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Old 02-19-2008, 11:38 PM   #1
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Default Wort Chillers?

I was thinking of just getting a typical immersion chiller-- but it seems like I could make a nifty counterflow system or even buy a chilling plate from More Beer for a similar price-- what's everyone's favorite/suggested method of chilling?

For what it's worth, I plan on eventually making 10 gallon batches w/ this chiller.

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Old 02-19-2008, 11:42 PM   #2
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I use a home made CFC, works great for the 10gal batches I have done. You will hear arguments from both camps, an immersion may be easier to maintain, but a CFC is so much cooler...

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Old 02-20-2008, 12:06 AM   #3
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I use a home made CFC, works great for the 10gal batches I have done. You will hear arguments from both camps, an immersion may be easier to maintain, but a CFC is so much cooler...
How'd you build it?
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Old 02-20-2008, 12:24 AM   #4
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This should get you started: http://www.homebrewtalk.com/showthread.php?t=51793

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Old 02-20-2008, 12:26 AM   #5
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There's also this one. The pics aren't working, but you can find them in Cheyco's gallery. http://www.homebrewtalk.com/showthread.php?t=9395

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Old 02-20-2008, 12:58 AM   #6
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Are there any other options out there? With any of these options, the wort is only going to get as cold as the water supply. I ask because I brew lagers every other batch. Apart from messing around with a submersible pump in ice water (+having to buy bagged ice), are there any chillers out there that will get wort down to 40-some degrees quickly? Has anyone built some sort of refrigerant-loaded air conditioner contraption to cool wort?

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Old 02-20-2008, 01:59 AM   #7
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The trick is to run your cooling water from the tap through a pre-chiller before running it to your wort chiller. This could consist of a hose coiled in a basin full of ice or a copper coil in ice water. Anyways, lager wort can be pitched at 70 to 80 degrees and chilled to 50 while the yeast reproduce without causing any wierd flavors. Besides, the lag time is a little less if you pitch in that temp range. Also I've heard of using glycol engine coolant recirculated from a freezer through a chiller. That avoids having to charge a refrigerant system after modification

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Old 02-20-2008, 01:19 PM   #8
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You can also use a small pond pump to pump ice water through to get your pitching temps lower.

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Old 02-20-2008, 01:51 PM   #9
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I don't mean any disrespect to those who advocate or suggest prechillers but I really think they are an incredible waste of copper. The temp drop is so minimal for the effort and cost of the ice used. In the case where you already have the copper, it's a sunk cost and I get why you'd use it. However, you'd be better off selling it as an IC and then using that money for a small sump pump. There is nothing like pushing 32ºF water through your chiller. A prechiller might drop the tap temp 5-10F by the time it exits at full flow. In the summer, when the tap is 80F or more, it's just not enough.

I've even gravity fed my CFC with icewater from my bottling bucket hung from a hook in the garage. The CFC is so efficient that I had chilled 6 gallons to 65F by the time the 6 gallons of icewater had drained out (edit... I added about 4 gallons more water to the ice that was still left in there for a total of 10 gallons of coolant).

The only alternative I can think of to pumping icewater is to buy a used chiller meant for aquariums but you'd need a huge one to drop tap temps. They're really not designed for huge heat loads.

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Old 02-20-2008, 03:30 PM   #10
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If you ever plan on upgrading to 10 or 15 gallon batches an immersion chiller needs to be about 50 feet of copper tubing to get the job done in less than 30 minutes. With the cost of copper these days, it almost makes sense to go get a Therminator (said like terminator) made by blichmann engineering, they are able to get wort down to within 5 degrees of the water you put into them and chill 10 gallons of wort in less than 10 minutes.

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