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-   -   Thoughts on this wort chiller? (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f11/thoughts-wort-chiller-358490/)

bwilliamson 10-03-2012 02:06 PM

Thoughts on this wort chiller?
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I have never read anywhere anything that specifies what a wort chiller has to be but they are typically either copper coils or a plate chiller. I have a totally different way of cooling it that is super efficient but some might think is a bit unconventional. I've attached a pic. It's a refrigeration evaporator from a beverage air worktop refrigerator (it was a new part, no refrigerant has gone through it). It has a ton of surface area which makes it hard to clean and sanitize but it will cool 5 gallons of boiling wort down to 70 deg. in about 5 minutes flat by pumping ice water through it. I have also thought about pumping the wort through it while it is sitting in ice water. Not sure which would be more efficient but it sure is efficient now. The ends of the copper line are 1/4 OD and the dimensions are 20"x4"x4"

It got me wondering why there are not more radiator type chillers.

dbrewski 10-03-2012 02:09 PM

That's an interesting idea. So do you put that into the boil to sterilize it? Is it painted? Unless that is powder coat I would be concerned a bit about paint coming off or leaching in boiling wort. Any impact on flavor?

ArcLight 10-03-2012 03:50 PM

It seems like a neat idea.

It looks rather tall though. Shorter and squatter would be better. In any case, it looke like it would rapidly cool wort, even with tap water. Then switch to ice water.

Cleaning doesn't look that hard, rinse it off.

But as dbrewski said, I'd be concerned about the coating/paint. It would be exposed to boiling , slightly acidic liquid for 15 minutes.

Please let us know how it works out for you.

MaltYeastFalcon 10-03-2012 06:29 PM

If it is new and has never had any contaminants run through it's internal plumbing, wouldn't it be better served as a Chiller running wort through it's internal lines rather than an Immersion Chiller. You could sink it in a Cooler or Tank of some kind. But then again, isn't that Aluminum? That drawback would hold true no matter how you plumbed it. If you immersed it, you'd have not only the filth this thing would attract, but also the oxidized aluminum area hidden everywhere. Especially using the oxy based cleaners etc. Too bad the tubing wasn't copper anyways married to Alloy fins for heat exchanging.

H-ost 10-03-2012 06:36 PM

I vote to run the wort through it while it is in a bath.

My only concern is if there is anything coating the inside of the pipes that would come off in the high temp wort.

dbrewski 10-03-2012 06:52 PM

It is a neat idea. If there was some way you could fabricate something like this out of copper, maybe not as close together, but with plates rather than just tubing it would increase the efficiency of an IC. It seems like it would cool quicker with 3/8" or 1/2" line, although this seems to cool pretty quickly already.

bwilliamson 10-04-2012 02:31 PM

It's actually copper lines and aluminum fins. I believe it might be painted but sometimes it's hard to tell the difference. I have not sanitized it by keeping it in the hot wort, I sanitized it by putting it in a 6 gal bucket of sanitized solution. I'm beginning to think because of the height of this thing that it would be better to put it in a bucket that could completely cover the top (the brewers best 7 gallon brew kit buckets would work well) then fill that bucket with ice and water. Pump the wort through the chiller then rather than cooling the chiller in the hot wort.

kh54s10 10-04-2012 02:41 PM


Originally Posted by bwilliamson (Post 4469234)
It's actually copper lines and aluminum fins. I believe it might be painted but sometimes it's hard to tell the difference.

That has some kind of coating on it! Copper is a metallic brown color not silver gray.

I would use that as a pre-chiller in conjunction with a standard immersion chiller unless I was sure there is no finish of any kind on the inside of the tubing. I definitely would not immerse it in the wort without knowing exactly what the coating is.

limulus 10-04-2012 02:48 PM

I agree with those who suggested immersing it in ice water and running the beer through it. All those fins provide just too much area to catch dust, insects, etc and I would not want to immerse that into my beer. It is a very interesting idea though. I'm sure some savvy HVAC guy (you?) who is a homebrewer is now coming up with a way to turn this into a dual purpose chiller. Use it to chill beer from the kettle and then the fermenter.

Bobby_M 10-04-2012 04:08 PM

Believe it or not, a plain copper coil IC would be nearly as efficient with the same icewater coolant.

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