Wort chilling in ice bucket?

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mciaio

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Planing to do my first all grain soon. I have a cooler MT setup and now I am working on cooling. I am going to be boiling in a turkey fryer. I have a very large round plastic bucket that I can fill with water and ice. Can I just submerge my brew kettle in this ice water bucket and get sufficient cooling and fast enough? Does anyone do it this way?
 

Gosassin

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Sure you can do it that way. Just make sure the ice water doesn't get in the wort. It would also help to stir the wort around gently to make sure as much of it as possible touches the cold sides of the pot. Change the ice as needed, because it will melt quickly.
 

wilserbrewer

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I do this regularly. This will work even better if you have two tubs as you will need to changeout the cooling water two or three times.

Depending on how much ice you have available, i would just use cold tap water for the initial cooling. If you use an ice water mix initially, you will use a lot of ice!!!! My usual routine is to drop the temp down to around 120 on the first bath w/ just water, then I will use ice and water for the second bath. If I have plenty of ice available, I will just drop the hot kettle into a huge ice bath and it works fast!!

Occasionally I have access to a commercial ice machine, I find it almost easier to grab 50 - 60 pounds of ice for chilling rather than fooling w/ my immersion chiller. This is especially true in the summer when the tap water is quite warm, and will not bring the wort down to the low 60's. I figure I am going to have to do an ice bath anyways, so why bother with the chiller at all. If you are bying ice, this method is somewhat cost prohibitive. I have also culled the ice from my fridges icemaker in advance of brewday so I have 2-4 batches of ice from my fridge.

Everytime I read someone someone saying that a chiller is mandatory equipment and ice baths don't really work, I kind of chuckle. With enough ice and a big enough tub, water/ice baths are very effective! More effective IMO than any one stage chiller w/ higher tap water temps.

It also helps to have a nice large oversized kettle, You will want to have the ice bath at a level that when the pot is submerged the cooling water is a few inches below the rim of the kettle, and the kettle is stable sitting on the bottom of the tub, so there will be no cross contamination.
 
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mciaio

mciaio

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Thanks for the input guys. I can "harvest" ice from my freezer prior to brew day. I plan on using this 20 gallon palstic bucket I have.
 

Gosassin

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I usually put the kettle in a tub of ice water, drop the chiller in, then fill another tub with icewater. I put a fountain pump in the second tub, hook it up to the IC, and run the ice water from the second tub through the chiller and back into the tub. the water slowly warms up, but I just add bags of ice as needed and it chills the wort down a treat.
 
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mciaio

mciaio

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How big do you think your tubs are?
 

Gosassin

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How big do you think your tubs are?
I dunno; I think they probably hold 10-15 gallons. they're round colored plastic with plastic rope handles attached through the lip. I got them at Walmart for about $8 each if I recall correctly.
 

HotbreakHotel

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I cool my wort in an ice bath like that. I don't switch between buckets, I just put a lot of ice in. I put just a couple inches of water in the bottom of the big bucket, put the covered kettle in, and carefully put the ice between the kettle and the bucket, trying not to let water from the ice doesn't seep under the kettle lid.

I use 3-4 7 lb. bags of ice plus 10 or so of the reusable "blue ice" thingies. I should harvest ice every day too to save on cost. I also have the round bucket with the plastic rope handles. It works great for that. I don't know how much ice you've saved, but maybe you would like to pick up some more if you can? I find I need a lot to cool it fast.
 

BrewBeemer

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I have had great results for years using a white food grade 55 gallon plastic drum that is cut down to a inch below the top weld skirt line on the boil keggle. On the inlet are back to back 3/4" 90 degree fittings to hook or hang the copper pipe to the barrel. On the bottom of this copper pipe app 2" before the bottom of the barrel is a 90 degree fitting for the whirl pool action. On the top bolted thru the barrel is a 1" fitting that's 3" below the rim of the barrel with another 90 degree fitting added in the opposite direction of the inlet fitting. this 1" fitting drains off the water flow fast enough to not overpower the inlet water. This outlet fitting is connected to a short piece of hose just to get the hose on the ground and 4' away from the barrel. The well water is cheap plus with two degrees difference of 62 degrees year round. On the top of the boil keggle I use the same keg lid as used on the HLT, (same diameter) with a 90 volt variable speed motor to stir the HLT or wort slowly. A 9" diameter bronze outboard motor racing prop rotates fron 25 -150 rpm's.
With the plastic drum you can get the boil keg or pot fully submerged to get the maximum cooling effect, just cut a barrel a little less heigth than your boil kettle. No way will the cooling water reach the wort. Call me cheap, this has saved purchasing chiller coils.
 

wilserbrewer

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Brewbeemer, I bet your cooling system works real nice. I was also thinking of using a big drum sort of like you have done. Thanks for the tip.
 

GunnerMan

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Yeah, cool your wort down to 120 or so as said and then add a ton of ice. If you are not worried about any ill effects to your pot you can use leftover driveway salt in the ice bath as well, so it's kind of like making wort ice cream....now that is a damn fine idea.
 

pen25

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just spend the money on the copper. its cheap and you will save money in the long run. use the pump to pump ice water through the chiller when it gets down to around 90 degree's and youll get low temps quick. water baths work great but they do take time and you have to use a bunch of ice and can take 20 min or more
 

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I have two IC's, one is normal, and one has bout half the amount of coils. I put the smaller one in a bucket with ice water, and run it from tap to ice bath IC to wort IC to my large bucket for cleanup water. Works well, and I can cool the wort in about 10 minutes. Winner.
 

BrewBeemer

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Brewbeemer, I bet your cooling system works real nice. I was also thinking of using a big drum sort of like you have done. Thanks for the tip.
Just don't do what I did the first time out with a 11 gallon batch, I submerged the boil keggle forgetting I had a dial temp gauge screwed into the side coupling. Wasted the themp gauge. Later design was a long tube with the bottom end plugged and Tig welded, it goes thru the lid and stops against the flared end against the keg lid top . It's 15" long and hangs down deep into the center of the keggle above the stir propeller which is great for the heat transfer plus creates the trub ball in the center when done. By the time i'm done screwing around getting the fermenter ready and a bier i'm looking at 67 to 68*F ready to transfer and pitch. The bad part was lifting the keggle out of the barrel. Times have changed back says no way these days. I'll use a SS IC and circulate into the barrel on the future single tier system. HLT lid with stir motor and propeller will still be used.

Check around any large food manufacturing company as they usually have white or blue plastic 55 gallon drums out back, worth asking for one if free. Even one cut down to 16" tall is a great anti-freeze collector when draining a radiator or cooling system, 5 gallon buckets cut down are perfect for engine oil changes (13 1/2 quarts my PU), tranny, transfer or F/R diffs. And people pay for drums that cost $59 and buckets at HD.
 

Homercidal

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An IC is not hard to build and requires no special tools (besides a screwdriver). It might end up being a bit more efficient and perhaps a bit easier to work with than tubs of water.

All you need is a 50' length of 3/8 copper, some plastic hose, a garden hose to plastic tubing barb adapter, and 2 hose clamps.

You could get a cheap pond pump and recirculate ice water for even faster cooling.
 

wilserbrewer

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An IC is not hard to build and requires no special tools (besides a screwdriver). It might end up being a bit more efficient and perhaps a bit easier to work with than tubs of water.

All you need is a 50' length of 3/8 copper, some plastic hose, a garden hose to plastic tubing barb adapter, and 2 hose clamps.

You could get a cheap pond pump and recirculate ice water for even faster cooling.
I have done it both ways, funny thing is that when I use my IC, I need a place to store the hot runoff or it will kill my lawn. I grab the large tub out of the garage to catch the piping runoff. Sometimes I find it easier to just grab the tub and use that alone. I have noticed w/ the immersion chiller, unless I constantly stir the wort its effectiveness is reduced. W/ the tub, I pretty much set and forget. Less labor overall. No IC to get out, hook up, stir, stir, and stir some more. Clean up the IC, put the IC away.

Maybe I'm just a minimalist, liking to keep it simple. I really have no desire to get a second coil and a pump, and ice, and probably a "tub" to house the ice, especially for only five gallons!
 

portlandbeergeek

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I've used the ice bath method since I went AG last summer. Works like a charm, I used to get probably 70# of ice from work, but then i got fired and I don't think they'd want me to come steal their ice anymore. Yesterday I bought a ten pound block of ice and a twenty pound bag of cubes. Last night I put five 1-quart contaners of water in the freezer, and that was all the ice i needed to go from boil to 70* in about half an hour. Speaking of which, it's about time to strain the wort and pitch!!
 

2pugbrews

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Planing to do my first all grain soon. I have a cooler MT setup and now I am working on cooling. I am going to be boiling in a turkey fryer. I have a very large round plastic bucket that I can fill with water and ice. Can I just submerge my brew kettle in this ice water bucket and get sufficient cooling and fast enough? Does anyone do it this way?
Sure. When I was doing extract brewing and before I got an immersion chiller, I would freeze 2 or 3 or more plastic gallon milk jugs and break up the ice w/an ice pick and cut the jug away. Cooled the 2-3 gal real fast. Did it in the kitchen sink so could drain warmed up water away. Couldn't do this w/an AG full boil kettle - too heavy. Glad I have an immersion chiller.
 

kinison_fan

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Last month, I had a friend over to brew his first batch. We had two turkey fryers going, and when it came time to chill (only have one chiller), I took the wheelbarrow, and filled it with snow, then stuck both brew kettles in the wheelbarrow/snow.
It worked great-added more snow as needed, and it was free.
 
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