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Old 02-24-2011, 04:02 AM   #1
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Default Wort Chiller Questions

So after doing 3 batches of beer, I am getting tired of the ice bath and would like to move on to a wort chiller. For a typical 3-5 gallon wort, how many ft. of copper would be recommended? Also, does anyone know where the best deals are for these things?

I've been seening upgrades for a pre-wort chiller. Are these worth the additional $30?

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Old 02-24-2011, 04:05 AM   #2
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i have a 50' 1/2" chiller. cools the wort in 20-30 minutes in a texas 105 degree summer. cools it to the 60's in the winter in 5-10


1: Pilsen Ale (Pilsner made with US05)
2: Roasted ESB (mistake by the LHBS in recipe)
3: Hefeweizen
4: Hoegarden Saison
5: English Mild

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Old 02-24-2011, 04:06 AM   #3
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No need for a pre-chiller. I've brewed for years and never used one. I can cool 10 gallons of wort to 65-70 in about 20 minutes with a 50' coil in ice.

Just pick up a 50' coil from HD or your local hardware store, and coil it around something like a corny keg or about the same size. 50' is probably overkill for 3-5 gallons, but you never know if you'll upgrade and need a bigger one.

I used to hook a pond pump up to mine and I would sink it into a bucket of icewater. Run the icewater through the coil...and it'll cool 5 gallons in 10-15 minutes.

He who drinks beer sleeps well. He who sleeps well cannot sin. He who does not sin goes to heaven.

Another HERMS rig...
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Old 02-24-2011, 04:12 AM   #4
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A pre-chiller is pretty much useless IMO. If you want to chill stuff better than your tap water, buy a cheap submersible fountain pump and use that to pump ice water through your chiller instead of straight tap water.

Generally speaking the bigger chiller you have, the faster it cools your wort, so long as it's not so big that it's not covered by wort. For smaller 3-5 gallons of wort a 25-50ft chiller is sort of standard, but you have to be careful about the diameter of the tubing used. You want at least 3/8" ID, but better if you can get 1/2". There are some rather shady businesses selling wort chillers that LOOK like a great deal until you get it and find out it's 1/4" tubing and tiny.

Usually the best deal is to make your own. It is not hard, you just need something round of approximately the right size to wind the tubing around to make a spiral. Leave some straight tubing at each end so that the ends will stick up out of the pot, and you can attach vinyl or silicone tubing to them with hose clamps. If you are somewhat handy, it's not hard to sweat some pipe fittings on there and make it nicer, but for basic use hose clamps work fine.

Then you just need a way to attach it to your water source, whatever that may be.

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