Author Topic: Do I really need a wort chiller?  (Read 1659 times)

Offline FLbrewer

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Do I really need a wort chiller?
« on: June 04, 2013, 06:05:52 PM »
Debating whether or not to get one...currently, I do somewhere between partial and full extract boils (~3 gallons or so) and it cools to around 80 in about 30 minutes with an ice bath. I can also just chilled top off water sooner and it's quicker obviously. I understand that it does it in about half that time, but wouldn't a downside to this be that it also exposes the wort to microbes while the kettle top is off for 15 minutes? With my current method, the lid is 99% on.

Offline cheshirecat

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Re: Do I really need a wort chiller?
« Reply #1 on: June 04, 2013, 06:23:51 PM »
I think in the end it is up to you. Don't think you have that much risk of contamination. Do you buy the ice? I would like after awhile the cost of ice would add up. Around my parts it is $3.00 bag.

Offline FLbrewer

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Re: Do I really need a wort chiller?
« Reply #2 on: June 04, 2013, 06:26:30 PM »
Good point, yeah, I normally go through a large bag which runs me about $6.

Offline euge

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Re: Do I really need a wort chiller?
« Reply #3 on: June 04, 2013, 06:51:31 PM »
I sanitize frozen 16oz bottles to drop them in to cool the wort from 100F to pitching temps for either ales or lagers.
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Offline a10t2

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Re: Do I really need a wort chiller?
« Reply #4 on: June 04, 2013, 07:02:32 PM »
As long as you're doing partial boils I don't see any reason. Just freeze the top-off water a couple days before you brew.
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Offline joe_feist

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Re: Do I really need a wort chiller?
« Reply #5 on: June 06, 2013, 05:09:35 PM »
As long as you're doing partial boils I don't see any reason. Just freeze the top-off water a couple days before you brew.

That sounds like a great idea...
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Offline bigchicken

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Re: Do I really need a wort chiller?
« Reply #6 on: June 08, 2013, 07:58:10 AM »
I sanitize frozen 16oz bottles to drop them in to cool the wort from 100F to pitching temps for either ales or lagers.

I've been meaning to ask about this. How many bottles does it typically take you to chill 5 gallons? I have a bunch of old PET bottles that would be perfect for this.
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Offline weithman5

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Re: Do I really need a wort chiller?
« Reply #7 on: June 08, 2013, 08:41:27 AM »
now that i do small batches i throw my kettle in the fridge
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Offline a10t2

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Re: Do I really need a wort chiller?
« Reply #8 on: June 08, 2013, 10:19:24 AM »
I've been meaning to ask about this. How many bottles does it typically take you to chill 5 gallons? I have a bunch of old PET bottles that would be perfect for this.

A 1:1 ratio of ice and boiling wort will end up at ~65°F. So 5 gallons of ice, roughly.
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Offline Franklin

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Re: Do I really need a wort chiller?
« Reply #9 on: June 08, 2013, 11:43:20 AM »
I'm on the same page as Euge...But i use frozen half gallon milk jugs out of the hop freezer...9 or 10 usually does the trick...cheap and easy...
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Offline rainmaker

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Re: Do I really need a wort chiller?
« Reply #10 on: June 10, 2013, 03:39:45 PM »
I was chilling using ice baths for 5 gallon all grain batches, and with constant stirring, changing water, etc, it would take almost an hour to drop down below 75 degrees.  I used a wort chiller for the first time over the weekend and was able to drop the temp to 75 degrees in about 15 minutes.  Personally, I really liked the wort chiller and thought it was worth the investment. 

Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Do I really need a wort chiller?
« Reply #11 on: June 11, 2013, 03:16:17 PM »
I've been meaning to ask about this. How many bottles does it typically take you to chill 5 gallons? I have a bunch of old PET bottles that would be perfect for this.

A 1:1 ratio of ice and boiling wort will end up at ~65°F. So 5 gallons of ice, roughly.

you forget the extra energy needed to turn ice into water.

Check out this site http://www.onlineconversion.com/mixing_water.htm I found this at one point when I was trying to figure out how much ice to use a top off water.

1:1 ratio by weight of boiling wort (okay 211*f) and unrealistically warm ice (32*f) results in a temp of only 49*f. It takes approximately 30 times more energy to turn ice @ 32 degrees into water @ 33 degrees than it takes to turn water @ 33 degrees into water @ 34 degrees 

**EDIT TO ADD**
in fact, if you change nothing in the equation except that you are using WATER @ 32 degrees instead of ICE @ 32 degrees the resulting temp goes form 48 to 112
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Offline a10t2

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Re: Do I really need a wort chiller?
« Reply #12 on: June 11, 2013, 07:06:01 PM »
you forget the extra energy needed to turn ice into water.

Nuh-uh... :P

If you leave that out it's *much* higher, as you pointed out. But you're right, my memory was off. A 60/40 wort:ice mixture gets to ale pitching temps. 50/50 would be a bit much, even for lagers.

2.1 J/g°C to heat the ice, 330 J/g to melt it, and 4.2 J/g°C to heat the resulting water. 3.8 J/g°C, roughly, for an average-gravity wort. Assuming the ice starts at -15°C (5°F), the wort at 95°C (203°F), and it's a 1.050 wort:

40(330 + 2.1(0 - -15) + 4.2x) = 60(3.8*1.05*(95 - x))

x = 20°C (68°F)
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