew session as guest where the brewer was doing exactly what is stated in the OP- adding ice to top up & chill. I've had this guy's beer before, and it's OK. My guess is it's one of those things that will work for them......until it doesn't.
 
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