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Wort Cooling

Maine Homebrewer

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I use an immersian chiller built from copper coil, racking tubing, a couple clamps, and some plumbing parts.
I usually brew at near 70, though I rarely chill it under 80.  In my experience I start the yeast off warm and happy and it does its thing better than if I started it off at brew temperature.  There's probably a ton of technical reasons why I should do something else, but I'm happy with the results so I keep doing what I'm doing.
 
R

RMHayes

For fast cooling I've dropped 8 lbs of ice (1 gallon frozen water) into 2 gallons of 212 degF wort, then topped to 5 gallons with 55 degF tap water (from my 100 foot well). With 55 degF well water, 32 degF ice (140 BTU/lb latent), this ends at 86 degF as soon as the ice is melted and mixed.

I've heard concerns about buggers in the ice, but what about the water used to top up to 5 gallons? That comes from the same water source (if you freeze your own ice). I've never had a batch go bad using this method.
 

SOGOAK

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I'd be too scared to try the ice route.  I get anxious when my end volume is off and worry about weak beer. 

I think if you freeze your own ice and limit lag, you are all good.  The Jedi tell me a BIG thing to strive for is low lag time because once the good guy yeasts are working, it makes it tough for any wild bugs to set up shop.
 

MaltLicker

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This thread has been all over, so here's my lesson learned from this week.  Agitation of the wort chiller. 

Wednesday it was slightly more wort than usual, but I failed to agitate the chiller at all, and after 20 gallons of cold tap, it was still above 140F.  Usually I get below 115F after 20 gallons tap.  I switched to my pump and ice water contraption, and we had to work HARD to reach 68F and melted all the ice, which never happens. 

Today I gently agitated the chiller non-stop during the 20 gallons of tap and got down to 83F on tap alone.  True, it was slightly less wort and a little colder today, but 60F difference was amazing.  After maybe four minutes on ice pump and it was 65F. 
 

Rep

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MaltLicker said:
This thread has been all over, so here's my lesson learned from this week.  Agitation of the wort chiller. 

Wednesday it was slightly more wort than usual, but I failed to agitate the chiller at all, and after 20 gallons of cold tap, it was still above 140F.  Usually I get below 115F after 20 gallons tap.  I switched to my pump and ice water contraption, and we had to work HARD to reach 68F and melted all the ice, which never happens. 

Today I gently agitated the chiller non-stop during the 20 gallons of tap and got down to 83F on tap alone.  True, it was slightly less wort and a little colder today, but 60F difference was amazing.  After maybe four minutes on ice pump and it was 65F. 

ML, by agitate you mean lifting and gently stirring the wort chiller?
 

SleepySamSlim

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I'm doing partial boils -- so I need to add 2 Gal --- for each batch I pick up two 1 Gal jugs of filtered Spring Water at the store ($1.70 each). The night before I brew 1 goes into the fridge -- the other I pour a bit out of (to allow for expansion ) and it goes in the freezer.

Right before you pour the hot wort into the primary bucket --- take a clean hammer and beat the crap out of the handle area of the gallon jug so the ice mass will not be hung up --- then take a clean razor-blade hobby knife and cut off the bottom of the gallon jug while holding it over the bucket. BLAM !! you now have a large clean ice chunk for the hot wort.

This works pretty good but it still can take a few hours --- ultimately I will build a immersion chiller rigged to a pump. I like the idea of recirculating ice cold sink water
 

MaltLicker

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Rep - Yea, gently moving the chiller around, mostly side-to-side, trying to keep the coils beneath the surface.  No surface splashing wanted. 

I also realized that if the long garden hose has been in the sun, it is worth it to run tap water thru the hose until it runs cold before attaching to chiller. 

I'm going to try two hybrids (alt and kolsch) next and will want to chill down to 57F, so I'll use all the tricks on those. 
 
B

bretski

Just to add a couple more pennies to this topic:

Back when I was doing partial boils, I'd put a couple gallons of water (plastic jugs) in the freezer when I was boiling the wort.  Gave the bottles a shake every so often, which would help get a "slurry" of ice in the jugs.  I'd put my brewpot in an ice-water bath for 15-20 minutes or so, then dump most of the ice slurry into the primary.  The wort would then go in, and top-off with additional cold water as needed.  This would get me to yeast-pitching temp quickly.

Since going with an immersion chiller, the amount of water needed varies with the season.  I live in Colorado, and our tap water is quite cold during the winter months.  In the summer, I have an extension of coil (about 15') that I run through an ice water bath before it connects to the immersion chiller.  A little extra plumbing, but the pre-chilling of the water really makes a difference.  To help avoid guilt from water-waste, I collect the outflow into 5 gal buckets, which then goes to water the garden...  ;)
 

Maine Homebrewer

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Before I had a well and the equipment to do all grain I used to boil the city tap water wort, cool with gallon jugs of bottled water from the convenience store, and avoid ice at all costs.

Currently I'm experimenting with sourdough bread and intentionally cultivating wild yeast, the exact opposite of homebrewing.
 

SleepySamSlim

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After starting out using cold water - frozen water - and waiting hours for the wort to cool down ... I cannot say enough about a simple immersion cooler to make brewing easier and hopefully better beer too.

I used the basic instructions from the BeerSmith Blog - but of course being a dope I bought 3/8" ID copper tubing versus 3/8" OD (1/4" ID) tubing. Bigger is better right ? Well that was a Bi-atch to bend into coils --- and I only did 20ft as I felt that would be fine for partial boils of 3 gallons. And I did spend extra $$ on brass compression fittings. On the first use it took boiling wort down to 85deg in less than 10 minutes.

Now thats brewing ...
 

SOGOAK

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S3, Congrats! From what I understand is the 1/4OD is better.  I made mine from the soft 3/8. Based on copying others.

Either way- should be better beer and 30-60 minutes saved per batch-if you are a night brewer like me, that time off the back end is fantastic.
 
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