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Chilling wort

I was wondering if most people use wort chillers or not?
For me one kit I made before turned out to be a long night mostly of waiting for the wort to cool. I tried putting it in sink with frozen food/cold water/ice cubes and I also tried putting in our cold garage on the floor. I didn’t realize it would take hours and I didn’t finish till like 2 in the morning.
Are there any other tips for speeding up this process?
Thanks for all the info people!

Yep, wort chiller is the way to go. I use a CFC and simply gravity into my fermenter from my BK.

CFC - Counter Flow Chiller is the fastest most efficient option and you get the added benefit of chilling while transferring to the fermenter. I have two and chill 20+ gallons from 212 to 50 degrees in about 6 minutes.

IC - Immersion Chiller is the way many homebrewers go because it is simple and doesn’t require a spigot in your kettle. It is tough to seperate the trub and cold break from the wort though after chilling.

One really cheap and easy method which is risky and frowned upon by many who frequent this forum is the following:
Dump a 7-10# bag of ice in a cleaned and sanitized bottling bucket and then dump your boiling wort right over the top of that. Then top off with cold water to the 5 gallon mark. I did this for a year without problems but keep in mind that commercial ice can harbor all kinds of bacteria. It is a risky move.

I just made and used a rudimentary immersion set up, coiling 50’ of 3/8" copper around a corny. I used a pond pump submerged in a 5gal bucket of ice water and pumped the water through the copper. In 5gal of water and approx 15 minutes I was down to 70 degrees from 212. She ain’t the prettiest but she works. I was amazed.

My well water is 54 degrees f. even in the summer. I can drop 3gallons of boiling wort to <100 in approx. 5 minutes. My immersion chiller cuts 30 to 50 minutes off my brew day. It’s probably the biggest time saving purchase I have made since I started brewing.

What all is needed for teh Counter Flow Chiller? Is a pump necessary for this?

[quote=“Adam20”]What all is needed for teh Counter Flow Chiller? Is a pump necessary for this?[/quote]You can gravity drain through a CFC without a pump but you must have a spigot. A CFC is just a copper tube inside a larger copper or rubber hose. Water goes one way and the wort goes the other way through the center tube. There are many videos on youtube which show how to make your own CFC.

Awesome. Thanks.

2am…did you start at 11pm or something? I can cool my wort in the sink in ice water in 20 minutes or so and pitch the yeast at 65-68. Maybe you just need to start brewing a little earlier in the day :slight_smile:

I’ve been considering a wort chiller, but I am able to get my wort down under 100 degrees within 15 - 20 minutes by simply setting the kettle in a sink full of ice and water.

Before I buy one, is this fast enough? At what point do you get diminishing returns (i.e., is 6 minutes appreciably better than 15 - 20. I read somewhere that under 30 minutes is the goal)? Finally, I believe I’ve also read that taking too long to cool leads to cloudy beer. Is that true/all there is to worry about?

You should buy a 50’ or 25’ Copper coil and use it as a IC and if you know or eventually learn to solder copper pipes together you can turn that copper coil into a CFC. That is what i did, I had a 20’ IC and then when i got fed up with it taking so long i turned it into a CFC and i wasted 1’ of copper so it really is a 19’ CFC.It cools my wort down to 60F~65F as fast as I can transfer it. It only costed me the price of the copper coil ~$20 and $3 for the copper reducers and the rest of the stuff i already had.

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/wiki/index. ... ow_Chiller http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f51/counter ... ial-51793/

A guy I know who doesnt brew but is very scientific says that there is likely a “danger zone” more than a time goal with the cooling. He’s under the impression that the drop from 100 degrees to 80 degrees is the most important part. He says bacteria like this temperature range a lot, and thats what makes it important to cool rapidly. So bacteria dont have a good chance of getting in there during that time. I dont know how true it is. Just thought I’d throw it out there.

For some of the new brewers/extract brewers, like myself:

I find that I can bring 4 gallons of boiling wort down to 70 or 80 degrees in like 10 minutes using just an ice bath. I dump a bag of ice and a little water into a 10 or 15 gallon plastic laundry tub. I go directly from the burner, after it’s off, to the tub. I stir/whirpool the wort and at the same time I stir the ice water in the tub the opposite direction around the pot. Seems to work well. I usually have to add ice once or twice during the process. I do usually buy two big bags of ice, so it adds 4 or 5 dollars to my brew day, but copper prices are stupid nowadays…

Just make sure you don’t get any of the water from the tub in your pot!

Since I do 4 gallon boils, once I get the wort to 70-80 degrees I just top up with cold spring water from the store to get 5 gallons in the fermenting bucket. That gets me down to 60 -65 degrees and ready to pitch some yeast.

I will probably buy an immersion chiller or two and run 1 of them in a bucket of ice water before it hits the one cooling the wort but I have no problems with the ice bath technique for now and although it involves more work, it’s chills smaller batches down just as fast if not faster than the immersion chillers do.

eta: It reminds me of making ice cream in the old school hand crank/electric ice cream makers.

eta 2: Speaking of ice cream machines I started wondering if adding rock salt to the ice bath in the tub would help much or not. I went an looked around and there’s some talk about it. Apparently the salt melts the ice but allows your ice bath to drop below 32 degrees because it becomes an almost freezing salt water bath.

The main reason to chill as quickly as possible is to avoid contamination in your beer.

This is basically correct. Once you cool below about 140* you enter what they refer to in the food industry as “the danger zone” where bacteria can grow. The danger zone is between 41* and 140*, so once you drop below 140* any wild bacteria in the air can contaminate your beer. So you want to chill it as quickly as possible, pitch your yeast, and cover it so that you minimize the risk of infection.

Thanks for all of the great tips. There are always so many good ideas on these forums.
I was trying to think why my cooling took hours instead of 20 minutes.
I didn’t use a ton of ice in the sink. I just used cold water a few small cubes I had lying around and some bags of frozen food that were frozen solid. I thought those would be the same as ice.
I think I’ll just get a bag of ice this time as see how long it takes. If it still seems too long I want to maybe try an immersion chiller. But 20 mins doesn’t seem too bad.

[quote=“crud99”]Thanks for all of the great tips. There are always so many good ideas on these forums.
I was trying to think why my cooling took hours instead of 20 minutes.
I didn’t use a ton of ice in the sink. I just used cold water a few small cubes I had lying around and some bags of frozen food that were frozen solid. I thought those would be the same as ice.
I think I’ll just get a bag of ice this time as see how long it takes. If it still seems too long I want to maybe try an immersion chiller. But 20 mins doesn’t seem too bad.[/quote]
I do as SolomonsCommune’s does with a laundry tub except I use frozen water bottles which can be reused over and over. Mostly, I reuse the extract jugs I get with the kits. I can fit about 6 of the 6lb extract jugs in my tub and swirl the wort and cold water in opposite directions. I drop to 80 degrees in half an hour and top off with 45-50 water to get to pitching temp.

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