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Old 07-26-2008, 06:30 AM   #1
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Default $50-$60 Wort Chiller build budget

So it's my anniversary and the wife is giving me $100 buck to spend on bier equipment (I'm spending 50-60 on a brew pot). Well I've got a few bucks to spend of my own.

Thus I'm looking to build a wort chiller in the $50-60 range. I'm guessing my best shot at this is to buy 50 ft. of 3/8" (1/2" if I can afford it) copper tubing. I've got some hose connections and hose clamps. I thought this would provide me with the opportunity to build a 30' wort chiller with a 20' pre chiller and I'd use the buck of ice water around a pre chiller cooling the water before it goes through the wort chiller method.

Is this the best I can do on this budget?
Is this an effecient system for 5 Gal batches?
What other options do I have in this price range?

Thanks,
Phillip

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Old 07-26-2008, 09:13 AM   #2
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This is tough, IC is a must!
Pre-chiller or a water pump re-circulating the iced water, the debate continues. I moved to the water pump (200 gal per hour) for around 25$ and am OK with that. (I want uncle Al Gore to happy.)
If I redid it I would have gone with a 40-50 ft IC and a 400 Gal per hour setup, then I could handle 10 gal easily. But let's not forget a counter flow chiller, I'm sure others will speak to that. All may be able to be possible where you live. In Hawaii you need to add at least 20%.
Good luck.

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Old 07-26-2008, 11:54 AM   #3
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I think you can order copper from http://www.coppertubingsales.com cheaper than lowes...... much cheaper I think. The only catch is 50' min. rolls.

SO, you build two chillers, sell one. Just a thought.

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Old 07-26-2008, 03:26 PM   #4
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I would go with a pump rather than a prechiller definately, I have had both and the prechiller was a joke comparatively. Make a 50' if you plan on ever doing 10 gallon batches and save youself time and money.

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Old 07-26-2008, 04:54 PM   #5
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Remember I'm on a budget here, so things like counter flows and recirculation pump setup are out of the question. Obviously once the chiller is built I can convert to a recirculator pump setup.

So I ask, on this budget, should I build a 30' immersion and 20' prechiller or should I just build a 50' standard immersion chiller? Obviously if I build the 50, I'll have a perfect setup to use for upgrading later if converting to an immersion pump.

Is there another $60 solution out there better than the 2 above? If not which one do i build...

Schlante,
Phillip

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Old 07-26-2008, 05:19 PM   #6
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I would build a 50' and worry about a recirculating pump later. If I where you I would wait two weeks until you can find an extra $10 and get item number 8989K98 from McMaster-Carr.... Booyaa! 50' x 1/2" stainless coil! You can bend it buy hand, I just did mine.

I think the best chilling method for homebrewers is Jamil's whirlpool while recirculating ice water, so that is what I will be doing (kind of). If I were you I would build toward that system.

Cheers! and happy anniversary!

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Old 07-26-2008, 06:34 PM   #7
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I bought 50' of 3/8 from coppertubingsales.com and made a 35 foot chiller and a 15 foot prechiller. I never had a chiller before. I like it, but the prechiller only seems decent in Texas in July. I do get down to 70 within 30-40 minutes instead of 1 1/2 hours. Also it does use a lot of water.

I have read one idea of using the smaller chiller like a CF chiller. Chill with the 30 foot IC and then siphon out through the 20 foot chiller with it sitting in a bucket of ice water. That might be something to try.

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Old 07-26-2008, 07:34 PM   #8
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I built my chiller for $75. it works with gravity or pump. I use it on 10G batches but it would work on 5 also. coppertubing sales can provide all the copper and fittings for about $50 and the hose was about $ 20. Here is the thread that gives the specifics. http://www.homebrewtalk.com/showthre...ght=hell+earth
good luck with any method you decide to use. I used Bobby_M CFC tutorial for the first 1/2 of it

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Last edited by beerthirty; 07-26-2008 at 07:36 PM. Reason: credit to Bobby_M CFC tutorial
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