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Cooling Wort Method

Hey guys,

Have only done one brew so far, and plan on my second next week. (Chinook IPA!) Not doing full wort boils, only 3.5 gal. Instructions say to cool the wort in a ice bath (haven’t sprung for a wort chiller yet), and then top off the cooled wort with water to reach 5 gal. My question is, why can’t I just add cold water to the hot wort after the boil while its still in the kettle? This would really help with my cooling times. Anyone do this? Reasons not too? Let me know, thanks.

  • Jeff

You really should get a chiller. I brew three gallon batches and the one I have (20’ by 3/8") cools my wort down to pitching temperature in 15 minutes. It’s way quicker and easier than the ice bath method.
You can add the cold water to the hot wort, but I don’t think it will cool it down as much as you think and then you have to have a big enough ice bath to cool off five gallons.

[quote=“Rookie L A”]You really should get a chiller. I brew three gallon batches and the one I have (20’ by 3/8") cools my wort down to pitching temperature in 15 minutes. It’s way quicker and easier than the ice bath method.
You can add the cold water to the hot wort, but I don’t think it will cool it down as much as you think and then you have to have a big enough ice bath to cool off five gallons.[/quote]
I agree. Before Chiller, I would ice-bath the pot to about 80F, then transfer to the bucket, and add chilled top-off water & ice to get the rest of the way to pitching temp.
Another good reason for not topping off the kettle is that if you want to pour the wort through a filter, it’s easier to do with the lesser amount.

Spring for a chiller- maybe even an XL. It takes me 8 min. to cool my wort down to 65*. (That’s a 1 gal. batch with 50* tap water).

When I start doing 5 gal. full volume boils, I plan on getting an XL chiller. I might even use both of them in tandem with the smaller one in an ice bath.

Here’s what I did my last batch and it seemed to work well. I’m in NY and we had a brutal cold spell a week ago when I did my brew day. Early in the morning I got up and put 4 gallons of filtered water on the stove. Brought it to a boil and then boiled for 10 minutes. Good sterile water. Then I put the covered pot outside on the deck in the single digit temps for a few hours. Later in the day I started my brew. Did the 3 gallons on the stove and made my wort. I set up the sink as my ice bath and I have a miniature fountain pump that has suction cups and I can stick it to the side of the sink. It keeps the water gently circulating. After my boil was done I put the pot in the ice bath and then grabbed the pot from the deck. I sprayed the top and sides with sanitizer and let it set for 2 minutes. Then I poured the very cold water into the wort pot so it was pretty close to the top but still manageable. The result was that my wort temp was down to 70 degrees after 25 minutes. Then I transferred the wort to the carboy and topped up to the 5 gallon mark. Now the wort was 62 degrees. So in less than 30 minutes I went from boiling in the pot to 62 degree pitching temp. Seems to have worked well and the fermentation has gone fine so far. Now this is only my second batch of my short brewing career so don’t put too much stock in my method. But it seems to have been successful.

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