I’m boiling with 2 1/2 gallons of water based on the kit instructions. When I begin the cooling process can I add the cold water to the wort right away-before pouring the wort into the carboy?
If your pot (and stove ability) allows, boil as much as you can. You will loose some volume to evaporation. Upwards to 1 gallon. The boil doesn’t need to be a “jump out of the pot” boil. Just a good roll.
Yes, you can add the water or ice cubes to the pot to cool it down. Putting cold water in the fermenter, especially if using glass, then pour the cooler wort into it. Finishing off with more water to get 5-5.25 gallons. Hot liquid + glass = broken glass.
Helps to put some measured water in the fermenter and mark where you want to end with.
I think its better to cool the hot stuff some first. Cooling works better when theres a larger temperature gradient so you’ll drop the temp quickly at first. Then when its somewhat cooled you can add the cold water and bring it to pitching temp.
Adding ice is not a good idea. Ice makers aren’t the cleanest things by any means.
I have no idea if this was the best way or not, but before I got my wort chiller and outdoor burner this is what I would do. this process was formed because of a few reasons. first, my stove top was not the strongest in the world. 2nd I had a pretty deep utility sink. Also this was for 5 gal extracts
I would usually start with 2.5 - 3.0 gallons of water. again, more a function of my weak stove. I would usually get just enough ump for a slow rolling boil. advantage is I did not lose that much for evaporation.
I would then also have 2 gallons of water chilled for about a day in the fridge. about 45-50 minutes into the boil I would place them into the freezer. I found it took just about that long for already chilled water to begin to slush up just right. obviously you will have to experiment a bit for what would work in your feezer.
when it was done and reacdy for chilling, I put the pot into a huge ice bath and then added the chilled/slush water. I would spray the outside of the jig with san star etc as well. to me this got almost ice like water without the fear of using frozen ice that went through ice maker etc.
between the ice bath and the 1-2 gallons of chilled water I could usually get my wort down to a pitching temp in about 15-20 minutes, which really isn’t that bad.
I usually also had to top off with maybe 1/2 gal of room temp water as well.
again, just my process, seemed to work fairly well.
If you want to add ice, boil some water and once it’s cooled down put it in a clean container then into the freezer.