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Old 10-20-2010, 06:04 PM   #1
JesseL
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Default Big difference between 1/4" and 3/8" diameter wort chiller?

Hello,

I'm a new brewer on a small budget. My first two batches have come out great, but I'm already tired of chilling my wort in a bathtub full of ice. I'm looking at immersion chillers, and the price difference between 1/4" diameter and 3/8" diameter is not inconsiderable. Does the extra eight of an inch make that much of a difference in chill time? Is it worth the extra money?

Thanks in advance,
Jesse

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Old 10-20-2010, 06:11 PM   #2
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1x2" x 50' ftw. Make it yourself.

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Old 10-20-2010, 06:35 PM   #3
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Thanks Henry. This is one of the options I'm considering. I'm still curious whether anyone has opinions about whether that 1/8" makes a difference.

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Old 10-20-2010, 06:39 PM   #4
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length will make more of a difference than diameter... but diameter also makes a difference.

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Old 10-20-2010, 06:47 PM   #5
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It will make a difference, noticeable for sure. Surface area is what counts, I think you can find a discussion of that on HBT (BobbyM ?). Of course if you've never used an IC, then you won't know about it. I have one of those small 1/4" IC's that I bought when I first started and it worked pretty well for 5 gallon batches as long as you stood at the kettle and moved the chiller around the pot while cooling. Don't bother making a massive sized chiller that extends way beyond the height of what's in your boil kettle unless you plan to upsize your batches in the future.

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Old 10-20-2010, 08:27 PM   #6
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For 5 gallon batches, I'd be really happy with 50' of 3/8" OD.

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Old 10-20-2010, 08:32 PM   #7
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I don't have any data but from my experience 3/8 is the way to go. 1/4 is just too small. For 5 gallon batches 25' of 3/8 is minimal. 50' of 3/8" would really work well. For 10 gallon batches 50' of 1/2" is fairly effective

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Old 10-20-2010, 09:37 PM   #8
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I have 50' of 1/4" and it works fine for me. Helps that my ground water is around 60F in the summer. If you have warmer water, then the extra diameter will let you run more water through.

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Old 10-20-2010, 10:34 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JesseL View Post
Hello,

I'm a new brewer on a small budget. My first two batches have come out great, but I'm already tired of chilling my wort in a bathtub full of ice. I'm looking at immersion chillers, and the price difference between 1/4" diameter and 3/8" diameter is not inconsiderable. Does the extra eight of an inch make that much of a difference in chill time? Is it worth the extra money?

Thanks in advance,
Jesse
That extra 1/8" equates to about 2-1/4 more cross sectional area in the tubing and that means more than twice the flow rate. The larger tubing will definitely chill faster everything else being equal. How much faster I don't really know as I have not done any actual testing. Only you can decide if the extra expense is worth it or not. The 1/4" will work OK for 5 gallon batches, but the 3/8" will work better. I'd go with the 3/8" if the budget will permit.
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Old 10-20-2010, 11:57 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by david_42 View Post
I have 50' of 1/4" and it works fine for me. Helps that my ground water is around 60F in the summer. If you have warmer water, then the extra diameter will let you run more water through.
Thanks for the info. I've always thought 3/8 was the minimum. I guess 1/4 can work also.
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