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Old 10-27-2007, 06:12 PM   #1
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Default High Flow Counterflow Wort Chiller

I'd like to build a counterflow wort chiller that would accommodate large batches (25g-30g).
I've heard the term "Glycol Chiller".
I think I understand the concept:
"Reservoir of (Ethylene?) Glycol in freezer, pumping through the counterflow chiller and returning to the reservoir".
Is this the right idea?
If so, can anybody help me determine (roughly)
1) How big of a reservoir?
2) What size and length of inner tubing?
3) Coolant flow rate I may need?

Thanks much for any details you can help me work out!

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Old 10-27-2007, 06:40 PM   #2
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I don't ever recall hearing about using glycol for the initial wort chilling operation. Are you sure you're not thinking of using glycol to cool a large fermenter? During fermentation, you'd only be dropping a couple degrees. Wort chilling has to take a huge heat load out of the wort and your glycol would be up over 100F within one circulation.

To me, a high flow CFC would be something like 1/2" OD copper with a 1" ID rubber hose as the water jacket. 25 feet should do it. This all hinges on the assumption that your tap water is under 65F.

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Old 10-27-2007, 06:59 PM   #3
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That's some expensive tubing! Look into a plate chiller and compare the prices, that's what the big boys use.

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Old 10-27-2007, 08:23 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shafferpilot
That's some expensive tubing! Look into a plate chiller and compare the prices, that's what the big boys use.
+1 on the plate chiller. You should be able to pick up a beefy plate chiller (bigger than a therminator) off ebay for $100 - $200. It's probably more expensive than a big CFC, but also more efficient.
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Old 10-27-2007, 09:00 PM   #5
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Well, the big boys use plate chillers than can be disassembled which is a huge advantage compared to homebrew versions. At least CFCs don't trap anything inside. I've found some amazing deals on copper tubing on Ebay over the past year. Twice I grabbed 100 feet of 1/2" for under $100 shipped. That's $25 per chiller.

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Old 10-27-2007, 09:07 PM   #6
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25' of 1/2", what kind of gpm would you guess to get out of that?

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Old 10-27-2007, 09:16 PM   #7
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It depends on if you're using a pump or trying to gravity drain. I can run 11 gallons through 25' of 1/4" ID using a March pump in just under 15 minutes. I'd imagine you can do 25 gallons through 3/8" ID in about 20 minutes. Just a guess.

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Old 10-28-2007, 01:18 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobby_M
It depends on if you're using a pump or trying to gravity drain. I can run 11 gallons through 25' of 1/4" ID using a March pump in just under 15 minutes. I'd imagine you can do 25 gallons through 3/8" ID in about 20 minutes. Just a guess.
If pumping, is a 90degree pickup tube adequate for the increased flow, or is a SS braid manifold the answer?

The increased flow would push the wort past the cooling water faster, therefore reducing the time the cold water contacts the hot wort, right? Would there be a necessity to compensate for this?
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Old 10-28-2007, 02:06 PM   #9
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Any CFC will work just fine. I use a pump to re-circulate icewater through mine, that way I don't have to waste so much water. I can get a 15 gallon batch into the fermenter in under 10 minutes. I'm not sure why you'd need anything that flows faster than that.

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Old 10-28-2007, 04:04 PM   #10
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As Yuri suggests, the speed at which you can flow the wort is directly coupled to the temperature of your cooling water. If your tap is under 60F, you can run the wort very quickly. I'm going to brew my ass off this winter to enjoy the 48F tap water. I actually have to slow the coolant down to avoid over chilling.

If you want the fastest flow out of the kettle, you'll have to use hop bags and then use a 1/2" dip tube with no filtration on it. Trying to stop loose hops with a screen just slows things down terribly.

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