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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Equipment/Sanitation > 1/4" vs 3/8" immersion chiller
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Old 01-02-2011, 10:27 PM   #1
SirCaptain
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Default 1/4" vs 3/8" immersion chiller

I'm looking to make an immersion chiller. Right now I only brew 5 gallon extract and partial mash. I don't see myself going to 10 gal anytime soon. From what I've been able to read, it seems that most people stick with 1/4" or 3/8" tubing for their chillers. It sounds like with 1/2" you get too much water flow and not enough surface area in contact to cool the wort.

so, with 1/4" tubing being considerably cheaper than 3/8" (and therefore being willing to get 50' instead of 25'), I wondered if anybody had any good arguments for 3/8" over 1/4".

Thanks!

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Old 01-03-2011, 12:06 AM   #2
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I'm not sure where you read that about the 1/2 in, but it's been working great for me. I would imagine that you'd need an awful lot of 1/4 tubing to be effective. Go w/ 1/2 inch and you likely won't be disappointed.

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Old 01-03-2011, 12:22 AM   #3
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Everything I have read leans towards 3/8 being a good compromised between flow and surface area. If would be nice to see some real empirical data or a chiller throw down.

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Old 01-03-2011, 12:24 AM   #4
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I did a 10 gallon batch on Friday with my 3/8 x 50ft and it work like a charm. I also have a 25ft x 3/8 for my 5 gallon batches, which also works great.

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Old 01-03-2011, 01:22 AM   #5
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Imo 1/2" od ftw

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Old 01-03-2011, 01:36 AM   #6
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i have a 50' 1/2" immersion, and i can cool a 12 gallon batch to pitching temps in 20-30 minutes in texas in july, and 10 minutes in january

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Old 01-03-2011, 01:42 AM   #7
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Does anybody have any thoughts on the 1/4"? A friend of mine has 25' 3/8", so I'm tempted to build a 1/4" and compare them. Not sure I want to drop the money on a 1/2 in. Thanks for the replies thus far.

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Old 01-03-2011, 03:07 AM   #8
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I have 80' of 3/8". I bought a 20' IC from midwest supplies, it worked fine for 5 gallon batches but I needed to add to it to get it to work in my keggle. I bought an additionaly 60' and soldered it to the original chiller. It doesn't look pretty now, but it cools 10 gallon batches in <10 min.

I would just start bigger. Don't buy a small chiller now because you are doing 5 gallon batches now. That chiller will be useless if you expand in the future, or you will have to do some soldering to make it practical.

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Old 01-03-2011, 07:13 AM   #9
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1/4" OD would only be like 60% of the 3/8" OD volume, thus taking longer to cool. The 1/4" really doesn't seem to be popular at all.

I just put together my chiller: 50' x 3/8" OD refrigeration tubing $50 at lowes, and $16 in garden hose fitting parts, so $68. I went with the 3/8" OD because I figure I can sell it pretty easy in the future or even go back and turn it into a counterflow chiller.

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Old 01-03-2011, 12:37 PM   #10
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1/4 is too small unless you're willing to run 2 25' coils in parallel.

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