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Wort chiller circulating to icy bucket for huge cold break?

I’ve got a good immersion chiller, 50 ft. Of 1/2 in. Copper. Trouble is, is that I’m brewing in my kitchen so it’s not uncommon to find me dragging a couple garden hoses through the house to work that son of a gun. The gf is not a fan of this practice.

I was thinking of just freezing some milk jugs and putting it in a cooler with water to make super cold h2o. Then hook up an aquarium pump to circulate the water from cooler through IC and back I to the cooler.

Has anyone tried something similiar to this? My only fear is that there might be too much heat for it handle and just melt all the ice before it is effective leaving me with a cooler of hot water that’s not aiding in the cooling effect.

The other thought was mega cold break! If it works according to plan that is.

thoughts? Maybe more effort than worth.

Recirculating ice water through an IC is a common homebrewer practice and you’ll find many threads here covering the process. It works well to first run the IC with tap water to get the wort down to 100-110F and then switch to the ice bath. You’ll want to remove the ice from the milk jugs if you want good transfer to the water (just cut the tops off the jugs before filling and freezing, then add the jugs to the water and the ice will melt and swim out).

I do exactly what you suggest.

I start with enough water in a homer bucket to get the pump going, then add ice. 3-4 pounds at a time. I generally go through 15lbs of ice in about 20 minutes. I get the wort down to about 60, using the SS chiller from NB.

Last time, I made ice in plastic containers. I held the containers upside-down over the bucket and let the chillers outlet pour over the bottom. As each block fell out into the bucket, I grabbed the next. It worked like a charm.

My pump is a bit heavier than an aquarium pump though, 1800 gal/hr. It’s designed for flooded basements. So even at the start the water coming out is hot, but not scalding.

Move to Minnesota and stick it in a snowbank Mr. San Luis Obispo! Current temp 6 f - forecast high Monday -12 and that’s not a hyphen. :smiley:

10 gallon cooler filled with tap water knocks the initial heat out. I then empty the cooler and refill with just a few gallons of tap water and a “big bag” of ice. Two bags work better/faster. I use an emergency sump pump I picked up at home depot to recirculate. The garden hose wastes way too much water and takes way too long. Don’t forget to move your chiller around too.

Right on guys thanks for the ideas on ice preservation.

Sadly it doesn’t snow here, so no snow banks to stick it in, or fill my return bucket with.

It’s 54* right now at 7:00 pm, and the soft californians are bitching about the cold.

Oh yeah, another thought, what else do you guys use the pumps for?

I was thinking of making a rip off version of “marks keg washer” and some kind of fandangled bottle washer.

I’d hate to have only one use per tool, any other uses I’m missing?

Here is the one I use:

http://www.menards.com/main/plumbing/pu ... c-8673.htm

I have found that cheap pumps typically don’t get enough water running at head to chill efficiently.

[quote=“Loopie Beer”]Here is the one I use:

http://www.menards.com/main/plumbing/pu ... c-8673.htm

I have found that cheap pumps typically don’t get enough water running at head to chill efficiently.[/quote]
That one looks dead on the one I picked up from Home Depot, but Menards has it at a better price. Mine is a one-purpose tool… but it is good to have around as an emergency pump too.

[quote=“Loopie Beer”]Here is the one I use:

http://www.menards.com/main/plumbing/pu ... c-8673.htm

I have found that cheap pumps typically don’t get enough water running at head to chill efficiently.[/quote]
That’s the same flow rate, but more compact-looking than mine, I have a ~20yo Craftsman. It may be a bit much to rig a key/carboy washer around.

Right now in MN, it’s -24 actual temp with a wind chill of -51. I have tomorrow off (emergency school closing) and I’m debating a brewday. The most EPIC brewday EVER?!?

Or hanging out inside in my pajamas building Legos with my kids…

Yeah -51 is a little extreme. Just take your brew kettle outside walk it around the house and back in and it’ll be chilled.

Just brewed up a batch of hef and used my fancy aquarium pump setup and it worked perfectly. If it weren’t for all your ideas I would have spent through that ice in no time and been in trouble. Truth is I still found myself in a little trouble on the ice front but nothing a little patience and cold tap water couldn’t fix.

BTW I vote get the kids together and brew some root beer! Kids love root beer. THEN the most EPIC brewday EVER!

[quote=“El Capitan”]Right now in MN, it’s -24 actual temp with a wind chill of -51. I have tomorrow off (emergency school closing) and I’m debating a brewday. The most EPIC brewday EVER?!?

Or hanging out inside in my pajamas building Legos with my kids…[/quote]
So jealous. Temps have been hovering in the 30s here for the past month; no snow, not a hint of ice on the sea. Some years we are skiing on the sea by now.

If you brew, make sure to keep your chiller hoses inside where it is cold until just before you plan to use them. They can freeze up solid otherwise. Also, a towel wrapped around the propane valve can help to prevent a the water vapor present in the tank from freezing as it goes through the valve and creating an ice block there. Not that I would need to know these things first-hand…

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