Why I Don’t Add Salt to My Recirculating Wort Chiller Ice Water

I’ve received a number of comments on YouTube regarding some videos I had made on recirculating wort chillers (and even on my jockey box videos) suggesting that I add salt to my ice water bath to speed up my brew day. I intentionally do not do this and ignore such advice for good reasons.

Although salt can make the water colder, it does so by lowering the melting point of ice which melts the ice faster requiring even more ice to keep it cold longer. Therefore it doesn’t save ice and can cost me more money in bags of ice required.

It requires a fair amount of salt to lower the water temperature just a couple of degrees. I don’t see the value of the additional expense of salt especially when it would require more ice too.

Salt water corrodes copper which is what the wort chiller is made of. You could say that the contact time is short but the chiller will continue to have salt contact long afterward unless you run a cycle of fresh water through it when you’re done which then would offset the time and water saved.

Having a salt water bath means that I can no longer pour it out on my lawn, garden, or driveway, so I would have to carry this heavy sloshing cooler into my house to pour it down a drain. What a PITA.

This all sums up to an unnecessary and avoidable hassle and would not make my brew day go faster as some suggest. I’d rather just kick back, take a break, and drink a beer while my wort chills.  Cheers!

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