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I just started the hobby and only brewed two kits. So far I brewed in a 5L (1.3G) kettle. I did the chilling by using a cold bath in my kitchen sink.

So far so good. I plan to buy a proper brew kettle (30L/8G) but it wont fit in my sink. Therefore I'm looking for a chilling solution. I don't want to invest on any equipment and I can't plug an immersion chiller on my kitchen or bathroom faucet anyway.

I found the no-chill solution which gave me the following idea: why not transfert the wort in 10L (2.5G) cubes that fits in my sink and cold bath them (I plan to brew 20L batches max so 2 cubes). Here is written the following:

Do not be tempted to cool the cube prematurely by putting it into a swimming pool or other body of water. Rapidly cooled hot packed wort can give rise to infections as it does not allow for the cube to be exposed to the hot wort for long enough to ensure that any bacteria in the cube is killed.

How long should I wait before cold bathing the cube so it's heat sanatized? (I think that's the reason why it should not be iced bath right away?)

EDIT: It seems that my question question has been misunderstood. I don't specifically wants to do the no chill solution. I'm just looking for a way to do cold bath chilling with a kettle bigger than my sink. My other solution would be to find a big stainless buket to use for the cold bath. Or is there any plastic bucket than can handle the heat? (I'm afraid that if the hot kettle touch the bucket it would melt.)

EDIT2: I double check I can't screw an adaptaor on any of my faucets so I can't use an imersion chiller.

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    If sanitation is the key behind letting the no-chill go overnight why not grab an iodophor mixture and pre-sanitize your cubes. Should be no risk of infection on cooling them quickly if they are pre-sanitized versus an overnight pasteurization. – DHough Nov 24 '14 at 17:57
  • I'm not an expert on the subject but apparently the risk comes when you quickly chill the cube even if was sanitized first. That's why I was looking for more details on how long I would have to wait before using an ice bath with the cubes. But instead I think I'll go with Graham "second" answer. – Flanfl Nov 24 '14 at 19:38
  • If you sanitize properly your cube, and add hot wort to it (esterile) there will be no bugs there to grown. You can then just cool it and add your yeast and you will be fine. There is no difference in doing that in the cube or cooling the wort in the pot and moving it to the fermentor. All you need is good sanitation. – Cleber Goncalves Nov 30 '14 at 19:10
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If you are going to use a cube for No Chilling, I just don't see any reason not to follow the vetted No Chill doctrine of the Aussies, which says, very clearly "Do not be tempted to cool the cube prematurely". Hundreds of Aussie brewers pioneered this technique, and its "common knowledge" in that group that you can mess up and catch an infection in the cube if you mess with the hot tank before its near room temp. Personally, I No Chilled something like 40+ batches and my first failure came from dropping my wort down to 180F BEFORE I drained it into the cube. I'm not stating definitively that that was the cause, but it echos a lot of other No Chillers experiences.

Technically, pasteurization of the flat surfaces inside the cube happens within 15minute or so, but we aren't just pasteurizing the liquid itself or the surface of the cube; you are also waiting for the inner rings of the screw-on cap to heat up as well, which doesn't happen instantly as plastic isn't super conductive.

Summary: I'd give the tank at least an hour from the time you fill it before you start to chill it if you are in an absolute rush, but it would be preferable to wait overnight, per the "standard" No Chill practice. And make sure you turn the tank so that it's on its side so that the cap is submerged.


If you want to forgo the No Chill practice, then you can do the following to chill your brew without an imersion chiller:

1) Buy a large plastic tub from Lowes (should run less than $10) and maybe 30lbs of ice (look for those automated dispensers, they run like $2 per 20lbs now I think). Try to find a tub with a spigot at the bottom if you can.

2) Put in a few gallons of water, and dedicated piece of fabric, like an old towel or a patch of denim at the bottom of the tub

3) Right after the boil, lower your kettle into the tub onto the fabric so that the bottom of the kettle doesn't scorch the plastic. Don't worry too much about this though. Without additional heat, the kettle will very quickly cool to the temp of the wort (212F) which isn't hot enough by itself to melt the plastic.

4) Swirl the water in the tub around the base of the kettle clockwise, while you use a brewing spoon to stir the wort counter-clockwise. Spinning the wort clockwise and the water counter-clockwise will give your beer the flavor of Satan's buttcrack (ok I made that last part up, just make sure you are stirring them in opposite directions)

5) The water will very quickly heat up. Drain off that water and save it for cleaning your kettle later. Add some new water, stir it for a few min, then add in the ice to the water, but not to your wort. Don't try to put all the ice in at once, just get the level of the ice up near the rim of the kettle, but not over it. Resume the stirring.

6) If you constantly stir the ice-slush and wort in opposite directions, your wort will drop to pitching temps in 20min maybe. Once you get around 100F, I'd suggest transfering it into your carboy, then putting that back into the ice-slush. You can leave it there for quite a while by itself, or keep stirring to get it down ASAP. When the ice nearly all melts, just drain a bunch of water out and add more ice.

Other notes: its better to have more ice than you need and just cost a few extra bucks. Also, you can plan to boil down less than 5gal, and have some jugs of pre-boiled water sitting in your fridge ready to be added as top-off water at 32F. A gallon of 32F water can drop 4gal of wort at 75F to 5gal at 65F, in my experience.

  • Just to add my point of view to this very good answer: @Flanfl, if you want to no chill, just NO CHILL at all. If you are in a hurry or don't believe in this technic, just buy that sink adapter or make something in the direction of the traditional chilling method. Mixing the things could be wrong. Good luck. – jards Nov 21 '14 at 21:32
  • Thanks for you input. I added some details in my question. As I said, I'm just looking for a way to chill my wort as I can't use an immersion chiller nor use my sink for cold bath (and I don't have a tub) – Flanfl Nov 22 '14 at 10:18
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If you are still considering using a plastic bucket for your cooling bath, put a couple of red bricks inside, beneath your kettle. They should insulate the plastic from the hot metal.

Also, since I don't yet have enough rep to add comment...

Have you considered using your bath tub instead of your sink?

Can both cubes fit in your sink simultaneously? If not then only one can be chilled at a time. What will you do with the wort that is destined for the second cube while the first cube is chilling? If you continue boiling it, that might change the flavor and volume of the final product. If you don't continue boiling it, how will you minimize the contamination risk?

  • Yes I think insulating the plastick bucket will be my best option. As I said to @Graham I don't have a tub (I forgot to add it in my question, sorry). I have two sinks so on in each sink. – Flanfl Nov 23 '14 at 16:33
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I cool my kettles in large plastic buckets. The kettles easily float, so no contact with plastic and no melting. I run a hose into the bucket and turn the tap on low. The water spills out over the top, so this is an outdoors-only solution. It works very well.

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