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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Equipment/Sanitation > Stainless Steel vs. Copper Immersion Chillers
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Old 10-27-2008, 05:38 PM   #1
Lenny2884
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Default Stainless Steel vs. Copper Immersion Chillers

Is one more preferable over the other? I assume the copper will have thinner coil walls but does that help in chilling the wort faster?

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Old 10-27-2008, 05:42 PM   #2
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The only other thing I could imagine differentiating would be corrosion - copper being more prone to oxidation than stainless steel. The oxidation could affect the taste of the cooling wort, or could require additional cleaning.

However, I've never tried so this is purely theoretical...

While copper is a better conductor (and thus cooling the wort more quickly), my stainless steel chiller does the job pretty darn quickly. Also was cheaper than copper tubing.

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Old 10-27-2008, 05:45 PM   #3
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If you use the search function and type in 'stainless copper chiller' you will get pages and pages of this discussion.

You can go either way, both have advantages and draw backs.

EDIT: To be a little more helpful... I like the stainless and went with it because it is shiny and I got a good deal. Copper is a better medium for heat transfer, but with the wall thickness and cooling conditions the metal is not the limiting factor for cooling so it doesn't matter in reality. Go with what you want, the practical differences are small. Copper is easier to form, but also easier to deform. The list goes on... see the search for a ton of debate.


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Old 10-27-2008, 06:08 PM   #4
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Either is fine and +1 one to a little searching.

For what it's worth, I have a SS chiller and am more than satisfied with it. Last night using 60 degree water I took 5.5 gallons from boiling to pitching (74) in under about 15 minutes.

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Old 10-27-2008, 06:50 PM   #5
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Why not just use aluminum instead of SS. Stainless has a VERY bad heat transfer comparativly and Aluminum will be almost as good as copper. Just my opinion.

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Old 10-27-2008, 07:05 PM   #6
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have you seen aluminum tubing around lately? do you have a price?

B

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Old 10-27-2008, 07:06 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dataz722 View Post
Why not just use aluminum instead of SS. Stainless has a VERY bad heat transfer comparativly and Aluminum will be almost as good as copper. Just my opinion.
The heat transfer you are referring to is conduction through the metal. Think of how fast that will happen through ANY thin metal, or even wood or plastic for that matter.

What is much more important here is the convection rate, or the rate at which the heat can transfer from liquid to metal or metal to liquid, and that isn't going to be affected by the metal type (aside from surface finish).

You will not have "VERY bad" heat transfer with a stainless chiller.
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Old 10-27-2008, 10:06 PM   #8
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Summit SUM-G2512 - Summit® Aluminum Fuel Lines - summitracing.com


any ideas of how well this would work?
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Old 10-27-2008, 10:10 PM   #9
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It will work... for how long is the question. Aluminum tubing is very fragile in my experience and cracks/breaks/kinks very easily. It is so soft its incredible. I would really steer anyone reading this away from Al. That said, it is your choice. I think SS is the best FWIW.

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Old 10-28-2008, 02:31 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hammacks View Post
You will not have "VERY bad" heat transfer with a stainless chiller.
I said comparativly it would be very bad. In general this is true. Yes since it is a very thin metal you will not notice much difference but as a metal stainless does have very bad heat transfer properties.



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Originally Posted by Boerderij Kabouter View Post
It will work... for how long is the question. Aluminum tubing is very fragile in my experience and cracks/breaks/kinks very easily. It is so soft its incredible. I would really steer anyone reading this away from Al. That said, it is your choice. I think SS is the best FWIW.
I have never used it so I didnt know about this. I was just saying it because of how much cheaper Aluminum should be as opposed to both Copper and SS. I know aluminum is used in similar situations but none of those require any movement so it being fragile would not be a factor. Since we would be moving it around quite a bit then it may not be the best choice.
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