Chilling with Dry Ice?

I’m sure someone has thought of this before, but could you chill after brewing by adding dry ice to the brew tun? I can think of a few reasons why this might not be a good idea (like the brew boiling over (sublimating over?), or possible contaminates in the dry ice, or the excess CO2 driving a lot of oxygen out of the beer), but theoretically it would cool the wort quickly and not dilute the brew, since all the dry ice would evaporate as CO2.


Sanitation would be an issue. Dry ice isn’t made to be in contact with food so there can be production contaminants in the ice. The dry ice may also be so cold it will freeze a capsule of wort around it which would insulate it until it slowly releases CO2. You are right that there could be an instant boil over.

Just guessing. Never used it except to burn a finger many years ago.


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It’s not sanitary and it’s hard to gauge how much to use.

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Hmmm…I figured it was probably a no-go. I work in a lab where we use dry ice in methanol to freeze stuff quickly, and it made me wonder about brewing. The immersion chiller I have works fine, I was just curious.

Thanks for the replies!

I would second the sanitation and contaminant concerns, but you might be interested in an experiment my son and I ran a couple of days ago. Someone sent us steaks in the mail that were kept frozen with dry ice. I put 2 gallons of water at around 60 degrees F in a 5 gallon bucket of water. I threw in the 2 by 3 by 6 inch piece of dry ice into the water while outside and my son standing 15 feet away. No explosions. No overflow of water. It bubbled CO2 steadilyfor about 15 minutes until it was gone. I took a temperature reading when it was completely sublimated (turned from a solid to gas). The temperature read 50 degrees F. I was thinking the water would turn to ice and totally did not expect that we would only see a 15 degree F drop in temperature with just 2 gallons of water. So even if we thought that dry ice was sanitary and didn’t contain toxic contaminants (which we don’t), there’s no way you could add enough dry ice to cool wort at 212 degrees F down to yeast pitching temperature. Wort, being a sugar solution, would contain a lot more heat energy at 212 degrees F than straight water, so it would take even more dry ice to cool it down. Finally, the viscosity of the wort and the hot temperature would probably cause a massive foaming and overflowing mess everywhere. So it’s a no-go any way you look at it.

Nice experiment! Thanks for the info.