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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > General Techniques > Which is better: pre-chiller/immersion chiller or the full length immersion chiller?
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Old 05-11-2013, 08:45 PM   #21
mtnagel
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That does seem like it would be better...

But, having said that, I keep thinking of all the variables that come into play: time to cool batch (and if it's even important), water usage, energy usage, simplicity vs complexity, my head spins

My current method is making a few trays of ice, freezing 1-2 gallons of water in a bucket, and freezing all my reusable freezer packs and using my utility tub and water to make an ice bath. I've been reusing the water in my washing machine. So I'm using some water (though most is being reused) and some energy to freeze the water to ice, but that's about it. It's pretty simple and takes maybe 30-40 mins (honestly haven't measured). It's boring standing there and agitating the wort and bath water, but it's easy and works.

The reason I starting thinking about this was that I was brewing outside for National Home Brew Day, so I needed something I could use outside so I borrowed my friend's chiller. It was a big pain in the butt and took longer than my current method (long story, but it was the chiller's fault and it's construction and I'm sure I could make a better one that wouldn't be a pain and would be faster). But it allowed me to brew out.

So, do I really need a chiller? Assuming that I don't need to brew outside and assuming I don't need to chill any faster (and the no chill method and long hop stands people do make it seem like I don't), then it seems like I wouldn't be gaining much from it if the only advantage is I chill a little faster. It has a big up front cost (copper and pond pump if I went that way). It's more complex and more likely to fail. I still have to make ice (if I get the pond pump). The pond pump needs energy to run.

So what am I missing?

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Old 05-16-2013, 09:49 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mtnagel View Post

So, do I really need a chiller? Assuming that I don't need to brew outside and assuming I don't need to chill any faster (and the no chill method and long hop stands people do make it seem like I don't), then it seems like I wouldn't be gaining much from it if the only advantage is I chill a little faster. It has a big up front cost (copper and pond pump if I went that way). It's more complex and more likely to fail. I still have to make ice (if I get the pond pump). The pond pump needs energy to run.

So what am I missing?
You really don't need most homebrewing gadgets. But a chiller adds the convenience of saving time and potentially better beer. Many gadgets do one or the other, so I think a chiller pays for itself in a way. My plate chiller and recirculating immersion chiller combo can knock down 6 gallons to 68 in less than 20 minutes with Florida ground water. I get a nice "cold break" which means less trub, and the reduced contact time with the air means less exposure to potential infection. Everyone has different priorities when they brew, but if you don't mind spending a few bucks to save time and reduce the chances of infection, chillers are a great investment...
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Old 05-16-2013, 10:32 PM   #23
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I've been doing no-chill for the last four years and it's awesome! That said, my favorite way to chill is to connect my hose to the "in" side of a keg full of ice, then connect the "out" side to my chiller.

You could make it even colder by adding salt to the ice (think old-fashioned ice cream maker), but I've heard that salt and stainless steel don't get along, so I've never tried it.

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