DIY Cost-Effective Immersion Wort Chiller
The following steps are how I made a immersion chiller for cooling my brew fast for pitching yeast. No need to to pay $100 bucks.
Things you will need:
- Standard head screw driver
- 25' 3/8" copper tubing (some use 50' and you would follow the same steps)
- 4 hose clamps
- 3/8" ID clear plastic hose. About 2-4 ft per side. Suit to your needs.
- Hose adapter or faucet adapter, depending on whether you're brewing in the house or outside.
*Recommended* Pipe bender (they have cheap spring-style pipe benders at your local hardware store)
How I did it:
First thing, wait for a sale on 3/8" copper tubing. Approx. 25'. I got this at Lowe's pretty cheap. If you're patient, either Lowe's or Home Depot will have a sale. I payed around $20 bucks for mine.
Carefully stretch out the flat coil so you can begin wrapping it into a spring-style coil.
Find a round tube, cylinder, bucket or even a homebrew beer keg. It's best to find something that is smaller than the inside diameter of your brew pot. I used a shipping tube that my banner material comes in. Fits my pot perfectly!
Next, tighten the copper tube around the cylinder object until it looks like a giant slinky.
Now carefully straighten the inlet and outlet of the coil. The bottom should be long enough to come over the top of your brew pot. What I did was put the coil on its side and hold down one of the ends, then roll back (unwind) the coil to the desired length. I did this for both the inlet and outlet side of the coil.
I also made sure that the bottom outlet was lined up with the top so they were easier to clamp together. Itdoesn'timprove the function of the chiller, it's more for looks. There is no "set in stone" way of doing this, so if you require the bottom opening to end up on the opposite side of the coil, no big deal. Do what works best for you.
Now for the tricky part.
Carefully bend both tubes up to the top at about a 90 degree angle (or at least close to). Be careful! You can kink the copper tubing very easily.
I would suggest getting a cheap pipe bending tool or coil. I got mine for $10 bucks at Lowe's. Even if you never use it again, it will be worth it.
Use non-corrosive hose clamps to hold the tubes together where they meet at the top and attach your plastic tubing to both ends of the pipe. Now you can hose clamp your inlet adapter to fit your sink or garden hose/spigot. Mine is a garden hose end with a screw-on faucet adapter. This way I can use it inside and outside.
Oh, if you look at the bottom right side of the pic below, you can see the spring-style pipe benders I got a Lowe's. They are like a sleeve. You choose the size with the closest fit, slide it over the copper tube, and bend. NO KINKS!
Submerge the wort chiller in your boiling brew about 15 minutes before you are done boiling to sanitize the copper. Finally, connect one end of the plastic tube to the faucet and the other to your drain. I used hot water to test mine and to also check for leaks. It cooled the water down to pitching temp in less than an hour.
There it is! The whole build took me about 30 minutes. I hope this helps someone who would like to save money and build their own immersion wort chiller.
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