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Alternative cooling techniques

I am wanting get my wort cooled faster without using a wort chiller. I cannot use a chiller because my landlord has a funky faucet connected to my sink. I currently use an ice bath for cooling but it takes quite a while. What do you do to chill faster? What do you think about the ideas below?

  1. Adding blocks of ice (frozen in a well sanitized container of course) directly into the wort?

  2. How about freezing a couple of 1 liter bottles, sanitizing them then putting them into the wort to help cool from the inside, in addition to the ice bath?

can you explain the “funky faucet”?

is there another spigot you could connect to? Bathroom or outside spigot?

[quote=“mahoni”]I am wanting get my wort cooled faster without using a wort chiller. I cannot use a chiller because my landlord has a funky faucet connected to my sink. I currently use an ice bath for cooling but it takes quite a while. What do you do to chill faster? What do you think about the ideas below?

  1. Adding blocks of ice (frozen in a well sanitized container of course) directly into the wort?

  2. How about freezing a couple of 1 liter bottles, sanitizing them then putting them into the wort to help cool from the inside, in addition to the ice bath?[/quote]

First off, a chiller is the best way to go. Maybe if you remove the aerator from the “funky” faucet you can get an adapter that will fit it. That’s what I did when I brewed in the kitchen.

I’ve used frozen, sanitized water bottles in the wort to cool before and they worked pretty well for a few batches, but I ended up having to dump a couple batches and switched to a wort chiller. I’m pretty sure the frozen water bottles were the culprit of the off-flavor that caused me to dump the batches. Maybe I put the bottles in when the wort was still too hot and it caused the plastic to emit something…I don’t know for sure. But I do know that when I switched to a chiller, I never experienced that off-flavor again.

Another method might be boiling and cooling water beforehand, transferring to a sanitized container, then adding this water to the wort as it’s cooling. If you’re doing small boils and having to top up with water anyway, this might be an alternative.

That was a long-winded answer. So, frozen water bottles will work for a time, but the best way to go is a chiller. There’s probably an adapter out there for you faucet if you look around.

Good luck.

I used ice for many many batches before I bought my chiller (which is great!).

I would boil, cool and then freeze about 2-2.5 gallons water in 32 oz yogurt container, that were sanitized, including the lids!
I would have about 8 or 9 of them.

about 30 minutes before boil ended, I took ice out of freezer, warmed them up, and popped them out of containers into a sanitized tub, so they were ready to go.
once done with the boil, which was reduced to about 2.5 gallons, I added the blocks of ice (making sure my hands were clean!)

once the ice melted, the wort was usually at perfect temp, and then I had cold water on hand to top off.

I did this for about 20-some batches, never had a problem, except it was lots of work.

now I do full batches with my chiller.

hope this helps

The alternatives sound like a pain to me . . . I would consider no chill.

I know it heresy, there is a fella that use to post here that transferred his boiling hot wort into kegs. Sealed them and let them cool. Even lagers. Days or weeks later he would transfer them to a fermenter and add yeast.

I tasted a couple and could not tell there was any issues.

You could put a lid on the pot and let it sit overnight.

I would first check further into putting an adapter on your sink faucet - I had to do that to mine. Put a rag or towel on the end of faucet (so you don’t scratch it all up), get an appropriate wrench and see if you can unscrew it. If you can, you should be able to buy a threaded adapter that will work for a chiller.

Another thought - not sure how much it will speed things up - but, you could add salt to your ice bath for chilling. No salt - water cannot get lower than 32 degrees. With salt, water can get down into the teens or even lower. I think ocean water can get down into single digits. This might speed things up a little.

Occasionally swirling (gently) the pot to mix the wort and disperse the heat may help a bit.

However - I would do some more recon on a chiller and getting an adapter. Hose and outside faucet? No substitute for a chiller.

When I first started homebrewing, I would dump my hot wort right over the top of a 7 pound bag of commercial ice in my bottling bucket. It cooled real fast and while I never had any issues, I now realize many years later that this was not the safest way to cool wort. It might be worth a try though if you want.

Any reason you couldn’t add a ‘T’ and hose bib under the sink? You really can’t beat a good chiller.

My first few brews, I used an ice bath in the sink. Now, I use my swam cooler with gallon jugs of ice. The sink-ice-bath would take up to an hour to cool but now I can cool my 2-3gal wort in about 20 minutes. I also cool to 90* and add ice water to top off.

Maybe I read the above posts too quickly and missed this but I use a pump in a cooler filled with ice water (and a little salt). I have a crummy well. In the summer, running the faucet for any considerable amount of time is sure to dry me up. So I take a gigantic cooler, throw in some ice water and stick in the pump. Water circulates through the wort chiller and back into the cooler. I haven’t perfected the technique just yet but basically when the water in the cooler warms ups all I need to do is drain a little from the cooler and add more ice throughout the chill. Gets it down pretty quickly and doesn’t require a ton of water (or in your case a new faucet).

Partial boils? If so you can chill the top-up water ahead of time.

All good alternatives. +1 on the ice slurry in a swamp cooler and pump, and adding rock salt to lower water temps. Very portable and most likely about as efficient as you can get with your circumstances.

I have used ice blocks with some success. Keep it as clean as possible and you shouldn’t have a problem. The frozen plastic bottle thing will most likely give some ill effects as plastic bottles have a low temp threshold.

I have also used a good 'ole snow bank (you have snow in NY, right??) just pulled the pot off the burner and stuck it in a nice looking drift (no yellow snow…) and every few minutes stirred pot and piled more snow next to the pot. I realize this may not be the best situation in an apartment, but imagine the story to tell and the friends you’ll meet standing next to a pot of wort, a cold beer in hand, and a snow drift.

One last thought, I Also like the idea of fiddling with the faucet and finding an adapter, or if you are handy with plumbing, under your kitchen sink, and slightly out of view, add a ‘T’ and hose fitting and valve.

There seems to be no good substitute for a chiller. Good luck!! :cheers:

[quote=“Chinaski1217”]
I’ve used frozen, sanitized water bottles in the wort to cool before and they worked pretty well for a few batches, but I ended up having to dump a couple batches and switched to a wort chiller. I’m pretty sure the frozen water bottles were the culprit of the off-flavor that caused me to dump the batches. Maybe I put the bottles in when the wort was still too hot and it caused the plastic to emit something…I don’t know for sure. But I do know that when I switched to a chiller, I never experienced that off-flavor again.

I recently just tasted my 1st 2 batches and they both have the same off flavor. I went the frozen water bottle route, so I now think that I found my culprit. I would then suggest not going that route!

homemade copper 3/8" coil bent around a keg as to not kink. some old hose attached to my harbour freight water pump, using six frozen milk jugs, i circulate into a large storage container using for storage of clothing or whatever (found everywhere). i usually get 5 gal. down to 70* in 30 min. flat, even in the sweltering summer heat…agreed that cooling is a pain, put once you get a system down it is just another part of the process.

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