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Old 11-28-2007, 03:43 PM   #1
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Default Move to 10 gallon batches - upgrading chiller?

I am currently doing 5 gallon batches still, but recently got my keggle cut and usable, so I am hoping to move to 10-gallon batches in the not-too-distant future. Thinking ahead, I imagine I'll want to upgrade my chilling method.

I'm using a 25' 3/8" immersion chiller. I currently bring the kettle indoors and hook the chiller up to the sink, since I live in an apartment building and there are no hose spigots available outside. I just bought a submersible pump and I plan to do the ice water recirculation method, as EdWort does, so that I can do my chilling outdoors, especially in the winter when I've got free ice (AKA snow) easily available.

I do not yet have a valve installed on my keggle, but I intend to take care of that soon. I also plan to set up a simple electric stirrer to whirlpool (gently) during chilling.

Here's the options I'm currently considering:
1) Use just the 25' chiller, and rely on using ice recirc the whole time to speed things up - this may be less practical after winter ends, but that'd be a problem to deal with when the time came. Although I know it's not ideal, I would like to hear some feedback about whether this would be practical or if I really need more than a 25' chiller even with ice water.
2) Buy some copper tubing and build a 50' chiller for 10g batches - an expensive option, plus it would practically render my existing 25' chiller useless, especially if the 50' chiller was sized to work with 5g batches as well.
3) Build a second 25' chiller and use the two in parallel - cheaper, and I could drop back to just the 25' for 5g batches if I wanted, or depending on how I sized the new chiller, both 25' might fit even for 5g batches. I think my submersible pump has enough capacity to run both in parallel and get a lot higher flow rate than in series.
4) Drop the IC altogether and go to a CFC or plate chiller. In addition to being expensive, this would be a tougher option for me since I don't yet have a valve (or high-temp siphon), and without a hose outside I don't have a consistent-temperature water supply so hitting a particular outlet temp might not be so easy. That, and cleaning/sanitizing sucks without a march pump or similar - I already built a CFC once, and sold it once I realized how impractical it was for me without a pump.

Anyway, I'd love to hear any opinions on any of these options, or of course any other options I haven't thought of. I am leaning toward #3 so far, though #2 might work also - looks like copper on ebay is most economical in 50' lengths, and I've got a friend who might want an IC for 5g batches. I could either split a 50' roll of 3/8" with him and build us each a 25' chiller, or buy myself a 50' roll of 1/2" and make myself a big chiller and sell him my current one to recoup some of the cost.

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Old 11-28-2007, 03:43 PM   #2
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Great question. I have the same situation and would also like to know

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Old 11-28-2007, 04:48 PM   #3
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I would probably buy another 25' and make a second chiller sized small enough to fit inside my current one and make a short hose to connect the two. Or, setup some kind of Y-connectors. Those plastic hose-splitters are only a buck or two.

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Old 11-28-2007, 04:52 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by david_42
I would probably buy another 25' and make a second chiller sized small enough to fit inside my current one and make a short hose to connect the two. Or, setup some kind of Y-connectors. Those plastic hose-splitters are only a buck or two.
Yeah, I was planning to do basically that, if I went that route - though since my current chiller is just 9.5" in diameter and I've got this gaping 12" hole in my keggle, I'll probably go the other way and make the second chiller big enough to go around it.
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Old 11-28-2007, 05:48 PM   #5
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I'd recommend trying your current chiller out on the larger batch, continuing to run the icewater. You'll use twice the ice, but it should work OK and only take a bit longer. Using really cold water and stirring your wort well while pumping is going to chill quickly even with your smaller chiller. People tend to start obsessing on the size of the coil when they encounter chilling problems but it's more often than not a coolant water temperature issue. You have that part licked already.

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Old 11-28-2007, 06:11 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobby_M
I'd recommend trying your current chiller out on the larger batch, continuing to run the icewater. You'll use twice the ice, but it should work OK and only take a bit longer. Using really cold water and stirring your wort well while pumping is going to chill quickly even with your smaller chiller. People tend to start obsessing on the size of the coil when they encounter chilling problems but it's more often than not a coolant water temperature issue. You have that part licked already.
Glad to hear this as well.

I haven't even had a chance to try out the pump and recirc ice water yet on a 5gal batch, much less a 10gal batch, so I don't have much of a feel for the kind of cooling capacity I'm going to need - so the feedback from you more experienced guys helps a lot.
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Old 11-28-2007, 07:24 PM   #7
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When I made my move from 5g to 10g I had similar 25' IC. At summer time using only tap water it was taking me too long to cool down to acceptable temperature. So I build 25' CFC. Now I use IC to get whole batch to below 140F (takes about 15-20 min) then I use CFC while transferring to carboys.

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Old 11-29-2007, 04:39 AM   #8
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I just got my keggle finished and am in the same boat for chilling. My old 25' IC will get lost in the keggle and most likely take over an hour to chill.

Thinking a bit ahead, I also realize that I'll need to get a pump, as transferring large quantities of hot and heavy liquids high up will definitely take away the fun aspect of brewing. (I use coolers for HLT/MLT. Gravity/Three tier) Remember each step has the quantities doubled, including the weight. When I broke it down, I was really doing alot of lugging and lifting with my 5 gallon batches.


So...if I already need a pump and also a method to cool 10 gallons, I might as well buy a plate chiller. NB has the Shirron for $84.00. Their 50' 1/2" copper IC is $99.00. Easy choice for me. This also leaves my old 25' IC for a prechiller.


I made a "bazooka tee" for about $10.00 for a pick up tube in the bottom of the keg and installed a weldless fitting with a ball valve. I plan to pump hot wort through a SS braid on the tee through the plate chiller and into the awaiting carboys. This also solves the ole "lugging heavy glass carboys" routine.

Good thing it's Christmas time and money is already flying around!!!

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Old 11-29-2007, 07:10 PM   #9
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I was planning on adding to my IC but Im really leaning towards the submersible pump method. what effect would adding salt to the water have, couldnt that drop the temp even more or would that ruin the pump?

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Old 11-29-2007, 07:18 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by killian
I was planning on adding to my IC but Im really leaning towards the submersible pump method. what effect would adding salt to the water have, couldnt that drop the temp even more or would that ruin the pump?
I doubt it would hurt the pump, there isn't much exposed in them but plastic - though it wouldn't hurt to dunk/run them in some fresh water afterward just to rinse, if you were worried about it.

I'm not sure I'd bother with salt. From some quick googling it looks like a 10% salt solution would bring your chilling water to around 20F, and 20% to around 2F. Thinking about putting salt in a 5-gallon bucket of ice water, that would take a lot of salt! I dunno, I might try it out, but not unless I really needed to.
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