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Jun 08, 2022 View:

Crash Cooling with Ice

We are going to be running jacketed 250 and 150 gallon stills. In lieu of a chiller, does anyone have experience crash cooling with ice? Any reason this wouldn’t be ideal? We reduce our initial water in the mash by the amount of ice we’ll add. 

Once we’ve added malt or amylase and thinned the mash, adding ice to get us to pitching temp as quickly as possible.




Adding cold water to cool mash is an old tried and true method.  I don't see any problem using ice.




Just doing some quick rough math using these sites:

250 gallons is about 2,000lb of water.  Lets assume your mash will be at 150F and you need to cool it down to 90F for your yeast to live.

So you start with 1,000lb of water at 150F and then need to add 1,000lb of ice at 32F to get to your target pitch temp.  If my math above is correct (and I am sure someone will correct me if its not!) that seems like a lot of ice!  

I also know home-brewers avoid adding ice directly to their mashes as its difficult to get/make sterile ice compared to making/getting sterile water.  Perhaps not as much of a concern with a whiskey mash.  (I know sterilization is not as critical for us because of the speed of our fermentation)



If you have reasonably cool water, you can get damn close without the hassle of making 1000lb of ice.

1000lb @ 150f + 1000lb @ 65f gets you to 107.

Running cold water through the jacket can easily get you down another 20.  From an efficiency perspective, using the jacket first would be slightly more efficient.


All great feedback. C0mb9ning thought tracks, add ice to the extra instead of 65cdegree water, now I’m in the 40s or 50s and need to use less for the same effect. Although, I’ll have to go look up whether the endothermic properties of water makes this a one to one exchange. 


You know an ice maker of the kind of capacity we are talking about costs as much as a chiller.  This doesn’t save money.

Also keep in mind that ice is considered food, given a health inspector who is itching for a fight...



Adding ice to 65 F water to get crash cooling water down to a lower temp works great.  If you add the right amount of ice you can get the water temp just where you need it to be. For the most part, this method is only practical in a very small distillery.  Silk city is correct in that a chiller will serve you better in most situations, but of course sometimes circumstances might dictate that chilling your crash cooling water with ice is your best option for the time being.  For example, you can't afford a chiller right now and you already have an ice maker or you can get can ice maker really cheap or your brother owns an ice business.  If you need a chiller you should try Mike at MG Thermal Consulting. He really knows his stuff when it comes to sizing chillers for the needs of a distillery.  Here is a link to his site .  Also he has some great deals and pricing.

Reply:On 11/21/2017 at 9:31 AM, jbdavenport1 said:

As a short-term solution, we would circulate municipal water through our jacket and get the temp to ~100f and then add a cpl hundred pounds of ice to get to pitch temp.  We also add 75% of the strike water during the mashing process, then pump in the remaining water after conversion.  This drops the temp significantly! does however increase your grain to water ratio so you'll have to ensure your agitator can handle it.