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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Equipment/Sanitation > best chilling solution
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Old 05-05-2010, 07:07 AM   #1
slim chillingsworth
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Default best chilling upgrade?

texas summer is approaching. i need to get a more efficient chilling method in place to conserve water and save time. i'm currently using a 50' copper immersion chiller with a pond pump and ice water.

if i go with a whirlpool setup, i need to buy a pump. that's more than the cost of a shirron chiller but it's multi-use (and easier to clean). however, that's the only use i really need it for. i'm using a grant for draining my MLT, and manually pouring that into my brew kettle, so i'm pretty close to a one tier setup with gravity only (my mlt is a fairly shallow cooler, so the only height gain is from about two feet from the grant to the HLT).

i could build a counterflow chiller and run ice water through it, but i haven't read much on such a setup. would this be a significant gain?

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Old 05-05-2010, 03:18 PM   #2
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another option i've been considering is something that will create a strong whirlpool without relying on recirculation, and therefore not needing a pump. i sometimes use a wine degasser mix-stir on my drill to aerate and get a small whirlpool going, but i would need to build a holster for the drill to make it efficient enough to see a significant temperature drop.

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Old 05-05-2010, 03:20 PM   #3
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You could check out no-chill brewing....there's actually a lot of benefit for someone in your situation!

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Old 05-05-2010, 03:48 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slim chillingsworth View Post
texas summer is approaching. i need to get a more efficient chilling method in place to conserve water and save time. i'm currently using a 50' copper immersion chiller with a pond pump and ice water.

if i go with a whirlpool setup, i need to buy a pump. that's more than the cost of a shirron chiller but it's multi-use (and easier to clean). however, that's the only use i really need it for. i'm using a grant for draining my MLT, and manually pouring that into my brew kettle, so i'm pretty close to a one tier setup with gravity only (my mlt is a fairly shallow cooler, so the only height gain is from about two feet from the grant to the HLT).

i could build a counterflow chiller and run ice water through it, but i haven't read much on such a setup. would this be a significant gain?
An immersion chiller gets the entire wort below 150ish faster than a CFC or plate chiller; that's about the point where DMS production stops being a factor. That's why a lot of people think an IC produces better results than the alternatives, despite taking longer to get the wort down to pitching temps.

OTOH, a lot of people have been using no-chill successfully without DMS issues.
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Old 05-05-2010, 04:02 PM   #5
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It depends though... If you use warm source water, say 70F tap water, on a plate or CFC, you'll have to run the wort really slow to get it down to ~72ish. In that case, sure, the wort sits in the kettle for a while. However, if you're going with cold chill water, wintertime tap or pumped icewater, then you blaze the wort through. I've filled two better bottles in less than 7 minutes through my old plate chiller in February and they were at 66F.

It's ALWAYS about the coolant water temp first, then chiller design second. Stirring the wort with a drill paddle and using an IC works better than a pumped whirlpool in terms of chilling speed but the disadvantage is having to stand there holding the drill and *potentially* contaminating the wort though it's not that likely.

Note, nothing says you can't recirculate externally chilled wort to reach the magic sub 150F mark in a hurry.

IMHO, there is no "best" chilling method. They all have their pros and cons.

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Old 05-05-2010, 04:35 PM   #6
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slim, i'm no expert but i'll give you my results. i live in south mississippi, so the temps here pretty similar to what you get. i built a 25ft CFC with rubber garden hose and copper tubing. i just used it on another batch yesterday (ambient temp ~80f). using my pump, the boiling wort reaches the fermenter in less than 10 seconds. yesterday, with the garden hose about 3/4 open, it chilled it to 75f (which was my goal/pitching temp). the last time i used it, i got it well below 70f. i play with the water hose rate to get my desired temp, but it will get the wort about as cold as you would want it (no real need for ice water or pre-chiller). plus, the CFC is cheap and easy to build and it works great. i think i spent around $75 to make two of them.

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Old 05-05-2010, 05:46 PM   #7
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I would wonder what it would take to get your initial setup rigged to run the hot wort through the coils and through the ice water, then back into the kettle. Honestly, recirculating the wort back in, drops the overall temps faster than anything. And that is the goal of any chilling process. Once you've dropped it below, say 150, the rest is just for your personal time benefit.

I love my CFC, and if (or maybe when) I get a pump, I may build a recirc chiller for just this reason. But I have been getting great results just using my tap water and draining my wort once through. I just don't KNOW that there would be a noticeable difference if I went whirlpool. Some say no-chill works well and my own personal attempt (in winter with a stout) seemed to cause no issues.

But major opinion says to drop the whole volume of wort as fast as possible, and with your current equipment, I think that converting to a CFC recirc system would be cheapest and give the best results. Use tap water for chill water.

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Old 05-05-2010, 07:07 PM   #8
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I recently used my IC to make a diy CFC. So glad i did, it is so much easier now. I run the garden hose off the outflow to my garden, so the water never runs into the street, and it gives the yard a good soak.

as far as the time the hot wort sits in the kettle, i put the lid on it to help keep it hot and keep any bugs from flying in as soon as i flame out. I also use an air-stone/pump to aerate so i usually put that in the fermenter first. So by the time i'm done filling it, its ready to pitch the yeast.

So far i have had great success with this setup.

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Old 05-06-2010, 03:31 AM   #9
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Stirring the wort with a drill paddle and using an IC works better than a pumped whirlpool in terms of chilling speed but the disadvantage is having to stand there holding the drill and *potentially* contaminating the wort though it's not that likely.
can you explain why it would work better? as mentioned, i would build a stand for the drill (and probably just use a zip tie to keep it running) if i went with that option.

Quote:
IMHO, there is no "best" chilling method. They all have their pros and cons.
yes. to clarify, i'm looking for the best UPGRADE from my current system. the options are adding a pump/whirlpool or plate chiller, switching to a CFC, or some alternative, e.g. a mounted drill or otherwise motorized stirring device.
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Old 05-06-2010, 01:03 PM   #10
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The amount of whirlpool action you get with a drill motor and paddle is huge compared to a pumped return. You actually get a vortex. There is some point where increasing wort movement yields no more benefit, but I'm sure it's past the point of what a march pump can do. I wouldn't mess with any kind of holder device because you will chill in about 5 minutes if you pump icewater and spin the hell out of the wort. The other benefit is not having to drop $130 on a pump right away. They have plenty of other utility, but if you don't really need it...

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