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Old 09-30-2011, 10:28 PM   #1
plbrown44
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Default Wort Chiller Material

Stainless vs. Copper?

Ready, set, discuss.

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Old 09-30-2011, 10:32 PM   #2
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In terms of thermodynamic potential for heat exchange... I doubt one could tell the difference on the homebrewing scale.

What can you get for less $$$? If you can get copper for less than you can get stainless, I'd say get the copper and use the saved cash to get nicer SS ball valves or something like that.

Bling might also be a factor, if everything else you have is SS, might as well go that route if you want everything to look the same.

What kind of wort chiller are you intending on building? Immersion, CFC, other?

FWIW, I have a counterflow chiller with a 3/8 copper tube inside a garden hose. Works great for me.

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Old 10-01-2011, 05:40 AM   #3
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At this point I'm looking at immersion chillers. Could easily go and buy one from the local hombrew store but thought this was easy enough of a DIY project. I'll have to check on tubing pricing as well.

Copper is a better conductor so I'll probably go that route as I don't have the "bling" that would warrant SS.

Read an interesting article in a recent BYO mag discussing the science behind chiller efficiency. Probably will go 50' copper and try and coil it myself.

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Old 10-01-2011, 06:33 AM   #4
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SS is shiny and can be cleaned with caustic cleaners. Copper is cheaper and easier to bend/cut/solder/etc. Even though copper is a better conductor, the heat transfer is about the same in this situation, primarily because the SS tubing typically used has thinner walls. IMO if you plan on using caustic cleaners (CIP) or want to pay extra for the "bling factor", go with SS, otherwise go with copper.

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Old 10-01-2011, 03:44 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by plbrown44 View Post
At this point I'm looking at immersion chillers. Could easily go and buy one from the local hombrew store but thought this was easy enough of a DIY project. I'll have to check on tubing pricing as well.

Copper is a better conductor so I'll probably go that route as I don't have the "bling" that would warrant SS.

Read an interesting article in a recent BYO mag discussing the science behind chiller efficiency. Probably will go 50' copper and try and coil it myself.
SS is more rigid and difficult to coil. Forget about making sharp bends easily. If this a DIY project, copper is the way to go.
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Old 10-01-2011, 08:23 PM   #6
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SS coil is a b*tch to coil on your own. Go copper. Cheaper too.

http://www.sears.com/shc/s/p_10153_12605_SPM2673663502P

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Old 10-02-2011, 01:34 AM   #7
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What is the fascination with SS? I have brass ball valves, a copper coil, and some aluminum kettles. I haven't died yet.

Copper is cheaper, easier to work with, has better thermal properties,.and is a yeast nutrient to boot.

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Old 10-02-2011, 11:58 AM   #8
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Any way you cut it, 50 feet of 3/8" stainless tubing is not adequate for 15 gallons. More than an hour of stirring with 60 degree chill water.

Retired as a herms coil and starter chiller. Gone plate instead.

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Old 10-02-2011, 12:55 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SankePankey
Any way you cut it, 50 feet of 3/8" stainless tubing is not adequate for 15 gallons. More than an hour of stirring with 60 degree chill water.

Retired as a herms coil and starter chiller. Gone plate instead.
It takes me less time than that (not much though) with 10 gal batches and 80 deg ground water. Have you tried recirculating, and using a prechiller or pumping ice water through it?

Edit: that time was without much stirring.
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Old 10-02-2011, 01:20 PM   #10
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Retired. I did my best. Now with my recirculating plate chill, I get about 20 mins or so to pitch. Except that it's just about the worst idea in the world filtering wise requiring several filter steps (hop spider, etc.) but it sure is neat to see the degrees tick off like seconds. And my whole volume is cooled from the go like the IC does.

It works great as a herms coil and starter chiller though.

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