Author Topic: Wort Cooling - Air, equipment, ice bath, etc etc??  (Read 2428 times)

Offline wittyyetdumb

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Wort Cooling - Air, equipment, ice bath, etc etc??
« on: June 10, 2016, 06:44:05 PM »
I'm a new brewer.  New enough to NOT know enough about the process.  My first brew was an all grain German Hefeweizen from morebeer.com.  After boiling, I transferred the wort to my carboy, sat it in my sink with water and allowed it to cool to mid 70's which took around 15 hours.  The beer turned out just fine.  Tasted exactly as expected.  When I told the guys at the home brewing supply store what I did they nearly killed me.  Said it is a big no-no and that you MUST cool your wort ASAP after boil.  I've now "researched" this online only to be more confused than I was before I started researching.

Have any brewers actually tried both methods of cooling your wort?  Does anyone with experience trying both methods have an opinion they'd like to share?  By both methods I just mean cooling quickly Vs cooling slowly.  I've had a few people give me their opinion only to later find out they have never actually tried both methods themselves.  They were just relaying something they had read. 

Offline Stevie

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Re: Wort Cooling - Air, equipment, ice bath, etc etc??
« Reply #1 on: June 10, 2016, 06:51:22 PM »
Either works, but I prefer to get it cold and into the fermenter as soon as I can. The biggest thing to always do is never pitch above your fermentation temp. Some like to pitch a degree or two below target, I generally pitch on target unless I over chill.

I do ice bath for small batches. I do this with the wort in the kettle. Do not add hot wort to a fermenter, especially glass. Full size batches are chilled with an immersion chiller and whirlpool pump.

Offline wittyyetdumb

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Re: Wort Cooling - Air, equipment, ice bath, etc etc??
« Reply #2 on: June 10, 2016, 06:58:32 PM »
Stevie, so your opinion, either method will work and your beer will taste the same with either method?  I understand that the longer I allow the wort to be exposed to anything other than the yeast I risk infection and that is a reason to quickly chill, but some have said you risk an actual different flavor. 

I guess the reality is, I'm lazy and would prefer to get the beer out of the kettle, let it cool and come back and pitch when it's ready.  I do take care to sanitize to avoid infection.   

Offline dls5492

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Re: Wort Cooling - Air, equipment, ice bath, etc etc??
« Reply #3 on: June 10, 2016, 07:06:05 PM »
I cool my wort by putting the kettle in a big bucket with water in it. I also use a double wort chiller method. Where water goes into the first chiller that is in a bucket of ice water. Then it leads out to the second chiller in the wort. After few minutes, the water in the big bucket is warm, so I replace that with an ice bath. Last Saturday, I got the temperature of the wort down to about 61 degrees in about 30 minutes using these methods simultaneously.
In the winter time, I have sealed up the vessel the wort is in and let it sit out. It's usually cold enough where there nothing that can get in it to ruin it. I had reach target temperature in about four hours.
I hope this helps!
David S.
Cedar Falls, IA
Club: Cedar River Association of Zymurgy Enthusiasts (CRAZE)

And the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. II Cor. 3:17

Offline Stevie

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Re: Wort Cooling - Air, equipment, ice bath, etc etc??
« Reply #4 on: June 10, 2016, 07:11:02 PM »
Cooling quickly helps to set proteins which drop out of suspension. It is said that those proteins are detrimental to stability and flavor if left behind, but I've never performed a side by side.

Offline JT

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Re: Wort Cooling - Air, equipment, ice bath, etc etc??
« Reply #5 on: June 10, 2016, 08:45:10 PM »
I think the biggest issue with a slow cooling process like you described is that you're giving any wild yeast or bacteria that may have made it into your wort or carboy plenty of time, food and ideal temperature to multiply without competition from a heavy pitch of your desired yeast. 

Offline brewinhard

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Re: Wort Cooling - Air, equipment, ice bath, etc etc??
« Reply #6 on: June 10, 2016, 09:48:00 PM »
Just to restate what Stevie said -

SAFETY - do not put boiling/hot wort into a glass carboy.  That is a recipe for a cracked carboy and potentially leading to a hospital visit. You need to find a way to chill your wort PRIOR to adding it to your fermentor.

A couple questions for you:
1. What size batches are you doing?
2. Are you doing full or partial boils?

Offline Stevie

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Re: Wort Cooling - Air, equipment, ice bath, etc etc??
« Reply #7 on: June 10, 2016, 10:39:18 PM »
I wouldn't add hot wort to a plastic fermenter without knowing the upper temp rating.

Offline bondra76

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Re: Wort Cooling - Air, equipment, ice bath, etc etc??
« Reply #8 on: June 11, 2016, 04:59:58 AM »
I do the same thing you're doing with a slow cool down.

A few things -

Like the previous poster stated, the big area of concern is hot liquid in plastic. Sure there's the risk of plastic taste but more importantly is your own safety if the plastic melts and boiling hot liquid gets all over you. It's not smart.  Cool down the wort to around 100 before transfer to your carboy.

Regarding the yeast thing - catching wild yeast is optimal around 120 to 90 degrees as the wort cools down. You want to cool the wort from that 120 to 90 degree temp very slowly when harvesting directly into wort. I guess just keep that in mind. You want to make that transition from 120 to 90 or so very quickly. I would also highly encourage you to keep a loose cover (aluminum foil) over the wort - I do the same method with my starter. Don't airlock it but let air through.

Finally, the proteins thing is probably valid. But then again I'm really questioning the science of this craft a lot lately. I just met a guy who ferments his Hefe for 4 days and then carbs the hell out of it and takes best in shows where BJCP judges are plentiful. Ridiculous. It's made me really dismiss traditional belief and question everything. If you do side by side tastes and the no chill method works for you, by all means keep plugging along.


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Offline Stevie

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Re: Wort Cooling - Air, equipment, ice bath, etc etc??
« Reply #9 on: June 11, 2016, 05:08:32 AM »
You could go Aussie style with the no-chill. Give it a Google.

Offline majorvices

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Re: Wort Cooling - Air, equipment, ice bath, etc etc??
« Reply #10 on: June 11, 2016, 08:54:36 PM »
An immersion chiller is pretty easy and cheap to build. It's best to get the wort cool as quickly as possible, but as was mentioned, you don't want to pitch the yeast until the wort is at or very close to your targeted fermentation temp (that, for my preference for most ales, is 64 degrees).

During the warmer months I almost always have to let the wort reach that temp overnight and pitch the next morning because I can only get the wort down to about 80 degrees with city water.

Offline erockrph

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Re: Wort Cooling - Air, equipment, ice bath, etc etc??
« Reply #11 on: June 12, 2016, 02:50:02 AM »
I have a 2-basin sink that is mounted under the counter with a removable faucet. I put my kettle in one basin that is filled with water, then stick the faucet in the basin pointed at the kettle, and run cold tap water into that basin continuously. The warmer water flows away over the top into the second basin and drains from there.

This works under the same premise as an immersion chiller, but is a little slower since it has a lower surface area. Still, for my batch sizes it gets me down to pitching temps in about 30-45 minutes. I'd like it to be a little quicker, but I've honestly never had any issues and still get a good cold break. I'm not sure what your home setup is, but this works decently well for a small-batch/kitchen brewer.
Eric B.

Finally got around to starting a homebrewing blog: The Hop Whisperer

Offline charles1968

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Re: Wort Cooling - Air, equipment, ice bath, etc etc??
« Reply #12 on: June 12, 2016, 10:54:26 AM »
I have a 2-basin sink that is mounted under the counter with a removable faucet. I put my kettle in one basin that is filled with water, then stick the faucet in the basin pointed at the kettle, and run cold tap water into that basin continuously. The warmer water flows away over the top into the second basin and drains from there.

Pretty much what I do. Even if you only have one sink the method still works as water will drain into the overflow.

You can chill faster by freezing water bottles the day before and dropping those unopened into the hot wort. Or keep wort volume a few pints under target and top up with near-freezing water during the chill.

Offline Hand of Dom

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Re: Wort Cooling - Air, equipment, ice bath, etc etc??
« Reply #13 on: June 12, 2016, 11:03:43 AM »
I have a 2-basin sink that is mounted under the counter with a removable faucet. I put my kettle in one basin that is filled with water, then stick the faucet in the basin pointed at the kettle, and run cold tap water into that basin continuously. The warmer water flows away over the top into the second basin and drains from there.

Pretty much what I do. Even if you only have one sink the method still works as water will drain into the overflow.

You can chill faster by freezing water bottles the day before and dropping those unopened into the hot wort. Or keep wort volume a few pints under target and top up with near-freezing water during the chill.

This is what I used to do until I bought a stockpot that was too big for the sink.  At that point I built an immersion chiller.
Dom

Currently drinking - Amarillo saison
Currently fermenting - Pale ale 1 - 2017

Offline BrewBama

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Wort Cooling - Air, equipment, ice bath, etc etc??
« Reply #14 on: June 12, 2016, 11:32:20 AM »
20 yrs ago when I started I'd put the entire kettle in a bathtub ice bath. Now I use an immersion chiller to get it close in the kettle, rack to a stainless fermenter and set it in a spare fridge I've designated my ferment chamber. It is controlled with an Auber TD 400 P.  I tape a wad of shop towels on the side of my fermenter to insulate/isolate the temp probe which controls the on off cycle of the fridge. Once my wort is cool enough I pitch my yeast.

http://www.auberins.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=8&products_id=499

I have my eye on one of these hydra(s) which are dubbed the fastest wort chiller on the market:  http://jadedbrewing.com/products/the-hydra

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« Last Edit: June 12, 2016, 11:42:57 AM by BrewBama »
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